A Boston win and Tampa Bay loss on Thursday night left the East’s playoff scenarios unsettled approaching Game 82 of the season. But it ultimately did nothing to change the Bruins’ plans for Friday night’s regular season finale in Toronto, as Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will indeed rest a large chunk of his regulars for the head-to-head with the Maple Leafs.
Up front, the Bruins will rest Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Erik Haula, Taylor Hall, and David Pastrnak. This means that five of the six skaters in the B’s top-six forward grouping will get the night off, with only Jake DeBrusk slated to suit up.
With those forwards out, Anton Blidh, Marc McLaughlin, Oskar Steen, and Jack Studnicka will draw back into the lineup for the Bruins, while veteran winger Chris Wagner will make his 2021-22 NHL debut. Wagner, who was waived out of training camp this past fall, has tallied 15 goals and 27 points in 62 games with Providence this season.
On the backend, Matt Grzelcyk, Hampus Lindholm, and Charlie McAvoy will get the night off for the Bruins. They’ll be replaced in the Boston lineup by Jack Ahcan, Josh Brown, and Mike Reilly.
Jeremy Swayman will get the call in net for the Bruins.
The Maple Leafs, who have nothing to play for after clinching the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division earlier this week, will also rest some of their stars, with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares set to get the night off.
The Bruins have a few different paths to jumping the Lighting, who will play the Islanders on the road Friday night, for the third seed in the Atlantic, which would set the B’s up for a first-round showdown with the Maple Leafs.
Updated scenarios for Bruins ahead of Game 82. pic.twitter.com/91qoOshqAF— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) April 29, 2022
The simplest way to put it: If the Bruins earn more points than the Lightning on Friday night, they’ll play the Leafs in the first round. If both teams win in any variety or if both teams lose in regulation, things will remain the same and the Bruins will remain in the top wild card and take on the Metro-best Hurricanes in round one.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. 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.