The Boston Bruins are slipping, but don’t expect their even-keeled coach to start overreacting.
The Bruins on Wednesday fell to the NHL’s top team, the Washington Capitals, 3-2 in the first leg of a road back-to-back. It was the fourth straight defeat for the Bruins, who aim to get back on track Thursday when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Though not the wagon they were last season, the Lightning still present a big test for the Bruins, who lost the only other meeting between the two teams earlier this season in a shootout.
Despite Boston sputtering, Bruce Cassidy isn’t about to just start shuffling things. After all, the Bruins still are the second-best team in the NHL and have a 10-point cushion atop the Atlantic Division standings.
The Bruins will keep their forward lines the same as Wednesday, meaning Brett Ritchie stays on the second trio with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, while the first, third and fourth lines remain as they typically are.
John Moore, who sat against the Capitals, will draw back into the lineup against the Bolts, replacing Connor Clifton on the third pairing. The plan always was for Moore and Clifton to each play one game during the back-to-back, and it was Clifton who skated in D.C.
The only other change for the Bruins will be Tuukka Rask taking over in net for Jaroslav Halak. Andrei Vasilevskiy will be in net for the hosts.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (20-6-6)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Brett Ritchie
Anders Bjork–Charlie Coyle–Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom–Sean Kuraly–Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug–Brandon Carlo
John Moore–Matt Grzelcyk
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (15-11-3)
Ondrej Palat–Brayden Point–Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn–Anthony Cirelli–Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon–Cedric Paquette–Yanni Gourde
Carter Verhaeghe–Mitchell Stephens–Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman–Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh–Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev–Kevin Shattenkirk