BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins continue to look for the key that’s going to unlock the offense for a struggling David Pastrnak.
The 22-year-old had a bit of a bounce-back effort in Boston’s Game 2 loss with a goal and five shots on net to give him three goals in nine playoff games this spring, but it’s also clear there is further that his game can go at this point. So Pastrnak was skating with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson on the third line at Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and Bruce Cassidy indicated that Pastrnak could slot anywhere on the top-3 lines once the puck is dropped Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.
“He played some with Johansson and Coyle the other night and I don’t think he’s practiced with them ever. So if we’re going to go down that road then it wouldn’t hurt to get some reps. We will make that decision tomorrow. We like to move our players on the wing around as you know, so we could end up with Bergeron, Krejci or Coyle.
“[Kuhlman] has played well with Krejci and DeBrusk. When he’s on that line I think DeBrusk looks to his own offense and to shoot more, so that’s some of the thinking. When Pastrnak is over there, there might be some deferring. So that’s why we put [Kuhlman] in there originally. We may go back to that.”
After firing off just three shots in his previous two playoff games, Pastrnak was back with a shoot-first mentality in Game 2 and indicated that’s something he needs to keep doing after passing up shots — and missing the net when he does shoot — throughout the postseason to this point.
“Obviously I have to shoot the puck, hang onto the puck and go to the net a little bit more,” said Pastrnak. “There are a million things you can always do better, so I’m just going to try and do that [in Game 3]. Maybe I’m passing on the looks [I’m getting], so I need to just stick with it and go to the net [a little more].”
With Pastrnak potentially moving to the third line, it also looks like Bruce Cassidy might go with fresh legs in Karson Kuhlman as well after the rookie was a healthy scratch in each of the first two games in the Columbus series. It looked like Chris Wagner might be the odd man for Game 3 out based on the lines skating on Monday afternoon. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s practice in Boston ahead of Games 3 and 4 in Columbus:
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.