How Bruce Cassidy Plans To Handle First Line With Patrice Bergeron Out

The Boston Bruins’ first line has been a dominant force this season, torching opponents by scoring nearly every game. But that line took a massive hit when center Patrice Bergeron suffered a rib and shoulder injury earlier this month.

Bergeron’s injury has forced head coach Bruce Cassidy to shake up the lines quite a bit, with Anders Bjork, Colby Cave and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson seeing ice time with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. The chemistry Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron possess can’t be matched, and Cassidy knows this.

The Bruins still are a few weeks away from getting Bergeron back, and Cassidy noted he’ll continue to shuffle up that first line. That said, he liked how Cave performed with the veterans after Forsbacka Karlsson failed to impress against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I didn’t like his compete (against the Leafs),” Cassidy said, via NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. “We’ve talked about this. He needs to bring it every night if he wants to play with (Marchand and Pastrnak). The other night it was Sidney Crosby, (against Toronto) it was John Tavares. It’s a big ask. I’ve said it too. We weren’t sure if he was ready to be moved up, and we saw something we liked so we moved him up.

“(Against Toronto) we didn’t see as much of it and we moved Colby up. JFK was a little more comfortable as a third line center. Going forward until we get Bergeron back it’s going to be a work in progress. I like how Cave responded. It’s his opportunity and he wants to take advantage of it, so he’s doing everything he can.”

Boston gets another look at Toronto on Dec. 8, so it’s likely Forsbacka Karlsson will want to prove himself to his coach before then. However, Cassidy seems to be comfortable inserting Cave into the top spot if JFK begins to struggle either before or during the game.

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images

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