A day later than most expected, Oskar Steen will get into the Boston Bruins lineup for some NHL action.
Steen was called up ahead of Saturday afternoon’s matinee win over the New Jersey Devils with injuries and a stagnant middle-6 group of forwards saddling the Black and Gold but was a healthy scratch when Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy opted for dependable depth forward Karson Kuhlman over the Swedish rookie forward. The curious move ended up working out for Cassidy and the Bruins as Kuhlman made a nice play on Boston’s opening score for Erik Haula and helped them nab a 5-2 win over the Devils at the Prudential Center.
But Steen will play the right wing spot on the fourth line for Sunday night’s rivalry showdown with the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden, replacing a banged-up Curtis Lazar playing through an injury situation. Clearly Lazar isn’t the only one fighting through injury as Craig Smith appears headed for another scratch vs. the Habs as well.
It’s high time to get into the B’s lineup for Steen, who has five goals and 10 points in seven games as the leading scorer for the Providence Bruins and plays a rugged, skill combination game that should be a good fit on an energy line. Jake DeBrusk has also been dropped to the fourth line for Sunday night’s game, but Cassidy said “I have faith in Jake to get the job done…he needs to sometimes have more faith in himself and just play the right way.”
“I don’t think there’s a third or a fourth line, to be honest with you,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “[DeBrusk] is playing with Nosek and Steen. Steen has been scoring some goals in Providence and finding his touch a little, so he’s a little bit of a different player than [Kuhlman] with his ability to shoot the puck past the goaltender. Kuhlman is probably a little further along in terms of his checking game and his details because he’s been in the league.
“I’d consider them both bottom-6 lineups and they’ll probably play equal minutes going in and then whatever line is playing better [would play more]. Maybe giving Nosek some more offensive-minded wingers might help him.”
As far as the rest of the Boston Bruins lineup, Jakub Zboril will play his second straight game for the Bruins with Mike Reilly trending toward another healthy scratch as well. Jeremy Swayman will get his second straight start for the Boston Bruins after stopping 27-of-29 shots in Saturday’s win over the Devils.
Here is the Boston Bruins projected lineup for Sunday night’s game vs. the Canadiens: