Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is not afraid to mess with things that aren’t working.

And there’s no doubt that there’s a whole lot that’s currently not working for the Bruins, trailing their second-round series with the Lightning two games to one after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss. But if you were expecting to find out what’s going to change in what feels like a must-win Game 4 tomorrow night, Cassidy has some bad news for you.

“We’ll probably tinker,” Cassidy began. “[But] I’m not going to tell you who’s going in and who’s going out because we’ve got to get the healthy guys sorted out first and we’ll go from there. Tuukka will start, I’ll give you that.’

Going through an up-tempo practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday, the Bruins did put Ryan Donato (scratched for last seven games) with David Krejci and Rick Nash on the Black and Gold’s second line. Noel Acciari split some time at third-line center with Riley Nash between Tommy Wingels and David Backes. With Acciari bumped up, Brian Gionta skated on the right side of a fourth line with Timmy Schaller (scratched in Game 3) and Sean Kuraly. Veteran defender Nick Holden also split rushes with Matt Grzelcyk as the left-side partner for Adam McQuaid, too.

Jake DeBrusk and Brad Marchand, meanwhile, were given maintenance days.

But even with that latter point considered, these tweaks may be worth reading into.

Given that Thursday’s practice was heavy on adjustments to a breakout that’s been completely snuffed out by the Lightning, plugging Donato with Krejci and Rick Nash seems wasteful if he’s simply going to lose that spot to DeBrusk should this hold as a true maintenance day and nothing more. Cassidy clearly alluded to Donato jumping into the mix for Game 4 when asked about his struggling third line on Wednesday night, too, meaning that it would have made more sense for the B’s to put Donato with Riley Nash and Backes if they wanted to address this directly.

In other words, I would almost expect Game 4 to begin with Ryan Donato with Krejci and Rick Nash, and with Jake DeBrusk selected as the jolt of life needed for the Riley Nash-David Backes to get going with something (anything).

Krejci has been Donato’s most common center this year, too, only adding fuel to the fire of that line two combination.

“We’ve played a few games together,” Krejci acknowledged. “I don’t really know what [Donato]’s status is — if he’s going to be in or not — but it doesn’t really matter, he’s a good player. He proved that he can score in this league.”

Donato, for what it’s worth, has also proven that he can score when paired with Krejci, too.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.