Boston Bruins: Could we see new-look lines against the Lightning?

Boston Bruins, Tuukka Rask #40 (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Tuukka Rask #40 (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins haven’t looked that great in their two games since play resumed, but may try something new against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In their Tuesday practice, the Boston Bruins had a different look to their lines and it may well carry over to their round-robin fixture against Tampa, in light of two consecutive 4-1 losses in their first two games back.

Patrice Bergeron had a maintenance day on Monday but was back and raring to go today, with the usual suspects on his wings; no change there. Likewise on defense, the usual pairings of Brandon Carlo with Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy with Zdeno Chara were there.

In net, Tuukka Rask has recovered from his quarantine scare and Jaroslav Halak will no doubt be backing him up, but beyond these lines and pairings, there are some differences from usual.

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Firstly, the second line saw David Krejci flanked on the left by Nick Ritchie with Karson Kuhlman and Ondrej Kase used interchangeably on his right.

This meant Jake DeBrusk was on his off-wing with Charlie Coyle on the third line and training camp stand-out Anders Bjork in the left-wing role. Now obviously, this might now be the second line grouping and Krejci is running the third line; there’s no real telling.

It could be a ploy by Bruce Cassidy to pull the wool over his opponent’s eyes or it could be the Boston Bruins trying to counteract the various Tampa offensive threats, by spreading their talent.

The Boston Bruins fourth line, as is often the case, will likely be some combination of Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly, Par Lindholm and Chris Wagner. They all fulfill a relatively similar role, whichever trio you switch in there.

Defensively, we’re looking at either of the pairings in practice to potentially start against Tampa; it could be Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon or it could be John Moore and Connor Clifton.

Both pairs offer that depth and have match similar styles together – Moore might get this on experience alone, but the other pair is perhaps a little more exuberant an option for the Boston Bruins.

These lines actually look possibly a little more balanced than usual; David Krejci can offset any deficiencies in his wingers’ games whilst Jake DeBrusk might actually be better suited with Charlie Coyle.

Jack Studnicka not being utilised in these line rushes is perhaps the biggest surprise and a little frustrating. He didn’t look half bad last time out and perhaps deserves another chance, but that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Finally, that defensive pairing of Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk is actually near-perfect for a third pair; Lauzon has some size and aggression to his game, while Grzelcyk is always an extra option offensively, at even-strength or for a different look on the power-play.

Next. Avoiding the Canes would be great. dark

Safe to say, if Cassidy is experimenting this early, the Boston Bruins aren’t ready to rest on their laurels and just face anyone in the first round. They want the easiest possible match-up, seeding-wise at least.