The Bruins are making some lineup adjustments headed into a pivotal Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The B’s will go back to their normal 12 forwards/six defensemen makeup and insert Karson Kuhlman and Connor Clifton in against the Lightning on Saturday. Kuhlman hasn’t played in over two weeks dating to Game 2 of the Carolina series and Clifton was a healthy scratch in the blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3.
Sean Kuraly is out for the second straight game with an undisclosed injury and is “day-to-day,” according to head coach Bruce Cassidy.
The move to take Clifton out of the lineup was a bit of a head scratcher given that he’s been one of Boston's more effective defensemen in the physicality and offense department and has the only goal among Bruins defensemen this postseason.
Kuhlman will skate on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie and will effectively replace Anders Bjork among the forward group.
More importantly, the Bruins are making some adjustments on the penalty kill after they were dinged for three power play goals in Game 3 following a Tampa adjustment that switched Nikita Kucherov to the opposite side of the ice.
“We addressed what happened [in Game 3]. Yesterday was about our neutral zone defense,” said Cassidy. “I think they’re getting through there too easily and we have to be more in sync as a five-man unit. Obviously offensively they make it tough to get inside originally, but you have to get inside for those second and third chance opportunities.
“This morning we touched on a couple of things. We don’t want to overthink things and just go out there and play hockey.”
Here’s the expected lineup for Game 4, which begins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network:
Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase Ritchie-Coyle-Kuhlman Nordstrom-Lindholm-Wagner
Chara-McAvoy Krug-Carlo Grzelcyk-Clifton