BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are reshuffling the deck due to injuries and a depleted lineup and that means Matt Beleskey will draw back in for the Black and Gold after being a healthy scratch the past three games.
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Beleskey, 29, has zero points and is a minus-2 in six games and hasn’t been able to use his grit, physicality and decent offensive skills to spark things from a bottom-six spot in the lineup. He'll get another chance on tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights with the Bruins badly in need of a veteran, hard-nosed physical presence with David Backes (diverticulitis surgery) out for next couple of months.
“He’s worked hard, he’s been in and out and he’s going to get an opportunity to get back in. We’ll see where his minutes go,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Beleskey. “Obviously, losing Backes you lose a big body, so we’d like somebody to fill that role. What does that mean? It means applying pressure on their defense, and that if they want to break out of their zone then they’re going to have to go through bodies.
“In the defensive zone, it’s clogging up lanes, winning board battles and being a little abrasive so that [your opponents] know that somebody is breathing down their necks that will finish their checks. When you get opportunities get it on the net and try to get [to the net] for second chances. That’s been an issue with our hockey club in general, and not specifically with Matt Beleskey.”
Cassidy confirmed Jordan Szwarz and Beleskey will be in the lineup and newly called up Austin Czarnik will be a game-time decision. It appeared at the optional morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena that Frank Vatrano was going to be the healthy scratch after staying on the ice later than his teammates. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Golden Knights based on the optional skate: