A night after the Bruins had a ‘no passengers’ win over the Islanders, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will make just one change to his Friday rematch with New York, as Jeremy Swayman will get the call between the pipes.
Swayman will take to the ice coming off a 21-save shootout victory over the Sabres last Tuesday, and with three wins and a .926 save percentage through his first four NHL starts.
The good news for the Bruins is that this was always penciled in as a Swayman start, and has nothing to do with the health of starting goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made his return to the B’s lineup Thursday night and looked every bit like himself on the way to his 300th career victory. Rask woke up fine on Friday, too, according to Cassidy, with Sunday against the Capitals earmarked as Rask’s next start. And this will be a true off day for Rask, as Daniel Vladar will serve as Swayman’s backup to prevent Rask from being summoned into any emergency action.
For the Bruins, the hope is that another strong start can come with the play of their new-look fourth line, with Curtis Lazar between Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.
“It’s been a staple of this team since I’ve been here and before that,” Cassidy said of the high-energy fourth line. “Get the crowd into it, get our bench into, let them know we’re here to play early.”
Together for the last two games, the Kuraly-Lazar-Wagner line has posted a 54.55 Corsi-For percentage, and outshot opponents 11-8. They’ve also been on the ice for five high-danger chances for and just one against despite having just two of their 22 faceoffs to date come in the offensive zone.
The Bruins will also look for deadline addition Taylor Hall to continue to build on what’s been an encouraging start in Boston on the B’s second line with David Krejci and Craig Smith.
“Help us win,” Cassidy said of the message to the 29-year-old Hall. “That’s it.
“That was the message to him when he got here and walked through the door. You don’t have to be our leading scorer, you’re not the face of the franchise. You’re just a good hockey player for the Boston Bruins. So keep building your game, let’s see what your game is all about, see what our game is all about, and help us win.”
The Bruins enter tonight’s game with a 1-3-2 record against the Isles in 2021.
Here’s the full lineup and pairings for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton
Jakub Zboril – Steve Kampfer