Bruce Cassidy Praises De Facto Second Line After Bruins’ Shootout Loss

'The Coyle line has produced'


Feb 16, 2022

During a time when the Bruins are without two of their top-line players in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, the de facto second line has shined.

That trend continued Tuesday during Boston’s 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Coyle scored the lone goal and added an assist with a nifty move in the B’s 2-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

The temporary top line of David Pastrnak, Erik Haula and Taylor Hall certainly had their opportunities, but between being a bit pass-happy and Igor Shesterkin being a brick wall between the pipes, they were unable to generate much the last two games.

“One of the lines that was expected to score from us has dried up a little,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the game, per team-provided audio. “Some of that is their lack of willingness to shoot. They’re trying to make plays every time. When they work, it’s great. When they don’t, you’ve let some opportunities on the table.”

But for what the top line lacked, Coyle’s line with Trent Frederic and Craig Smith picked up and they earned some high praise from their head coach after the game.

“Well, they’ve been good. They’ve been our best line,” Cassidy said. “Frederic, Coyle and Smitty, are a little of the opposite (of Hall, Haula and Pastrnak), right? The first goal is a good example. (The puck is) on and off Smitty’s stick and they’re going to the net and getting a second chance. In Ottawa, they scored that way the other night. So they play a little more of a straight line in that regard, and they’ve been good for us. … The Coyle line has produced.”

The hope is that Bergeron will return to the lineup Thursday when the Bruins take on the New York Islanders. As for Marchand, he’s set to appeal his six-game suspension Wednesday.

It’s worth wondering if Cassidy will keep Coyle, Smith and Frederic together when the team gets healthy again. Cassidy is no stranger to switching up the lines, and it might be worth sticking to what’s working, especially with the Detroit Red Wings trying to gain ground on the Bruins for fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Thumbnail photo via Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports Images
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