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McLaughlin Stepping Into Pastrnak’s Spot For Boston Bruins

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With Boston Bruins game-breaker David Pastrnak out of the lineup, it opens up a prime top-6 spot for somebody that’s primarily a bottom-6 player for the Black and Gold. This time around it’s going to be the Mayor of Billerica getting his biggest NHL opportunity to date as rookie forward Marc McLaughlin will start Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning skating with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula in No. 88’s spot.

McLaughlin obviously showed an ability to shoot the puck while scoring on a one-timer blast in his first NHL game and is still forming an identity at this level after making the jump from Boston College straight to the National Hockey League.

“I think he plays with a lot of pace and he’s got a really good shot. For him it’s just about getting open and we’ll read off him. That’s the way it goes when guys are missing out of the lineup. You’ve got to figure out ways to play with different players and it’s not always going to be perfect,” said Taylor Hall. “If Erik and I can help him out in any possible [we’ll do it], and if we play in their end as much as we can then we’re going to be fine.

“He’s going to be a really good pro. He’s going to be a pretty good NHL player. It was pretty obvious right from the get-go when he practiced with us. He’s a big, strong kid that can shoot it and at practice he was seeing the ice pretty well.”

It goes beyond Pastrnak’s absence, however, as Hampus Lindholm (lower body) will also miss Friday night’s divisional showdown against the Bolts after exiting Tuesday night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Instead, the Bruins will slot Mike Reilly, after a tough night against Detroit, back up on the top pairing with Charlie McAvoy and will go with Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton on the third pair after Clifton had served as a healthy scratch for the last couple of games.

Both players didn’t skate on Friday, and Bruce Cassidy indicated that Lindholm is a little closer to a return than Pastrnak at this point in time.

Here’s the Boston Bruins projected lineup for Friday night’s showdown with Tampa Bay with playoff ramifications based on Friday’s morning skate at Amalie Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-DeBrusk

Hall-Haula-McLaughlin

Frederic-Coyle-Smith

Foligno-Nosek-Lazar

Reilly-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-Carlo

Forbort-Clifton

Ullmark

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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William Mahoney

Great opportunity for Mark McL. to play with a great winger Taylor Hall plus Haula.

[…] Pastrnak out again, Cassidy is giving rookie Marc McLaughlin a chance in his spot next to Erik Haula and Taylor Hall. The former Boston College star has 1 goal […]

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