The Bruins have come face-to-face with a runaway train at a pretty bad time.
Boston, which has lost three of its last four games, is in Tampa on Thursday for a tilt with the Lightning, who sit atop the NHL with 43 points.
After an abysmal showing Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy shook up the lineup during Wednesday’s practice, and is expected to roll with those changes against the Bolts.
Joakim Nordstrom will move up to the second line — which was a move that worked out well earlier in the season. Sean Kuraly and David Backes will hop up to the third trio alongside Danton Heninen, while Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Noel Acciari will occupy the fourth line. Chris Wagner will be a healthy scratch.
CHarlie McAvoy, whooy was activated from injured reserve Thursday, will skate on the second pairing with John Moore. Torey Krug will join Brandon Carlo on the first defensive pairing, with Steven Kampfer skating alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the third group. Jeremy Lauzon is the healthy scratch, while Connor Clifton was sent back to Providence as a result of the McAvoy activation.
Tuukka Rask will start in goal for the Bruins, while Louis Domingue is expected to go for Tampa.
Here are the projected lines and defense pairings for Thursday night’s Bruins-Lightning game.
BOSTON BRUINS (14-9-4)
Brad Marchand — Colby Cave — David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom — David Krejci — Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen — Sean Kuraly — David Backes
Ryan Donato — Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson — Noel Acciari
Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo
John Moore — Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk — Steven Kampfer
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (21-7-1)
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Yanni Gourde
Tyler Johnson — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — J.T. Miller
Mathieu Joseph — Cedric Paquette — Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman — Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn — Mikhail Sergachev
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images