By: Nick Parker | Follow me @NickParker15
After finally breaking through five on five with three goals on Thursday night, the Boston Bruins looked poised to be able to repeat and build on the scoring success that had evaded them for the previous three games on Saturday. After doing some line juggling due to injury Coach Bruce Cassidy was able to get secondary scoring beyond special teams. The team saw a full 60-minute effort in their blowout of Philadelphia 6-1 in dominant fashion. The line that had the most success was the combination of Frederic-Coyle-Smith, who accounted for two even-strength goals with a total of five points on the night. Smith’s goal proved to be the game-winner, and Coyle’s tally helped push the game further in the Bruin’s favor.
For the past three years, the “Perfection Line” of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak has led to the bulk of the Bruins scoring, and Boston has had trouble in the postseason getting secondary scoring. Coach Cassidy has found success in one game by putting together the Coyle line, and hopefully, that line can continue to be a puck possession nightmare for opposing teams. The question then comes up who gets moved around and bumped out of the lineup when Pasta returns potentially Saturday against Washington.
The most likely candidate at this moment is Anders Bjork, who will be relegated to be the odd man out. Bjork has looked just ok so far this season with zero points in the Bruins five games. Bjork knew going into this season that he would be someone that needs to fight for playing time and at this moment has not done enough to warrant staying in the lineup over someone like Studnicka, who was the start of the floodgates opening with his goal Thursday for Boston. With Bjork out, the most likely line combinations with Pasta’s return look as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Ritchie – Krejci – DeBrusk
Frederic – Coyle – Smith
Studnicka – Kuraly – Wagner
Pastrnak’s reintroduction into the lineup will help get the first line back on track with five-on-five scoring, as well as adding Pasta’s elite one-timer by the left hash back to the first powerplay unit. After recovering from off-season hip surgery, Pasta looks ready to jump back in and return to his Rocket Richard goal-scoring ways. With him back on the first power-play unit, this will give Cassidy a chance to add more scoring threats to his second power-play unit. One possible option is to move David Krejci to the second unit to continue to inspire Nick Ritchie and reward him for the early season success he has had with the first unit. This would give the first power-play unit a big body up front with loads of scoring threats to the sides and bumper. In this combination, I would expect to see them line up as:
Ritchie – Bergeron – Marchand
Pastrnak – Grzelcyk
The second power-play unit options will then shift to:
DeBrusk – Coyle – Smith
McAvoy – Krejci
With these power-play units, it gives both lines options with large bodies up front, Ritchie and Coyle, mobile defensemen who can both shoot and distribute, and lethal shooters all around the powerplay.
The Boston Bruins look much more like the team that we saw win the President’s trophy last year in the last two games and hopefully can continue to keep their play strong and will rise up to the top of the Eastern Division.