Bruce Cassidy Explains Why Ryan Donato Likely Won’t Play In Game 7

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April 24, 2018

The Boston Bruins have not seen Ryan Donato on the ice since Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it seems that it’s going to stay that way for now.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy said they’ve considered playing Donato, but nothing is “set in stone” ahead of Boston’s  Game 7 matchup against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden.

“He played a (playoff) game earlier. He was OK. He wasn?t bad, he wasn?t great, he was somewhere in between,” Cassidy told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Ty Anderson. “Whatever we decide tomorrow (for Game 7) ? it?s not set in stone, we looked at some things today ? [but] there is a certain level of trust you have in your players that have gotten you this far, and Danton Heinen is one of those who?s played really well for us.”

Since the power play has gone 1-for-9 since Game 3, it might make sense to slide in Donato, who had five goals in 12 games for the B’s in the regular season, with four of those tallies coming on the power play. But after making Heinen a healthy scratch for Game 6, Cassidy is giving the 22-year-old another chance to produce on the ice, and he possibly could make an impact quickly, as he’s projected to be on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

“The playoffs? you look at (Heinen’s) numbers, that line hasn?t produced a lot five-on-five so what can we could do better? He?s still a good defensive player, he?s always going to give us that,” Cassidy said, per Anderson. “He can play up the lineup; he had success going down (the lineup) with Kuraly. Rick Nash we can certainly move back with Krejci, that?s an easy fix. Danton has played right wing. And that?s where Ryan ? is right now in our estimation, probably strictly a left-winger ? so that?s where the juggling comes in if we?re gonna use Ryan.”

Cassidy noted Donato isn’t completely ruled out of playing in Game 7 saying, “It?s just we?re gonna try to play the 12 best forwards, see how the pieces fit, and win a hockey game tomorrow. He may or may not be part of that.”

Boston has an optional morning skate Wednesday prior to Game 7.

Thumbnail photo via James Carey Lauder/USA TODAY Sports Images
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