It sounds like the Bruins are finally getting some good news on the injury front.
Down three of their four ‘regular’ right wings in Sunday’s win over the Sharks, and still without two of them for their current two-game road trip, it would appear that fourth-line winger Curtis Lazar is ‘good to go’ for tonight’s game in Sunrise.
Injured late in camp, Lazar was held out of action as the team weighed their options (time versus surgery), and waited for the swelling to subside before making any definitive decision. (Lazar described the injury as a ‘slipped’ elbow.) And the return comes with both the team and Lazar making sure that every box was checked.
“A lot of credit to the training staff here helping me get back ahead of my timeline,” Lazar said following Tuesday’s practice. “We attacked it right away and it allowed me to get better each and every day [with] no setbacks. I’m very thankful.”
If indeed good to go as the Bruins believe, Lazar will skate with Trent Frederic and Tomas Nosek on Boston’s fourth line, which was always the B’s ‘optimal’ fourth line ahead of the 2021-22 season.
“They started [and spent] a lot of training camp together,” Cassidy noted. “They should be able to play against anybody.”
With the ideal fourth line reunited, Jack Studnicka will move up to Boston’s second line between Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle, while Karson Kuhlman will skate with Jake DeBrusk and Erik Haula on the third line.
“We’re going to have to use everybody and trust everybody, so this gives us a chance to at least start that way,” Cassidy noted. “If everyone’s on their game, we’ve got some balance and [we’ll] go from there.”
That’s especially true against a 6-0-0 Panthers squad that’s simply firing on all cylinders.
“They have a quick-strike offense,” Cassidy acknowledged. “Their wings are fast, they have an ability to stretch you out and get going the other way. They’re putting pucks in the net, so that’s the first thing. Then they got D that can get up there and join and support [the attack] as well. And then they’ve got two goalies that are really on their game.
“They’ll give up some chances, but when you’re getting saves and you can get going the other way, you’ll have a little more juice in your game when you’re getting the stops. Offense and defense, what else is left, right?
“That’s probably why they’re undefeated.”
Linus Ullmark will get the start for the Bruins. This will be Ullmark’s third straight start, and comes on the heels of a 23-of-26 performance against the Sharks. Ullmark is 2-0-0 with a .935 save percentage out of the gate this season.
The Panthers are expected to counter with Sergei Bobrovsky. The 33-year-old Bobrovsky, who had struggled mightily in Florida through his first two seasons of his mammoth contract with the Panthers, is off to an absurd start with a 4-0-0 record and .942 save percentage out of the gate this season.
This will be one of three head-to-heads between the B’s and Cats in 2021-22.
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.