BRIGHTON, Mass -- After spending one game up in the ninth floor press box watching the Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, it’s expected that Danton Heinen is going to get right back into the lineup on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.
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Heinen had one goal in his previous nine games before the healthy scratch in his first slow point of a strong rookie season. The young winger had perhaps drifted a bit away from the battles he was so intently engaging in earlier in the season. So, the hope from the Bruins is that Heinen will have a little extra jump to his game when he draws back in for the Black and Gold. That could only be enhanced by watching his lineup replacement, Brian Gionta, stand out in his spot on the third line Thursday against the Penguins.
“[Guys] will be in the lineup and then out of the lineup at times if they need a break,” said Bruce Cassidy. “[Gionta] showed some good speed last night reloading well on fore-checks, creating loose pucks with a good stick and his foot speed and making some plays around the net. The benefit is that he’s got that many years in the league, so the obvious things aren’t going to faze him where a young guy might get rattled.
“But that’s stating the obvious for the most part. We like the way our young guys have played. We’re just trying to make sure of proper growth, and that’s what happened [on Thursday] night with Danton Heinen. He watched upstairs and he’ll probably go back in [against Montreal] so we’ll see where we’re at.”
Heinen, 22, certainly sounded like somebody ready to jump back into the fray with a refreshed perspective and the hope is he’ll respond in the same way that fellow rookie Jake DeBrusk did earlier in the season.
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“Obviously lately hasn’t gone great for me personally, but it’s a tough league. You have some downs, and you try to limit those as much as possible and stay as consistent as you can,” said Heinen, who is still among the NHL’s top-10 in rookie scoring with 38 points. “That’s my goal, to stay positive and keep on working hard. We had a big win [against Pittsburgh] and hopefully, that can get us rolling again.
“It’s just little things. If you’re doing the little things right then the big things will take care of themselves. [The healthy scratch] certainly makes you hungrier to get back in there when you see the guys battling and having fun out there.”
With Noel Acciari missing practice Friday for a maintenance day, there is perhaps a chance that Gionta could move to a different place in the lineup after playing so well in his B‘s debut on Thursday. Cassidy also said he was leaving his decision on a starting goalie up until a few hours before the rare 5 p.m. start against the Habs, so here’s the projected Bruins lineup vs. Montreal with no Saturday morning skate: