Why Bruce Cassidy Swapped David Pastrnak, Craig Smith In Bruins Win

'I just thought we were mismanaging pucks in the neutral zone'

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October 31, 2021

Bruce Cassidy never is afraid to shake up the Boston Bruins’ lines, and he did just that Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.

The head coach swapped David Pastrnak and Craig Smith, with the latter moving up to the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron while the former played with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall.

Cassidy moving Pastrnak to the second line has happened before in hopes to generate some offense, but this time it was clear the move was made in order to get the top line going. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Smith looked pretty solid in the 3-2 shootout win, but the new-look second line took a bit to get going.

After the game, Cassidy explained his reasoning for the change.

“I just thought we were mismanaging pucks in the neutral zone. It wasn’t necessarily anything Pasta (did.) Just the line has been a little bit quiet or snakebitten lately,” he told reporters. “So you try things to get more of a forechecking presence on there with Smitty, a guy that they know will go work and get pucks, because I thought that was the way we needed to play tonight. … It seemed like after the first, we were better.”

Pastrnak started the season hot with five points in the first four games, but has put up zeros in the Bruins’ last three.

Boston has four days off before its next game, and Cassidy isn’t sure if he’ll keep the lines the same or mix them up again.

“Who knows what it’ll look like Thursday,” Cassidy said. “We have a lot of time between now and then. We’ll see how it goes.”

The Bruins welcome the Detroit Red Wings to TD Garden on Thursday night.

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