BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins were supposed to play Monday night, but with the team’s game against New Jersey postponed due to the Devils’ issues with COVID-19, Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy used the ample practice time to try something new. During Monday’s session at Warrior Ice Arena, Cassidy shuffled his top two lines.
There is a method to Cassidy’s madness when it comes to breaking up Boston’s dominant line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. The head coach is hoping that a line swap leads to some more offensive consistency from each of Boston’s lines.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reports 1,283 New COVID-19 Cases, 25 Additional Deaths
So Cassidy sent out Jake DeBrusk in place of Pastrnak on Boston’s top line on Monday, with Pastrnak instead skating on the B’s second line with David Krejci and Nick Ritchie.
Cassidy’s goal with the line shuffle is to get Krejci and DeBrusk going offensively. Krejci has 10 assists but no goals over his 14 games played, while DeBrusk has just two assists in his nine games played.
“It’s a little bit of a few guys, offensively, haven’t had much luck,” Cassidy said of his shakeup on Monday. “[Bergeron and Marchand’s line] tend to push whoever is with them. [Krejci] has played with Pasta, so it’s a little bit of a different look. We’ve talked about doing it in the past.”
That Bergeron-Pastrnak-Marchand line has been dominant since Pasta’s return, outscoring opponents 7-3 during five-on-five action. But none of Boston’s other lines have really stepped up in the scoring department. Of the Bruins’ 14 even-strength goals on the season, 11 of them have been scored by either Marchand (6), Bergeron (2) or Pastrnak (3).READ MORE: 32,345 Breakthrough COVID Cases Reported In Massachusetts, Just 0.71% Of Vaccinated People
“We’ll see how it goes. But hopefully it jump-starts both lines,” Cassidy added Monday. “Maybe this gets both lines scoring consistently.”
Pastrnak didn’t mind the line swap when he spoke with reporters on Tuesday.
“I love playing with Krech. He’s an unbelievable playmaker,” said Pastrnak. “We built some chemistry my first couple of years. Obviously we’ve become real good friends. I know what to expect from him. I need to be ready to shoot all the time, and like I said, we have great chemistry together.”
Krejci was just as excited as Pastrnak over the change, happy to have one of Boston’s best skill players joining his line.
“Obviously he’s one of the best players in the league, so who wouldn’t want to play with him? I’m excited, really excited,” said Krejci. “He can do it all on the ice. Once we get the puck, our offensive skills and instincts kind of take over.”MORE NEWS: 'It Looked Like Niagara Falls,' Massive Water Main Break Floods Part Of Beacon Hill
The Bruins have survived on its top line so far this season, leading the East Division at 10-2-2. The team will return to game action Thursday night, with the Devils set to visit TD Garden.