Luckily for Jake DeBrusk and the Boston Bruins, Saturday’s late scratch was nothing serious.
DeBrusk was pulled out of the lineup less than two hours before Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers due to COVID-19 protocols. However, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy revealed Monday that DeBrusk had a false positive that caused him to miss the game. The forward will be back in the lineup Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins hope DeBrusk can pick up where he left off last week. The message appeared to get through to the winger after Boston sat him down as a healthy scratch Tuesday night against the Islanders. DeBrusk responded two nights later with a goal in his return against the Rangers, only to sit out Saturday’s loss with the COVID scare.
DeBrusk will be back on the second line, to the left of David Krejci, and they’ll be joined by a new third. Cassidy is moving Craig Smith up to the second line in the hopes of getting him going. After scoring at least 18 goals in each of his last three seasons, the shot-heavy Smith has found the net just four times in 24 games.
It also appears Tuukka Rask is on the road back to the Boston net. Rask, who hasn’t played since March 7 due to injury, made the trip and skated with the taxi squad Monday. With the Bruins looking at a back-to-back in Pittsburgh, either Dan Vladar or Jeremy Swayman is expected to start Tuesday in order to give Jaroslav Halak a breather.
Steven Kampfer will draw back into the lineup Monday night, skating alongside Jarred Tinordi on the back end.
Here are the projected lines and defensive pairings for Bruins-Penguins.
BOSTON BRUINS (14-7-4, 32 points)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie — Charlie Coyle — Anders Bjork
Trent Frederic — Sean Kuraly — Karson Kuhlman
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Jakub Zboril — Connor Clifton
Jarred Tinordi — Steven Kampfer
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (17-9-1, 35 points)
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Evan Rodrigues — Evgeni Malkin — Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tianev
Colton Sceviour — Mark Jankowski — Anthony Angello
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Michael Matheson — Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson — Chad Ruhwedel