Boston Bruins interim head coach is changing things up again. This time around, Cassidy is shaping up the bottom-six forwards as they prepare their most important away stretch in the season.
The Boston Bruins begin an important four-game Canadian road trip tonight. They’ll be taking on the Vancouver Canucks. For the Bruins, it’s an important two points against an old rival that’s slipping down (10 points out a playoff spot) the Western Conference. For the Canucks, it’s another chance to play out “Game 8” of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins are going into the road trip with a few casualties.
Forward Ryan Spooner is missing his third straight game. He’s still going through concussion protocols. He got dinged up in the B’s 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators last week. Tim Schaller is also out due to a lower-body injury.
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These injuries are forcing Bruce Cassidy to get creative. With holes to fill in his third and fourth lines (Drew Stafford has been bumped up to the B’s second line), he’s had no choice but to move some players around.
Bruins forward Riley Nash has been promoted to center the third line. He’ll be working with Matt Beleskey (who will certainly see more time after his performance against the Flyers) and Frank Vatrano.
It’s not bad for an improvised line. Beleskey brings a decent shot and the willingness to throw his body around. Vatrano’s shot is also solid and he finds ways to make plays. Hopefully, the improvised third line will find a way to create some quick chemistry.
This line makes a little more sense to me than the third line. Cehlarik doesn’t seem ready for top-six work. It’s probably why Cassidy gave him two games to watch from the ninth-level. It wasn’t a Claude Julien punishment scratch. It was a ‘watch and learn’ scratch.
“We want him to play if he’s going to be here,” offered Coach Cassidy about Cehlarik’s development. ” And with a veteran like Dom Moore, we’ll give him a shout there, he’ll still see some power play time, and we’ll see how he handled his couple of games upstairs, and if we feel like he’s harder on pucks, then maybe he moves up as well.”
It’s unfortunate that the Black and Gold are in this position. The last thing you want to do is mix up the lines before a very important stretch of games. Sadly, the Bruins don’t have many options here. They’ve got to earn at least five of eight points in this road trip if they want to remain in their third place position in the Atlantic Division.