The Boston Bruins will be changing up their defenseman group prior to Game 2 against the Washington Capitals, but it had nothing to do with the performance on the ice. Jeremy Lauzon will miss Monday night’s playoff game at Capital One Arena vs. Washington after blocking a Justin Schultz hot shot with his right hand during Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Capitals.
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The rugged, physical Lauzon was heavily involved in Monday’s playoff game with a team-leading eight hits and four blocked shots in 19:18 of ice time and had a nasty battle with Alex Ovechkin during the second period that ended up earning him a cross-checking penalty.
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Lauzon also clobbered TJ Oshie at one point later in the game in a play that had Capitals fans and media crying for a penalty in the immediate aftermath.
There was no word on the severity of Lauzon’s injury while listed as day-to-day, but it’s serious enough that he’s going to miss a playoff game.
“He’s out tonight and [Connor] Clifton will go into his spot,” said Cassidy, when asked about Lauzon.
In his place, the Bruins will bring Connor Clifton back into the lineup after he served as a healthy scratch for Game 1. Clifton finished with a goal and seven points along with a plus-10 in 44 games for the Boston Bruins this season and brings flashes of both hard physicality and dynamic playmaking to the table as a third pair D-man.
The Bruins will be looking for Clifton to iron out some of the riskiness in his game against an explosive Capitals team, and they will certainly miss Lauzon’s size and nastiness even if Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller already bring that to the table for the Black and Gold.
“What we’re looking for more of is a physical presence. Be hard on people below the goal line and be hard in your own end. Make safe plays and move your feet when you have an opportunity to do a little bit more. He’s going in on the left. Jakub Zboril is obviously injured too, and then it became is it Jarred Tinordi or Urho Vaakanainen? We went with Cliffy because he’s played there before this season, and he had some good moments playing on the left with both [Brandon] Carlo and Kevan Miller. That’s the decision. He’s been in our playoff lineup before and hopefully he has a good game for us.”
Cassidy indicated there won’t be any other changes to the lineup and Tuukka Rask will be making the start for the Bruins, and instead they’ll just expect a more urgent, better effort from just about everybody across the board in Game 2.