BRIGHTON, Mass – The Boston Bruins will be changing out their third line for Monday night’s Game 5 after an underwhelming performance in last weekend’s Game 4 loss to the Islanders on Long Island. Jake DeBrusk is expected to be a healthy scratch after little offensive presence and a blown defensive assignment on the game-winning goal for Mat Barzal, and speedy youngster Karson Kuhlman will draw into the series for the second time just in time for a pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden.
Kuhlman finished with an assist in Boston’s Game 2 overtime loss to the Islanders at TD Garden while playing in place of the injured Craig Smith. This time, however, it’s performance-related after the third line of Nick Ritchie, Charlie Coyle and left something to be desired in the worst performance of the series for the Black and Gold.
“The third line didn’t generate anything [in Game 4]. Obviously, they’ve had better games,” admitted Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s the goal against that they really need to better on. You’ve got to help us win. Not every line is going to score every night. It’s the playoffs. It’s hard to score. But do whatever you can to help us win.
“What [Kuhlman] typically brings is high energy and getting his feet moving. There was some apprehension about how much time and space he’s going to have in a physical series, but as [Game 2] went on he got better. He can certainly get in on the forecheck, create some secondary offense and disrupt some of their breakouts. He does it more with his footspeed and stick.”
DeBrusk has zero points and just five shots on net in four games against the Islanders where their hard-hitting, physical style has pushed him way to the perimeter most of the time.
Both Kevan Miller (upper body) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) skated after practice with Cassidy not ruling out Carlo from a potential return for Wednesday night’s Game 6 against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Tuukka Rask took some shots at the beginning of practice before leaving the morning skate goaltending workload to Jaroslav Halak and Jeremy Swayman, something he’s done several times in this second round series as the workload begins to pile up for a No. 1 goaltender playing through some nagging injuries. Here’s the projected Boston Bruins lineup vs. the New York Islanders for Game 5 based on Monday’s morning skate: