Boston Bruins: Karson Kuhlman impresses in Stanley Cup Final debut

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 09: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins skates by the Bruins bench to celebrate his goal during the third period of Game Six of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 09, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 09: Karson Kuhlman #83 of the Boston Bruins skates by the Bruins bench to celebrate his goal during the third period of Game Six of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 09, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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With their season on the line, the Boston Bruins turned to Karson Kuhlman to inject some energy into their lineup for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.

The Boston Bruins have been forced to make numerous changes to their lineup throughout the Stanley Cup Final. While most have been due to injuries, the most recent decision to put Karson Kuhlman into the lineup in place of David Backes paid off immediately.

Karson Kuhlman had been out of the lineup since Game 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets but he had a noticeable impact on the way the Bruins’ second line played. While Backes brings a more physical edge to the lineup, Kuhlman’s speed is why head coach Bruce Cassidy opted to give the rookie a chance to play in the Stanley Cup Final.

The 23-year-old played in just 11 games for the Bruins during the regular season but managed three goals and two assists during that time. In the playoffs, Kuhlman has been reunited with his familiar line mates of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, and has been able to score at a similar pace.

Through seven playoff games, he has a goal and two assists, and became the 21st player to score a goal for the Bruins this playoff run. In fact, the only two players to have played and not scored are John Moore and Tuukka Rask.

With his performance in Game 6, Kuhlman has made it nearly impossible for Bruce Cassidy to take him out for Game 7.

That would mean that Backes, the former St. Louis Blues captain, would be a healthy scratch for the deciding game, but his physical style of play hasn’t helped the Bruins the way that it was expected to.

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For the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup, they need an identical performance to the one they had in Game 6, and the best way for that to happen is to stick with the lineup that worked.