When the Bruins (finally) get back on the ice Saturday night, they will do so with some different-looking defense pairs.
Boston will go with Jakub Zboril and Mike Reilly when it takes on the Philadelphia Flyers, meaning Connor Clifton will be a healthy scratch. Reilly was the odd man out for the Bruins’ last two games but figured to slot back in sooner rather than later.
Clifton has struggled on the blue line, so now it’s his turn to sit.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to perform every night consistently,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters Friday after morning skate. “I think Cliffy is still battling through some of that, even in-game. Example the other night (against the Montreal Canadiens), has some big, physical moments, breaks up a 2-on-1, but also goes diving down in a situation that now we’re chasing the game.
“At the end of the day, Zboril goes in, does his job, moves the puck a little bit, a little more dynamic offensively, yet still solid defensively, so he shouldn’t get frozen out either. There’s that to balance.”
Benching Clifton isn’t necessarily Cassidy sending a message, but rather a battle between two younger blueliners.
“Mike was a little bit more of a message, I’ll be the first one to tell you that,” Cassidy said. “I would assume he hopefully gets it and gets to his level and stays in the lineup every night. That was the plan. The other guys are less farther along in their careers so it’s a little bit more of a battle for the other two.”
Reilly, Zboril and the rest of the Bruins will end their five-day layoff Saturday against the Flyers. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET.