The Boston Bruins bottom six has been tough to watch lately. After a frustrating Game 4 loss to the New York Islanders, coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned shaking things up for Monday night’s game back in Boston.
“Third line didn’t generate much. Well, they didn’t generate anything, to be honest with you. They’ve had better games. Obviously, there was a breakdown on the (game-winning) goal. … We allowed them to get to the middle of the ice and it kind of snowballed from there where guys were a little late because we didn’t do our job first. So that part of it hurt us. But at the end of the day, we’ll look at it for (Monday).”
Cassidy was unhappy with the performance by the third line consisting of Ritchie-Coyle-DeBrusk. For starters, Jake DeBrusk is left-handed and should not be playing on the right side. Nick Ritchie has also been somewhat of a ghost, registering one assist in the past five games.
The most plausible solution for the Bruins would be to try out Karson Kuhlman in place of DeBrusk considering he shoots right and had an assist in Game 2 of the series. He seemed to be a good fit in that spot when Craig Smith was out with an injury for Game 2.
Cassidy should also consider Trent Frederic on the Bruins fourth line. Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly have been invisible on the fourth line with zero points in all nine playoff games so far.
By switching Kuhlman between the third and fourth lines and Frederic on the fourth, it could give the team a much-needed shakeup to see if the chemistry will improve at all.
Here’s what it would look like:
Sitting Kuraly and Wagner is necessary for at least this one game to see if the new combinations benefit the team. Although Frederic has never played in a playoff game, he became an instant crowd favorite due to his physicality and grittiness.
Frederic will not shy away from battling especially on home ice with the fans there to cheer him on. A kid like him has a lot to prove still, and what better way to do it than helping his team win a playoff game for a 3-2 series lead?