After missing out on the first month of action while dealing with a nagging injury out of training camp, Boston Bruins defenseman John Moore will make his 2021 debut on Saturday night against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) will make it six of the last seven games he’s missed for the Bruins due to an injury first suffered crashing into the boards, and Connor Clifton will sit after playing in all of the games while subbing in for Grzelcyk.
“John Moore will go in for Clifton,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s something we considered with the back-to-back. It gets Johnny in a game. He’s working hard, and we felt it was a good night to do it so we’re going to do it and then we’ll go from there.”
“For [Moore] it’s a matter of playing to his strengths, be consistent and helping the team win games. [The message is] Do what you do best and try not to do too much.”
Clifton was solid in Friday night’s 1-0 win over the Rangers with 16:37 of even ice time, but he finished with a penalty and no shots on net as less of a factor than he was in his prior game against the Flyers earlier this week. The 30-year-old Moore had two goals and three points along with a minus-2 rating in 24 games last season while averaging 16:33 of ice time per game but has never really been able to carve out a regular role during his time in Boston.
There will be no other changes to a lineup that’s won five road games in a row, marched to the top of the East Division and has the second-most points in the NHL right now behind only the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tuukka Rask will get the start after getting Friday night off in favor of backup goalie Jaroslav Halak and the shutout he threw against the Rangers.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Boston Bruins in their one-game meeting with the New York Islanders prior to heading back to Boston: