Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on Saturday told reporters that Craig Smith is questionable with what he called a “nagging injury,” while also detailing why he moved the winger to the third line and Tomas Nosek up to the second with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle.
“Smitty wasn’t 100% throughout the game, I just felt like he was off a little bit,” Cassidy said. “I think he’s dealing with a bit of a nagging injury that we’re trying to work through. So, I think Nosek, talking with some people that have coached him, he’s had the ability to move up and play with good players up in the lineup.
“We want to keep Hall and Coyle trying to develop some chemistry there, obviously there’s something we feel that we can try to work with, give them a fair chance. So just pushing them to the wing still keeps them together (and) gives them a guy in the middle, frees up Charlie, less responsibility, defensively. I think Nosek will do that no matter who he plays with, that’s part, part of his DNA, part of how he is a good player in this league and needs to play to stay in this league as to be that guy. So that was the thinking.”
Hall and Coyle look strong together on the second line and have complemented each other well in the three games they’ve played alongside each other. So while it’s probably safe to say Hall and Coyle won’t be shuffled around, the same can’t be said about the other lines — especially now that there are injuries involved.
“I’ve liked Nosek’s game, his ability to make plays in tight areas,” Cassidy said. “I think he’s a pretty direct north-south player. I think wingers, when you have some high-end skill, sometimes that’s a better fit for them. I know that (Patrice Bergeron) has really complimented (Brad Marchand) and (David Pastrnak) because that’s the way he plays, and Nosek does playing straight line so maybe they’ll find their game a little easier that way then overpassing. It worked for one game and they made a good play in the rush had a couple other good chances and see where it leads. Some of that will be injury-dependent as well.”
Fans will have to wait and see how the lines look Sunday in wake of the injuries, but they likely will see Jack Studnicka for the first time this year.
Puck drop for Bruins-Sharks from TD Garden is set for 1 p.m. ET.