The Bruins will make just one change to their lineup Monday night, as Connor Clifton will sub in for the injured Jeremy Lauzon and skate to the left of Kevan Miller on Boston’s third pairing.
“He’s been in our lineup in the playoffs before,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday. “Let’s see how it works out. Hopefully he just plays a good solid game for us.”
As mentioned, Clifton’s insertion into the Boston lineup will come with the 5-foot-11 defender moving to his left side, and after playing 22:56 in Boston’s season finale in Washington last week (with ‘good and bad stretches’ according to Cassidy).
“That was a decision we had to make,” Cassidy said of moving the right-shot Clifton to the left. “[Jakub] Zboril was injured [so] then it became, is it [Jarred] Tinordi or [Urho] Vaakanainen? We went with Cliffy because he’s played there before this year. Had good stretches early in the year with Kevan Miller and [Brandon] Carlo, both on the left side.”
The 26-year-old Clifton totaled one goal, seven points, and a plus-10 rating, with 108 hits and 52 blocked shots, in 44 games this season. Clifton has also appeared in three goals and eight points in 26 career playoff games.
Up front, the Bruins will stick with the 12-forward grouping that got the call in Game 1, and while the Bruins will obviously look for more out of their high-powered top six that was shutout for just the second time since being assembled on Apr. 13, the B’s will look for some more pop and possession from the Nick Ritchie-Sean Kuraly-Charlie Coyle line.
“They just need to have a little bit more will in terms of getting there and supporting one another,” Cassidy said of his third-line combination. “Because once they do it have down low, they’ve been pretty effective at holding onto to [the puck] and generating from there. That’s something we’ve addressed with that line [Sunday] and hopefully it translates.”
Tuukka Rask will remain in the net as Boston’s starter, while the belief is that Craig Anderson will stay in net for Washington.
Here’s the complete Game 2 lineup for the Bruins…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk – Curtiz Lazar – Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Connor Clifton – Kevan Miller
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.