The Bruins will go with size and experience in Game 5, as it will be Jarred Tinordi who gets the call next to Connor Clifton on Boston’s third defensive pairing for tonight’s potential series-clinching meeting in Washington.
“I’m excited,” Tinordi, who has totaled one assist and 44 hits in 14 games with Boston since being claimed off waivers in February, said. “I’m ready to go.”
In for the injured Kevan Miller, who was knocked out of Game 4 after a high hit from the Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy knows that this is the kind of matchup that may play to Tinordi’s strengths.
“He’s a big guy, so they’ll know when he’s on the ice,” Cassidy said of the move to the 6-foot-6 Tinordi. “I’m sure they’ll have their scouting report on him and where they can break him down. It’s a good matchup for him with some big wingers [on the Capitals]. He’s mobile, he can get in their way and slow them down.”
That alone makes him a better option than the Bruins’ other option (Urho Vaakanainen), but there’s also the way that the Bruins have leaned on Tinordi over Vaakanainen in 2021, and especially against this Capitals club down the stretch.
“[Tinordi]’s played more for us than Vaak this year, so he should be more playoff ready,” Cassidy said. “”I thought he played well here in the last game of the season. He’s worked hard. It’s just a matter of getting your feet under you quickly here.”
Ready or not, this is the hand the Bruins have been dealt, as they are certainly short on options; Miller is obviously out after Friday’s hit. Jeremy Lauzon will miss his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury. Jakub Zboril remains unavailable after suffering an upper-body injury in the regular season finale. And Steven Kampfer has been removed from the roster and deemed unavailable for the remainder of the postseason with an arm injury, according to Cassidy.
“We’re well down the food chain with the D this year, much like in years past,” Cassidy acknowledged. “Right now, Tinordi’s getting the call.”
And it’s a move that comes with obvious expectations given those aforementioned size advantages Tinordi possesses.
“We talked about playing to your strengths, staying within yourself,” Cassidy said. “It’s a faster pace, so he’s going to have to get back and make quicker decisions.”
“For me, personally, nothing really changes to my game,” Tinordi noted. “I’ve tried to be physical and be that presence, and just carry that over from the regular season. That’s an element I can help this team in. Just do my job, be smart about it.
“We take care of the details, it puts us in a good position.”
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.