The Boston Bruins will be without versatile, dogged right wing Craig Smith (lower body) for Game 2 against the New York Islanders on Monday night at TD Garden. Smith hasn’t been seen on the ice for the B’s since exiting in the third period of Saturday night’s Game 1 win over the Islanders after taking a leg-on-leg hit from Isles winger Cal Clutterbuck.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy termed Smith as “day-to-day” at this point, and Jake DeBrusk will slide up and play in his right wing spot on the second line along with David Krejci and Taylor Hall. It would appear that B’s winger Karson Kuhlman will also be making his 2021 Stanley Cup playoff debut plugging into the third line spot vacated by DeBrusk’s promotion, which should give Charlie Coyle’s line a little more speed and tenacity.
“[Smith] won’t play tonight. Game 3 is Thursday, so that obviously gives him an extra day in between than we would normally have. So that’s good. We’ll list him as day-to-day and see how he does, but he won’t play tonight,” said Cassidy of Smith, who has a goal and three points while doggedly hunting pucks in six games during the playoffs. “The easiest thing would have been to just drop Kuhlman in there [on the second line] and leave all the other lines the same.
“But we also want to give [DeBrusk] the chance to play with Krejci, which he’s done before. I know he looks up to Taylor Hall, so maybe that will spur him on a little bit too. That’s how we start and we’ll see how we end up, just like every game.”
Here are the Boston Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of Game 2 at TD Garden: