Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon will return to the lineup tonight for in Game 1 of the Bruins’ second-round series against the New York Islanders that kicks off at 8 PM ET (NBC, Sportsnet, TVAS) at what’s expected to be a packed and rocking TD Garden.
After blocking a shot by Washington Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz in Game 1 of the first round, Lauzon missed the remaining four games of the series that the Boston Bruins won in five games. The 24-year-old, six-foot-one, 204-pound rearguard has missed games intermittently throughout the season and as it was each time he returned from injury, the goal will be for Lauzon to keep it simple and play his trademark physical game.
“He’s been through it a few times now and the message is ‘always stay within yourself’, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media following an optional pre-game skate ahead of Game 1. “I mean, even when he’s healthy, that’s when he’s at his best. He’s just hard to play against; physical, getting in people’s faces, just playing hard hockey, good on the kill with his shot-blocking and clears. Try to execute a good first pass and make sure everything is the right decision which is always a challenge for young defensemen; reading the forecheck well, tape-to-tape.
So that’s always the challenge for him when he’s been out. Just getting up to speed with his puck play, up and at the offensive blue line obviously, on and off your stick when you haven’t played as much. Probably lean more conservative than aggressive but at the end of the day, once he’s out there, he’d gotta play his game, and hopefully he recognizes to do a little bit more with his game when it’s there and moving it and defending well.”
It is expected that Boston Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi will sit and Lauzon and Connor Clifton will form the third defensive pairing.
On Friday, Cassidy also told the media that Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller (concussion) was doing better but was still yet to skate since being on the wrong end of a cheap shot by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov in Game 4 of the first round. There were no further updates Saturday on a potential return for Miller.