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Boston Bruins Lineup ‘Changes’ Coming After Sluggish Leafs Loss

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BOSTON – The Boston Bruins were looking to work some new faces into the lineup this week anyway, but a disappointingly porous defensive effort on Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs probably hastened that a bit.

Connor Clifton was flat out bad from his first few shifts of Tuesday night’s showdown with Toronto, and made some costly mistakes that led to pucks in the back of the the Boston Bruins net in the 6-4 loss. Matt Grzelcyk was minus-3 at one point during the game and struggled as well against the fast, skilled Maple Leafs attack looking to go on the offensive zone.

And Brandon Carlo was beaten badly on a speed rush by William Nylander in the first period that eventually led to a Toronto goal for Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly. Honestly, Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm were the only two that came out of looking okay, and that was reflected in both Boston D-men avoiding being a minus in defeat.

Clearly it was more than just the defensemen as Jeremy Swayman wasn’t as sharp as he normally is between the pipes, and the Bruins forwards were up and down as well. In other words, it was the first Boston Bruins stink bomb in the last six weeks of play dating back to a shutout loss to the Caroline Hurricanes in early February.

“You have to take care of the puck, we didn’t do enough of that early on,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Obviously we weren’t prepared to play…shared responsibility. That’s our job as coaches, get them ready to play, and the players have got to be ready to play, know the magnitude of the game.

“We’ve been going well lately, so a bit of a surprise there in that area that we weren’t sharp early on. If all those things don’t happen, you need your goaltender to bail you out then, and that didn’t happen either so give them credit for starting on time, and that’s where the game got away from us.

“We chased it. Tough team to chase the game against.”

But it’s likely going to lead to newly acquired defenseman Josh Brown and the benched Mike Rielly getting back into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and it could be an opportune time to work ex-Boston College center Marc McLaughlin into the mix as well.

“There will be some lineup changes,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy in the minutes after the tough loss to the Maple Leafs. “There has to be.”

Cassidy was a little more measured after Wednesday’s practice while readying for Thursday night’s game against the Devils, but it seemed pretty clear changes are coming if healthy bodies allow for it against New Jersey.

“We’ll make some changes. Let’s get here in the morning and see if there’s any surprises. These three games, Tampa, the Islanders, and Toronto, we were running with the lineup that was playing pretty well,” said Cassidy. “We were sort of seeing where we were at and what was going well, and obviously the first two went better than [the Toronto loss].

“Now it’s 16 games in 30 days and we have 25 healthy bodies, so how do we best prepare while still accumulating points to keep everybody sharp and ready. We need to get into the playoffs, but once you’re in you know there’s a war of attrition if you go where you want to and keep advancing. The way it is we have to be wise with the way we manage people along the way. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to work other guys in and keep them motivated.”

Linus Ullmark will be in net vs. the Devils, so there will be one big change there. But here’s an idea of what the lineup could look like based on Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-DeBrusk

Hall-Haula-Pastrnak

Frederic-Coyle-Smith

Foligno-Nosek-Lazar

Blidh-Studnicka-McLaughlin

Lindholm-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-Carlo

Reilly-Brown

Forbort-Clifton

Ullmark

Swayman

 

 

 

 

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Rick W Murray

Cliffy and Matt were awful so was Carlo, one or maybe both should be sitting Thursday. Swayman played one of his worst games this year.

William Mahoney

What can be said? Toronto embarrassed the B’s who looked like they were standing still! Between that last Carolina game and the Toronto game the B’s are going no where! Without a Jack Eichel to score and much better defensive play the season is over!

Yeah nah

What about the games in between those where people were saying the B’s are one of the hottest teams in the league?
Have you not heard of pasta? He’s a better goal scorer than eichel in case you didn’t know. Every team has a bad game here and there I don’t understand why you clowns are so dramatic each time we lose

Michael Parahus

According to the lines you posted….there are no changes up front (other than your listing a 5th line combo) Would not hurt to see somone from that 5th line like Blidh or McLaughlin sub in for Foligno…need a little more speed.
On “D”…..I question the wisdom of pairing McEvoy and Lindholm together. Why not spread the wealth. Here would be my pairings
McEvoy & Carlo
Lindholmn & Forbort
Reilly & Brown
Or some combo of those 6.

no icing

one problem with your pairings is that all of shoot from the same side….. mc avoy and carlo are both right shots, reilly and brown are both left, etc. that makes things awkward often for cross ice passes — not something small with this bunch.

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