The Boston Bruins get another piece of their forward group back for a big Saturday night rematch with the Florida Panthers as Craig Smith jumps back into the lineup after missing the last three games with an injury.
Smith skated at his customary right wing spot with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall, and it looks like that will push rookie Jack Studnicka out of the lineup after a couple middling games at the No. 2 center spot for the Black and Gold. After watching the Bruins score just one goal in the last two games on the road in Florida and Carolina, the hope is that Smith’s offense and aggressive shot mentality can help things get back on track for the Black and Gold.
“[Craig Smith] can really shoot it. He’s a volume shooter, which is right now, when the puck’s not going in, a mentality that helps to generate some offense,” said Cassidy. “At least the puck is traveling toward the net. Are you going to shoot from everywhere? No. But if there’s nothing else available to you, let’s make sure that that’s at the top of the list.”
With Smith healthy and Studnicka seemingly out of the lineup, it looks like Oskar Steen was also sent back to the Providence Bruins after notching an assist in the one game against the San Jose Sharks that he did play for the Black and Gold. Needless to say, Smith is pumped to be healthy and back ready to go after watching the B’s struggle in all facets against the undefeated Panthers and Hurricanes.
“Was great to be back on the ice with the guys again. I think our team is in a good place, had some good jam out there. We’re excited,” said Smith, who has zero points, nine shots on net and a minus-2 rating in three games this season. “[Hall and Coyle] are great puck possession players, using our speed and definitely getting after it. I think anytime you come into a game and use your energy and use your physicality right away off the bat, establish your legs and your physicality…you play off that.
In other lineup news, Connor Clifton will be inserted back in the B’s lineup in place of Jakub Zboril and Linus Ullmark will get the start between the pipes after coming out on the losing end of a 4-1 loss to Florida on Wednesday night.
Here are the projected Boston Bruins line combos and defense pairings based on Saturday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton