By: Brandon Flowers | Follow me on Twitter @BKFlowers1
The Bruins are 16 games into this season and have an 11-3-2 record going into the end of February. Overall the Bruins have looked really good this year and do not look like they are taking a step back as some people have thought. One downfall Boston has faced so far this season is injuries. They have really been walloped with the injury bug, on the defensive side of things, as well as some forwards. Most recently, the Bruins lost yet another defenseman in Jeremy Lauzon at the Lake Tahoe outdoor game. The Bruins did finish off that game strong, but what lies ahead for this team with all the injuries that lie ahead of them.
The most recent forward to go down with an injury was David Krejci, who left the game against the Devils with a lower-body injury. Charlie Coyle was moved up to play second-line center, but the Bruins looked out of sync that whole game. For the outdoor game on Sunday evening, Bruce Cassidy kept Coyle as the second-line center, and that second line had an excellent game. Coyle got back on track with a goal, while his linemates Nick Ritchie finished with a goal and an assist, and Craig Smith added two assists.
With Charlie Coyle finding his groove again to get back on the scoring sheet and the Bruins playing well despite an injury, it begs the question; should Coyle remain as the second-line center even once Krejci returns from injury? I believe, at the very least, Coyle deserves a chance to center that second-line.
Even though it was only one game, the second-line for the Bruins consisting of Ritchie, Coyle, and Smith worked very well together during the Lake Tahoe game. During the game, that second-line produced a total of 5 points. I believe that the trio should remain intact for the near future to see if they can keep producing. Normally Jake DeBrusk is one of the wings on the second line, but he has played on the third-line the past few games and has been doing okay. Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith have shown they can have excellent chemistry, so I wouldn’t separate those guys. Playing with Ritchie on the left-wing adds another big body and net-front presence to that second-line.
Once Krejci returns from injury, he can slot in as the third-line center and play alongside his former second-line wing, Jake DeBrusk. The two of them have also had good chemistry in the past, so having them on the third line could produce more depth scoring that the Bruins are always looking for. Using this time, with all the injuries to experiment with Coyle being your second-line center, could be good for the Bruins moving forward. If things don’t work out for Coyle, then once Krejci returns, he can go back to his second-line center role, and Coyle returns to the third-line. Experimenting is sometimes good, and Cassidy likes to shuffle his lines, and now is the best time to do that.