Earlier in the restart, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned that Nick Ritchie was going into the lineup because the Bruins acquired him for playoff-type hockey.
In the Carolina series, it didn’t really go to well, with Ritchie getting the healthy scratch treatment before the series was half over.
It appears that with a more physical Tampa team looming, Cassidy is ready to give Ritchie another look.
He confirmed this morning that the third line tonight will be Ritchie, Charlie Coyle, and Anders Bjork.
With Ritchie going back into the lineup on that third line, it likely means that Sean Kuraly will be bumped back to the fourth line. That, in turn, will end up bumping Par Lindholm out of the lineup.
It’s a tough break for Lindholm, who played well during his limited time in the Carolina series.
The move is a bit of a risk for Cassidy as well. Sure, in theory, Ritchie will be well suited for what promises to be a pretty rough-and-tumble series. Still, Tampa has plenty of talent and plenty of speed, and Ritchie didn’t exactly look like he was keeping up during the first round.
You can cite rust all you want, but Ondrej Kase has looked great since returning, so...yeah.
Ideally, the different style of play puts a bee in Ritchie’s bonnet, to borrow from Jack Edwards, and gets him going.
If not, I wouldn’t expect to see him in Game 2.
Here’s what to expect:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
It appears there will be no changes on defense, with Connor Clifton remaining in the lineup.
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzeclyk - Connor Clifton
Jaroslav Halak will be in net.