Boston Bruins: Who is Cassidy Sending a Message to?

Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

On Monday, Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy changed up his lines in practice. It’s not uncommon for Cassidy to move around his lines as he began the season without the services of last season’s Maurice Rocket Richard co-winner David Pastrnak who was recovering from off-season hip surgery.

Trying to find a fit on the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, it was a rotating door on the right wing with just about everyone getting a chance. Somehow, the Bruins survived the seven games Pasta missed and went 5-1-1 in his absence.

Boston is 10-2-2 and three points ahead of the New York Islanders in the East Division, but truth be told, things don’t feel so wonderful. Normally when a team has won 10 of their 14 games, line changes are not in the cards. So the question must be asked, is Cassidy trying to send a message to his team or the front office?

Bruins struggling even strength despite their record.

One stat that sticks out with the Bruins through 14 games is their even-strength goal differential. Actually, there is no goal differential even strength for the Black and Gold. They have scored 21 goals even strength and they have given up 21.

The Bruins power play, despite going the past four games without a man-advantage goal, has been carrying the team, along with their penalty kill. They are 0-for-11 in their last four games on the power play. Their last goal a man up was the overtime winner by Bergeron on Feb. 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers. They are ranked at the top of the league in the PK.

So you can see why Cassidy is trying to find offense from somewhere. Moving Jake DeBrusk, who has yet to score a goal in 2021 in nine games, with two assists, but more is expected out of the left wing. The hope is that the 24-year-old can find his goal-scoring touch with Marchand and Pastrnak.

Moving Pastrnak down with David Krejci to the second line gives the Bruins veteran center a goal-scoring right wing, something he has not had in a long time. Krejci has 10 assists this season, with five coming on the power play. While Krejci has had a steady season, more is expected out of him.

The Bruins’ special teams and goaltending have played a big part in the early success of the team. Through 14 games, teams that have an even goal differential at even strength are not 10-2-2 and sitting on top in first place of their division.

Can Boston survive the regular-season this way and make the playoffs? Yes, there is too much talent on the roster. Is that a good recipe for a long postseason run? Most likely not.

The Bruins need to get more production even strength if they are going to be a team that makes the playoffs and goes on a long run. Cassidy is trying to get the offense going by moving around some key pieces.

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Or, is the Jack Adams Award winner from last season sending a message to general manager Don Sweeney and the front office that more depth and help is needed in the top-six to make a run the team and fans are hoping for? Time will tell.