The Bruins will have to wait at least one more game for some defensive reinforcements, as both Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller will remain out of action for Monday’s Game 5 at TD Garden.
This will mark Carlo’s second straight absence after taking a behind-the-net hit from the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck in the third period of Game 3, while this will mark Miller’s sixth straight absence after a hit from Washington’s Dmitry Orlov in round one. But the good news in the case of both players is that they did get on the ice for some work Monday, with this being the first time that Carlo has stepped on the ice for a skate since the Clutterbuck hit.
“I think [Carlo]’s going on the ice right now,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following Boston’s morning skate. “Obviously that’s a good step if he gets on the ice and has no ill effects. Won’t be in the lineup tonight, and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow for Game 6.”
With Carlo and Miller out, the Bruins will continue to ice a defensive unit that features Jeremy Lauzon to the right of Mike Reilly on the Black and Gold’s second pairing, while Jarred Tinordi will ride to Connor Clifton’s left on the third pairing.
But perhaps it’s in your best interest not to get too attached to any of these pairings, as Game 4 came with a significant amount of mixing and matching from Cassidy, as Reilly played over seven minutes with both Clifton and Lauzon at five-on-five, and nearly four full minutes with Charlie McAvoy.
“We’re not going to overanalyze Game 4 and tear down what we did the first three games,” Cassidy said. “We’re going to try to park some of those things, expect to have more energy back home and get back to the level we need to.”
For the defense, getting back to that level came with a meeting going over the defensive breakdowns that led to the Kyle Palmieri goal in the second period and what could’ve been done to prevent Mat Barzal’s baseball style circus game winner.
“[The Islanders] have a few other guys that certainly turn up and we’ve got to make sure we sort through coverage in a hurry because their D do come late,” said Cassidy. “They’re a team that will generate off point shots, tips and second-effort around the net. So we just reviewed our routes back, boxing out for our D, getting under sticks. So that was more our message today. Get back to the reminder of the details, addressed some neutral zone decision-making, shot versus pass, and attack versus playing behind their D again areas that we didn’t have a good enough balance on [in Game 4]. And that’s it.
“We’re not changing our whole game. We feel we’ve played well, three out of four games. The other game we didn’t play well. We’re in it in the third period. If we take care of some details, who knows how that one ends up.”
The Bruins will make one slight lineup change, however, with Karson Kuhlman stepping in for Jake DeBrusk. Kuhlman has one assist in one appearance this postseason, while DeBrusk has just one assist in his last seven postseason contests after beginning the playoffs with two goals in two games.
Here’s the expected lineup for the Bruins for tonight’s contest…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Jeremy Lauzon
Jarred Tinordi – 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.