The Boston Bruins will get one body back on the backend for the start of their second-round series with the New York Islanders, as Jeremy Lauzon has been ruled in for Saturday’s game at TD Garden by B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Injured in Boston’s series-opening loss to the Capitals on May 15, Lauzon has been practicing with the Bruins throughout the week, and will be expected to play his brand of a simplified game on the Black and Gold’s third pairing.
“The message is always stay within yourself, even when he’s healthy,” Cassidy said of Lauzon’s return to action. “That’s when he plays his best. Just when he’s hard to play against, physical, by getting in peoples’ faces, playing hard hockey, good on the kill with his shot-blocking and clears. Try to execute a good first pass, make the right decision which is always a challenge for young defensemen.”
Paired with Connor Clifton, Lauzon will look to build off a postseason start that included eight hits and four blocks in 19:12 of time on ice. The Lauzon-Clifton pairing has been together for a solid stretch in 2021, too, with the pair together over 118 minutes of five-on-five action, and while the pairing has been outshot on the ice by a 62-59 mark, they’ve experienced some solid scoring luck, with the Bruins outscoring opponents 5-1 with Lauzon-Clifton out there together.
The B’s will have to hope that this duo remains lucky, too, as Kevan Miler will be unavailable to start this series after suffering a concussion in Game 4 of the team’s first-round series with the Capitals. Miller has yet to resume skating, and the Bruins also remain without Jakub Zboril, while Steven Kampfer and John Moore are done for the season.
The Bruins will stick with Tuukka Rask in net, while the Islanders counter with Ilya Sorokin.
The 34-year-old Rask is off to a strong start this postseason, with four wins and a .941 save percentage in five games this spring. Sorokin has been equally dangerous for New York by way of his 4-0 record and .943 save percentage.
This will be the first postseason series between the Bruins and Islanders since 1983, and just the third overall.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Jeremy Lauzon – Connor Clifton
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.