B's winger Nick Ritchie expected to play vs. Lightning

Winslow Townson/USA TODAY

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

Starting netminder Tuukka Rask isn't the only player Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is expecting to get back in action for Wednesday's round-robin game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Spending Monday's practice on David Krejci's left, and with the team for the third consecutive skate, Nick Ritchie appears set to rejoin the lineup, according to B's coach Bruce Cassidy.

“I suspect [Ritchie] will be ready Wednesday," Cassidy said. "He would be a guy that we’re planning on being in the lineup."

Cassidy, of course, made that proclamation with a "barring any sort of injury tomorrow or anything that pops up" qualifier.

But the fact that we're even talking about Ritchie, who missed almost a full week of practice between Phase 3 and 4, returning to action is a positive, and brings the Bruins a touch closer to finally playing with a full deck.

Acquired from the Ducks at the trade deadline in exchange for Danton Heinen, Ritchie recorded one goal and an assist during his seven-game run with the Bruins, and bounced around the Black and Gold's middle-six grouping, spending 64 five-on-five minutes with Krejci and 14 with Charlie Coyle.

The Bruins are still very much trying to figure out Ritchie's ideal centerman, too, as there wasn't an immediately noticeable connection from Ritchie with either Krejci or Coyle. And while Monday's skate saw him back with David Krejci, which bumped Jake DeBrusk down to Boston's third line with Coyle and Anders Bjork, Cassidy isn't ruling anything out when it comes to Ritchie's spot in his lineup.

"Ritchie’s a bigger guy, had him with Krejci towards the end before the pause," Cassidy said of the decision to put Ritchie on Boston's second line. "Tomorrow might be a different animal. But it doesn’t matter to me. We have three really good centermen. Wherever [the wingers] end up, we just expect them to take care of themselves right now.

"It’s more about, right now, every individual has to get their game together. And then the team stuff will come."

The Bruins are currently 0-1-0 in the East's round-robin tournament for postseason seeding.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.