After losing in regulation for just the second time Tuesday night in Montreal, the Bruins lineup Friday in Detroit is going to look a little different than it was the other night.
Jake DeBrusk will miss the contest with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday’s loss.
“DeBrusk is the big one, played through the game the other night, lower body. Woke up yesterday, not feeling great, so he's had that checked out and continues to get it checked out,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday afternoon. “Will not travel with us. So probably have a much better idea when we get a medical report, but he's out tomorrow. Sunday (against the Flyers), I can't tell you.”
As for the Bruins three other injured forwards in Joakim Nordstrom, Par Lindholm and David Backes, none of the three will be ready to go on Friday. Injured defensemen Kevan Miller and John Moore skated once again Thursday in their red non-contact jerseys.
“Nordstrom, Lindholm Miller all-in reds will not play tomorrow. Until they have a normal color on (they wont be back). Backes is feeling better, but again, not on the ice. Johnny Moore skated earlier; he's able to join the group a little bit now on some of the line drills,” Cassidy added.
“We just had eight D out there, so we thought, well we'll incorporate him, and we wanted to get a few things done. He's not ready for contact. The closest of that group would be Nordstrom from what I was told today.”
With DeBrusk out and none of the other three forwards able to go Friday, the Bruins recalled both Peter Cehlarik and Zach Senyshyn from Providence.
Tuesday’s loss in Montreal was an impressive season debut for Senyshyn who skated on a line with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork.
In 8:28 of five-on-five ice time the line spent together, they held the edge in shot attempts 10-3, shots on goal 7-2, scoring chances 5-0 and goals 2-0. Had Coyle’s third period goal not been overturned after a offside review deemed Coyle entered the zone before the puck, the line would have been on the ice for three goals scored.
It ended up as a two-assist night for Senyshyn who has earned himself another look Friday night.
“He's playing tomorrow night. He's on the puck, him and Bjork. He did a real good job getting on pucks turning pucks over to give us a chance to get on the attack. Drew a penalty by going to the net, getting inside ice, something we've asked him to do,” added Cassidy. “Got a couple assists, although there wasn't credit with them. But eventually he had a lot to do with a couple of those goals by getting to pucks first.”
Even with some bodies coming in and out of the lineup for Friday, the biggest changes are coming on the back end where the Bruins top and bottom defensive pairings are expected to be mixed up a bit.
Thursday’s practice saw Connor Clifton slide up to the top pairing next to Zdeno Chara, with Charlie McAvoy taking Clifton’s place on the third pairing next to Matt Grzelcyk.
“We're just going to give it a go. It matches the size factor a little better. Like we always thought [Grzelcyk] and Clifton was two good players, but are they an ideal pair?” said Cassidy. ”This allows Charlie to free up a little more in the offensive side of things. Maybe not get the heavy matchup every time over the boards cause Zee [Chara] will definitely be matched up. That's his strength.”
McAvoy and Grzelcyk spent a year together playing college hockey at Boston University before meeting up again with the Bruins. The two spent some time together as a pairing in the preseason, a pairing that brought a different element to the ice, and one I would like to see more off.
In 33:37 of five-on-five ice time in the preseason, the pair had a Corsi For % of 62.86%, held the advantage in shots 32-16, scoring chances 28-13 and had an expected goals for of 3.09.
“Grez and Charlie have had a good relationship from BU,” said Cassidy. “They play well together. So I'm not worried about that. Zee and Clifton I haven't seen much of, so we'll see, that'll be interesting.”
After arguably his worst game of the season against the Penguins on Monday, Clifton responded nicely in Tuesday’s contest with a goal, and five hits.
It was nice to see Clifton getting back to “Cliffy Hockey.”
“I thought Cliffy brought much more of his style of play the other night. He was physical attacking with the puck. Something we wanted to see more out of him, not reckless. And I think he took that message a little too much to heart where you stop being assertive,” added Cassidy. “We're trying to get that back in his game.”