Boston Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Members of the Boston Bruins celebrate a second period goal against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on January 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

After coming up just short on Saturday, Monday’s rematch with the Capitals is expected to come with a bit of a forward group shake-up from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

That change will come in the middle of Boston’s 12-man unit, too, with Craig Smith set to skate on the right wing of a second line with Nick Ritchie and David Krejci, while Chris Wagner moves up with Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle.

The Bruins have given Smith a little bit of a run on the second line this season, and the results have been largely encouraging, with the Ritchie-Krejci-Smith outshooting opponents 7-2 in 11:22 of five-on-five play this season.

But this also comes out of necessity, really, with the Bruins down Ondrej Kase, Jake DeBrusk, and Jack Studnicka. DeBrusk is the closest to returning, and that timeline doesn’t even come into focus until DeBrusk is back on the ice skating, which is on Tuesday’s agenda back in Boston.

Smith is currently tied with Brad Marchand with the second-most shots among all Boston shooters, with 23.

Nothing’s set in stone (and Charlie Coyle is a game-time decision), but with Cassidy, rarely is anything.

“We may move it around,” Cassidy admitted. “But in the short term we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to match up the best and that’s something we’re thinking about tonight.”

With Wagner moved up, Karson Kuhlman is expected to play on the right wing of a fourth line with Anders Bjork and Sean Kuraly. Kuhlman logged three shots on goal and a hit in 12:19 of action in his season debut last Saturday.

Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the start in goal. Halak is 2-0-1 with a .939 save percentage this season.

The Capitals will stick with Vitek Vanecek after the rookie stopped 40-of-43 in a win over Boston the last time out.

Here are the projected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Craig Smith

Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Chris Wagner

Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Karson Kuhlman

Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy

Connor Clifton – Brandon Carlo

Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller

Jaroslav Halak

Matt Dolloff and I talk a lot of hockey every week on the SideLines podcast. Listen below for the newest episode.

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.