Bruins

Moore, Johansson expected to play in Game 4 for Bruins, Kuhlman out of lineup

Moore, Johansson expected to play in Game 4 for Bruins, Kuhlman out of lineup

TORONTO – The Bruins will most likely get back John Moore and Marcus Johansson for Game 4 on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena, and their top-6 will change as a result of the expected lineup changes.

Bruce Cassidy indicated during an optional morning skate on Wednesday morning that Moore would return, and that Johansson would also play provided that he had recovered sufficient energy after battling an illness that cost him a couple of games. Steve Kampfer would be the healthy scratch to make room for Moore’s playoff debut with the Bruins, and it would be Karson Kuhlman coming out of the B’s lineup to make room for the skilled Johansson.

It’s certainly much better than Tuesday’s off-day practice, when it looked like it David Backes was going to be the healthy scratch, which would have made little sense given how good the third line has been for the Bruins in the series vs. Toronto.

“We’ll look at Kuhlman (coming out of the lineup) if MoJo is ready to go,” said Cassidy. “He’s been under the weather, so he has to have his energy level in order to help us. Johnny [Moore] has been skating lots, so for him he’s got his legs and I don’t anticipate there being any issues.”

Kuhlman has one assist in three games while playing right wing on the David Krejci line during the playoff series against the Maple Leafs, but really hasn’t been much of a two-way presence for a line that’s been otherwise good this postseason. So it stands to reason that adding the skilled Johansson to that line could give them some additional offensive pop, and starts to open up some possibilities for Bruce Cassidy should he want to begin playing around with his line combinations.

Here are the projected Bruins line combinations and defense pairings vs. the Maple Leafs in Game 4 based on morning skate:

 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Johansson

Heinen-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Acciari-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Moore

 

Rask

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Bruins' 'preference' is to leave Charlie Coyle at third line center

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Bruins' 'preference' is to leave Charlie Coyle at third line center

BRIGHTON -- There was some question as to whether Charlie Coyle might get a little time at wing this season for the Bruins after locking things down at the third line center position last season after coming over in trade from the Minnesota Wild.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Coyle brought two-way play, puck possession and offensive upside to the third line upon his arrival, and then he really stepped it up in the playoffs with nine goals and 16 points in his 24 games. So naturally, there is curiosity as to whether his size, strength and offense could move up to right wing on the second line where his game could be paired pretty comfortably with playmaking David Krejci.

Or even more radically, Coyle’s size and strength could make an interesting match on the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

But it sounds like the Bruins are going to keep things strong down the middle with Bergeron and Krejci as their top-6 centers and Coyle and Sean Kuraly as the bottom-6 centers giving the B's depth and quality down the middle of the lineup. Coyle was centering Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen at practice on Wednesday afternoon and has played center throughout training camp.

It may be getting to a point now where they don’t want to fool around with things by switching Coyle’s positions on him as happened in Minnesota, and it certainly sounds like Cassidy’s preference is to leave him at center.

“Generally speaking the match-up is the D-pair and the centerman down low. The wingers obviously matter, but they are less of a factor. At least that’s what I think when I think match-ups. So to have Charlie [Coyle] in there [at center] now, and my intention is to keep him there unless the team would be better served with him on the wing,” said Cassidy. “Right now, we like the way we played last year and hopefully this year. It makes you a lot more comfortable in terms of defending.”

Cassidy reserved the right to change his mind if Trent Frederic really comes along as an NHL-ready center or if all of the top-6 right wing candidates end up dropping the ball in training camp. That doesn’t appear to be the case over the first week of training camp and that may just mean Coyle stays in his comfortable position at center where he gives the Bruins the lineup depth that helped catapult them to the Stanley Cup Final last spring.

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Bruins only have one player on ESPN's 'Top 100 NHL prospects' list

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Bruins only have one player on ESPN's 'Top 100 NHL prospects' list

The Boston Bruins weren't exactly well represented on ESPN's "Top 100 NHL prospects list" heading into the new season.

20-year-old Jack Studnicka was the only B's prospect to make the list, landing in the No. 61 spot. Here's what ESPN's Chris Peters had to say about the 2017 second-round pick:

"A free-wheeling forward who can do a little bit of everything, Studnicka will be put to the test early in the AHL. But he looks more than ready to make the most of it."

In 60 games between the Oshawa Generals and the Niagra IceDogs of the OHL last season, Studnicka tallied 83 points (36 goals, 47 assists). The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder also scored in a playoff game with the Providence Bruins. He'll continue to battle for a spot on the NHL roster throughout camp.

Some of the Bruins prospects left out of the top 100 include Urho Vaakanainen, Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic, Jakub Lauko, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Zach Senyshyn.

Unsurprisingly, Jack Hughes (Devils) and Kaapo Kakko (Rangers) topped ESPN's rankings.

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