Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been one to turn down a potential shake-up within his lineup.
And it appears that the Bruins are considering one for Tuesday night against the Senators following a Monday practice that saw Jack Studnicka skate as the right winger on a line with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and Erik Haula at center.
“We’re considering it,” Cassidy said. “That’s what we looked at [Monday] in practice. We’ll make a decision [Tuesday] morning. That line, offensively, has had some looks [but] hasn’t finished. Maybe a different flavor there.”
A natural center, Studnicka has totaled one assist and four shots on goal in three games this season, but has worked on the wing in the past, including at times during his 20-game sample with the Bruins last year and in the 2020 postseason.
“Learning curve last year having to [play wing], but I’ve worked with the assistant coaches a lot in practice and certain situations, taking pucks off the wall,” Studnicka, who was the final cut from the team’s training camp and has been knocking at the door for a chance all year, said. “And I think I’m a lot stronger this year, so board battles should hopefully go in my favor.”
There’s no denying that the right side of Boston’s third line has been an absolute revolving door since Nick Foligno went down with an upper-body injury. The Bruins have tried everybody from Oskar Steen to Tomas Nosek in that spot, and I suppose it’s only natural that Studnicka will get a crack before Foligno’s expected return to action sometime in the near future.
But this is a move that the Bruins could be hoping sparks Haula, who was benched briefly in last Saturday’s loss and has totaled just one assist (a secondary helper) through his first nine games with the Bruins.
“I didn’t think he had his legs [Saturday] night as much as he’s [previously] had,” Cassidy said of Haula. “I think he’s been a little snakebitten, to be honest with you. He’s had some ups and downs, but a couple go in and we’re probably not talking about this, he’s probably a little more confident. I just want to make sure he doesn’t get affected by hitting posts or getting close.
“He still has to play good, solid hockey for us.”
Should the Bruins go with Studnicka at right wing Tuesday night, Curtis Lazar is expected to drop down to the fourth line, which would likely bump Karson Kuhlman to the press box as the team’s odd man out.
“I think [Kuhlman] has done a nice job [with] what we’ve asked on that line,” Cassidy said. “But sometimes a different type of player may help the line get going.”
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.