BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will get their fourth line reunited in Game 5 for the first time during these Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it could be a difference-maker for them.
After missing the first four postseason games with a fractured right hand that was still healing, Sean Kuraly has been cleared and is ready to go for Friday night’s Game 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.
“I feel good. I feel back to 100 percent and looking forward to get going,” said Kuraly, who finished with eight goals and 21 points in 71 games this season. “I just want to keep it simple and not over-complicate things…take away time and space and be physical when I can, have a good stick when I can and get up and down the ice as well.
“There will definitely be energy. That’s what my job is and that’s expected of me, to bring energy, so luckily I’ve got a little bit of that.”
Joakim Nordstrom will be the scratch for the B’s after netting an empty net goal on Monday night in Toronto. The Bruins fourth line struggled in Boston’s Game 4 win over the Leafs while getting hemmed into their zone quite a bit, and that’s an area where Bruce Cassidy feels like the Bruins will get a boost from Kuraly drawing back in.
“They were really good all year for us and Sean is a big part of that,” said Cassidy. “He’s a bit undervalued on paper, but he’s a guy that can get to loose pucks in our end and get it out of the zone. That’s what we missed [in Game 4] and he’s good at protecting the puck down low in their zone. He’s certainly a guy that’s hard to get the puck from when he’s on, and that certainly compliments [Chris] Wagner and [Noel] Acciari that can go to the net and win the puck battles for second chances. That’s what they do well.
“Sean holds it for them and allows some separation. That’s why they’re good in the D-zone because they play in the O-zone. They’ve done a good job of tilting the ice so we can get our offensive players out there. He’s hard to play against. His last two playoffs have been very good offensively and we’d love that to happen [again].”
With a reunited fourth line, here’s a projected look at the line combos and D-pairings after an optional morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.