By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins superstar David Pastrnak was not among the group of 16 who participated in an optional skate on Friday, further complicating his already-uncertain status for Saturday’s Game 3 matinee.
“Pasta did not skate today so I would say he could still possibly play tomorrow, but with the 12 o’clock game, no real opportunity to test it in the morning skate like your typical 7 o’clock,” Cassidy, who team had to skate without their top goal scorer in Game 2, said. “It would make it difficult. But we’ll make that evaluation in the morning.”
In other words, time is not on the B’s side when it comes to Pastrnak returning to play on Saturday. Off the ice since celebrating the double-overtime winner, the Bruins would be asking Pastrnak to go from 0-to-60 with a mere pregame warmup to his name.
That, with this series set to go at least five games after Carolina’s Game 2 win, and with another back-to-back awaiting these teams should it go six games, may not be the best plan.
And should Pastrnak remain unfit to play, Anders Bjork seems like the logical choice to remain to the right of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the Black and Gold’s first line.
“I thought Anders did a pretty good job early on, had a great look,” Cassidy said of Bjork’s fill-in work with Bergeron and Marchand. “Unfortunately, didn’t finish. Made a few plays, one to Krejci and one to Bergy, where we forecheck, winning some pucks. Had a couple battles he could be better on but everybody is like that. That stuff, he’s just going to learn as he goes and gets stronger. I thought overall, he did what he could with his skillset to help that line.
“No one is going to replace Pasta and walk right on there. But if guys can go ahead and compliment Bergy and Marchy and help them create some offense then they’ve done a good thing. And I think Anders did some of that [in Game 2].”
With or without Pastrnak, the Bruins will make multiple lineup changes for Game 3, according to Cassidy.
“We’ll be making some changes both at forward and D,” Cassidy confirmed. “Some of that is to get some energy in the lineup and change the look of our forward group.”
But, like Cassidy alluded to, nothing would change the look of that forward group more than the return of No. 88.
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.