The Bruins could have a very different-looking lineup for Game 5 based on how banged up they are after four games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Fourth line banger Chris Wagner has already been ruled out for Monday night’s do-or-die game with the Bruins down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, and fellow bottom-6 forwards Sean Kuraly and Nick Ritchie will be game-time decisions.
Kuraly has missed the last couple of games with an undisclosed injury suffered in the Game 2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, and his loss has been a key one for a fourth line that has struggled without him. Ritchie had an event-filled game vs. the Bolts in Game 4 when he dropped his gloves with Cedric Paquette and later earned himself a five-minute boarding major after drilling Yanni Gourde into the side boards.
If both Kuraly and Ritchie can’t play, then Bruce Cassidy said the Bruins will go with Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka instead, and that would give the B’s a very different, speed-and-skill oriented lineup against a Tampa team that’s played heavy hockey during the series.
“Kuraly and Ritchie both skated [on Monday morning], varying results. We’ll see tonight, they’ll be game-time decisions. If they’re not able to play, obviously [Par] Lindholm stays in. [Joakim Nordstrom], put [Karson Kuhlman] on that line and go Coyle, Bjork and Studnicka [on the third line],” said Cassidy. “The top two lines will stay the same. We’re not completely ruling them out but that is the practice lines we had yesterday and on D would be the same. Halak was out this morning getting some work so we’re all good there.”
Here are the projected line combos for the Bruins for Game 5 with their collective backs up against the wall:
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Jake DeBrusk||David Krejci||Ondrej Kase|
|Anders Bjork||Charlie Coyle||Jack Studnicka|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Par Lindholm||Karson Kuhlman|
|Zdeno Chara||Charlie McAvoy|
|Torey Krug||Brandon Carlo|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Connor Clifton|