Sean Kuraly ruled out, Bruins going with seven defensemen vs. Lightning
By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins will be without their bottom-six motor on Wednesday, as fourth-line center Sean Kuraly has been ruled out of Game 3 between the Bruins and Lightning.
Kuraly finished Tuesday’s Game 2 with an assist and six hits in 14:36, and was apparently the “gametime decision up front” that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talked about in his morning media availability.
With Kuraly out, Par Lindholm will jump back between Joakim Nordstrom and Chris Wagner on Boston’s fourth line.
Lindholm appeared in three games in Boston’s first-round series against the Hurricanes, totaling six hits and two shots on goal.
This will not be the only change to the Boston lineup, either, as Cassidy will also replace forward Anders Bjork and defenseman Connor Clifton with defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and John Moore.
This means that the Bruins will indeed move forward with a seven-defensemen approach, which is something Cassidy also discussed as a legitimate possibility given the tone of this series, as well as the taxing nature of a back-to-back.
“Back-to-back game, some guys it’s a heavier workload. You’re playing [Charlie] McAvoy upward of 25 minutes,” Cassidy acknowledged. “We have some smaller guys, so it’s been a physical series for them. So, save a little wear and tear, put some fresh legs in there. The disadvantage of seven D is finding your rhythm as a defenseman. The second part of that is obviously up front, what if we get an injury to a forward? Now you’re really down to 10, so there can be some risk involved in the playoffs, especially considering the tight games we’ve been in like overtimes.
“That’s where we have to be careful.”
Lauzon will likely slide into Clifton’s spot as the right-side option next to Matt Grzelcyk, while Moore will be the team’s seventh defenseman and relied upon for some solid breakout options when called upon. Lauzon appeared in Boston’s first two games of the 2020 postseason, with five hits and three blocked shots in 26:24 over those two contests.
Moore has not played since the Black and Gold’s return-to-play exhibition contest against the Blue Jackets.
Here’s the complete lines and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle –
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon
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.