After playing about a billion games in 100 days, the Bruins are not taking any chances when it comes to their Game 1 health, as Bruce Cassidy has decided to sit almost every regular for tonight’s regular season finale in Washington.
According to Cassidy, the Bruins will take to the ice tonight without *takes a suuuuper deep breath* Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Craig Smith, Sean Kuraly, Charlie Coyle, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, and Tuukka Rask.
To recap, the Bruins are sitting their entire top-six forward group along with two pivotal bottom-six pieces, their entire defense corps (at least what you’d consider to be their most likely Game 1 defense corps), and their No. 1 goaltender.
So, who’s left?
Up front, Boston’s forward group will be headlined by Nick Ritchie, Jake DeBrusk, Curtis Lazar, Chris Wagner, and Trent Frederic. The team will also throw Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen, Zach Senyshyn, and Greg McKegg into the mix, and it seems like Cam Hughes’ addition to the taxi squad means that he’ll be the team’s 12th forward.
On the backend, the Bruins will ice a blue line definitely featuring Connor Clifton, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril, Jarred Tinordi, and likely Jack Ahcan and Urho Vaakanainen summoned up from the minors for the finale.
It only makes sense, too, as the Bruins are indeed locked into the No. 3 seed in the East Division, and cannot catch the No. 2 seed Capitals in regulation wins, so this game is truly meaningless for most of the Black and Gold’s roster.
But for those who haven’t been given the day off, Cassidy wants to see one final push to carve out spots and backup roles.
“Other guys are in the lineup to show [us] maybe what does our fourth line look like in this particular environment? Who are the depth guys? Who would come in first, second, or third at each position, so you get another look at them,” said Cassidy. “Guys that you haven’t seen in a while — like a Steen of the world and a Senyshyn that were here, but when we got healthy they got pushed out — are they ready if need be? Some of those things you get a last look at, so that’s what we’re looking at.
“We want to stick to Bruins hockey. We’re just doing it with guys who are more depth players.”
The Capitals, meanwhile, are not taking as many extra measures, as Caps coach Peter Laviolette noted that Nicklas Backstrom will play while Alex Ovechkin will be a game-time decision. The Capitals will be without TJ Oshie and John Carlson.
The Bruins enter tonight’s game with a 4-1-2 record against the Capitals in 2021.
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.