ryan donato

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

Mental errors and lack of execution killed the Boston Bruins once again in game 3, and they now find themselves in a must-win situation in game 4. Which has led Bruce Cassidy to make some changes to the lineup for tonight’s contest.

Ryan Donato will return to the lineup tonight to play his second game of these Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many fans will be screaming for joy but will this be the jump the Bruins need to activate their depth forwards who have been invisible throughout this series. Still remains to be seen if any other changes will be made to the Bruins formation tonight as it is time for them to dig deep and get desperate after last games performance. The Tampa Bay Lightning have exposed the Bruins in this series by just being the hungrier team. While the Bruins did get a convincing 6-2 win in game 1, it is important to note that during that game the Lightning controlled the play and Tuukka Rask had to come up large for his teammates as they had a late wakeup call.


Coach Bruce Cassidy would not reveal his lineup heading into game 4 as it is expected that some changes will come as Ryan Donato has been confirmed. So here are the lines from Thursday’s practice.

Things You Need To Know

  • While Marchand and DeBrusk were not on the ice for practice, they are expected to play
  • No word on if Tim Schaller returns tonight
  • Tampa Bay’s depth players are stealing the show in this series
  • The Brayden Point line has 5 of the last 8 Lightning goals

Player To Watch


Ryan Donato: The amount of pressure that has been put on this rookie is tremendous the big question is will he be able to handle it? This honestly brings back shades of 2011 Eastern Conference Finals when the Bruins inserted rookie sensation Tyler Seguin against the Lightning and Tyler produced now its Ryan’s turn to step up. We know what he is capable of his offensive skills are incredible, the only problem is he looked really out of place in the series against Toronto. The Bruins are now desperate for depth scoring, and this is the perfect opportunity for Donato to step up in front of this fantastic hometown crowd.

Sean Kuraly: Sean had some good energy last game he was one of the only forwards who seemed to have a step on the Lightning defense. Early in his playoff career, Kuraly has stepped up for the Bruins at crucial times, and maybe it is time for the Bruins coaching staff to give him a permanent spot on the third line starting with tonight’s game. The Bruins should unleash a kids line of Donato-Kuraly-Heinen this would provide Danton a more significant opportunity to produce as his linemates so far in these playoffs have looked slow and have not been able to produce at all for Boston. Separating the Worker B’s line is a significant risk, but the Bruins need to find an answer for their bottom two lines immediately.

Tampa Bay

Steven Stamkos: After hitting the empty net goal last game Boston has to be careful as this might have ignited Stamkos which could lead to significant issues for the Bruins going forward. Stamkos has been quiet the entire series, but he has looked better and better as the series has gone on the Lightning are definitely getting more than lucky with power play opportunities so this should give Steven better looks at the net in game 4.

Nikita Kucherov: While high sticking Zdeno Chara last game and not getting a penalty Kucherov has been in the same boat as Stamkos in this series just not producing. But in the previous game, Kucherov was one of the best players on the ice at both ends of the rink, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable which is horrible news for the Bruins as they trail in this series. Kucherov is a superstar in this league and keeping him off the score sheet has been really impressive for the Bruins, but they must keep doing so if they expect to win this series.

BNG Prediction

Lucas Salvatore: 3-1 Boston

KG: 3-2 Boston in OT

Mike Cratty: 4-1 Boston

Garrett Haydon: 2-1 Boston

Max Mainville: 3-2 Lightning

Mark Allred: 5-2 Boston