Noel Acciari, after missing four games with an upper-body injury, is available to return to action for the Boston Bruins.
But when the puck drops for Game 3 of the B’s Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, Acciari will be among the healthy scratches.
Many figured that Acciari, once cleared, would slot right back into the lineup, presumably in place of Chris Wagner or David Backes. But in the time those two have been in and Acciari has been out, the Bruins have done nothing but win, and that includes a couple pretty decisive victories over the Canes.
Tuesday morning, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy explained his decision to leave Acciari out.
“Coach’s decision today. He’s gonna be out,” Cassidy said, via Bruins.com. “We’re gonna stick with the same group. Part of that is we like how we’ve played, part of it is it give Noel a little extra time. He’s cleared but we’ll give him the extra two days and we’ll evaluate then.
“I think Backes and Wagner both bring some of what Noel does, so we’re OK there. Noel does a little more on the penalty kill, so we have to make sure that we’re up to speed there. But at the end of the day those other guys have fit in well so we’re gonna stick with it.”
With Acciari out, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Wagner will continue to serve as the fourth line. That group has worked well, a promising sign after it took Wagner some time to get going this postseason. And with Acciari now available, Cassidy will have plenty of flexibility going forward to shuffle the lines if/when needed.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images