CM – Bruins Notebook: Forward Lines Shaken as Boston Prepares to Return

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Trainer Bruce Cassidy breaks Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to add more depth.

David Pastrnak has moved to Boston’s second forward line and will skate with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula. Charles Krupa / Associated Press

In the final training session of 2021 at the Warrior Ice Arena on Friday in preparation for the Bruins re-entry matinee against the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday, coach Bruce Cassidy finally did what he had been playing with for a while: him broke the top line from Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, moved Craig Smith to Bergeron’s right wing and dropped Pastrnak with Taylor Hall and the new center Erik Haula into the second row. Charlie Coyle, just out of the COVID log, ran Jake DeBrusk and Nick Foligno on a third line. Trent Frederic, Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar rounded out the strikers.

How long the units stay together will no doubt depend on whether they can somehow ignite an offensive that was anemic in most of the first 26 games of the season. But it became increasingly clear that, despite GM Don Sweeney’s off-season shopping spree, the Bruins are not deep enough to afford the luxury of such a top-heavy front row.

When the Bruins finished their more than two-week long, COVID- end induced hibernation, they were in 24th place by goals (2.69 per game). You’re 30th on 5v5 goals with 43. Admittedly, the Bruins have played the fewest games, but it’s still not what they want to be.

In his Zoom meeting with reporters, Cassidy said there was The group of strikers was really healthy for the first time this year, now is a good opportunity to try something different. And while he made the usual caveat that he can always go back to the old lines if something doesn’t work, he hopes this can bolster his offensive.

« Some of them are just about getting the guys up and running said Cassidy. “I don’t want to call this the second half, I want to adjust it a bit. There are a few players we’ve moved with and hopefully it will help their games to be with another duo. We will see how it unfolds, knowing that we can always go back to what we relied on before. But like everyone else, we try to score points across the lineup. Maybe that will give some guys a jump start. ”

One source of production that needs to be tapped is Hall. While he has had a lot more chances lately, his final 5v5 goal was the second game of the season. He and Pastrnak, the most snake-bitten bruins, got shifts here and there, and while the pairing looked promising, it didn’t work out. Meanwhile, Haula (1-4-5 in 25 games) has had a disappointing season and now has an excellent opportunity to save her.

“(Hall and Pastrnak) both play at high-end speed, they play along High end speed so they can keep up with each other, ”said Cassidy. “You’re both very good at a rush. Pasta developed its bike game. He had to play with Bergy and March and the teams have defended him differently over the years where they won’t give him the weird onslaught. Taylor is still in the works. He has to learn to play in narrow areas, outside of the shot, etc. This is where these guys will have to fight back and not be one-and-fine line. With Haula in the middle, Bergy comes to the top of the network when playing with those high-end wingers and then gets out when necessary so he can go back to his own end. So that will be the challenge for Haula. obviously. But here, too, Hall and Coyle didn’t work out as well as we’d like. It doesn’t mean we’ll give up forever. But it’s still early in the season and we still have to try a few other things. ”

That knocked Coyle out of the top six, even though his game didn’t deserve a demotion this year. He’s fourth in the Bruin strikers (7-7-14) but he just didn’t work well with Hall. « The partnership between Coyle and DeBrusk has been good at times over the years so let’s check that too » said Cassidy. “Charlie was really good for us, so maybe returning to his natural third line will give us even more balance. We won’t know until we start playing, but that’s how we think. « 

 » I think there are definitely more options on the offensive. If I go out and have Bergy, March and Pasta in the front row Standing on the ice, I definitely know and see ‘Hey, I have to take the puck over to these guys and try to play games in the offensive zone,’ « said Carlo, who is currently with Mike Reilly. » I think if If you hand these guys out to get more of that across the lineup, you’ll try to create more offensive throughout the game. « 

CARLO AND COYLE were the 10th and 11th Bruin players to win the COVID -Log tested, which means that all players who have dealt with the virus are now on a 90-day test vacation.

« For me personally, I’m pumped that I won’t be testing here or the next time I have to do something so that I have certain immunities for it, « said Carlo, who is from le ight symptoms reported. “It’s nice for the guys who managed to move forward and focus on the hockey season because that’s what we wanted to do all along. A good part of us got it. We’ll see if we have another flare-up, but yeah, I definitely think we can put together some situations here with all the guys who managed to play a fair game and compete. ”

THE BRUINS WILL officially retire # 22 Willie O’Rees in a pre-game ceremony prior to their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 18. On that day in 1958, O’Ree became the first black player to play the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL.

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