Bruins shuffle lineup ahead of pivotal Game 4 vs. Lightning


    The Bruins are making some lineup adjustments headed into a pivotal Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

    The B’s will go back to their normal 12 forwards/six defensemen makeup and insert Karson Kuhlman and Connor Clifton in against the Lightning on Saturday. Kuhlman hasn’t played in over two weeks dating to Game 2 of the Carolina series and Clifton was a healthy scratch in the blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3. 

    Sean Kuraly is out for the second straight game with an undisclosed injury and is “day-to-day,” according to head coach Bruce Cassidy. 

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    The move to take Clifton out of the lineup was a bit of a head scratcher given that he’s been one of Boston’s more effective defensemen in the physicality and offense department and has the only goal among Bruins defensemen this postseason.

    Kuhlman will skate on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie and will effectively replace Anders Bjork among the forward group.

    More importantly, the Bruins are making some adjustments on the penalty kill after they were dinged for three power play goals in Game 3 following a Tampa adjustment that switched Nikita Kucherov to the opposite side of the ice. 

    “We addressed what happened [in Game 3]. Yesterday was about our neutral zone defense,” said Cassidy. “I think they’re getting through there too easily and we have to be more in sync as a five-man unit. Obviously offensively they make it tough to get inside originally, but you have to get inside for those second and third chance opportunities. 

    “This morning we touched on a couple of things. We don’t want to overthink things and just go out there and play hockey.”

    Here’s the expected lineup for Game 4, which begins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network: 

    The Lightning carried the momentum of their 7-1 Game 3 rout into Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Bruins, scoring the first three goals Saturday to cruise to a 3-1 win and take a commanding 3-1 series lead after dropping the series opener.

    Ondrej Palat struck first with a goal midway through the first period, then added his second goal of the game at the 12:29 mark of the second frame. Victor Hedman’s power play goal with under two minutes to play in the second period was the back-breaker for Boston, which now has been outscored 10-2 over its last two games.

    Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

    The Lightning would have had an earlier lead if not for this beauty of a save by Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

    A brutal turnover by the Bruins and a defensive breakdown in front of the net led to Palat’s first goal.

    Lightning S T R I K E S ⚡️The @TBLightning break the ice in Game 4. NBC | @HockeyvilleUSA

    Anthony Cerelli set up Palat for a beauty of a one-timer that whistled past Halak’s extended glove in the second period to give Tampa Bay a two-goal lead.

    Lightning S T R I K E S ⚡️The @TBLightning break the ice in Game 4. NBC | @HockeyvilleUSA

    Nick Ritchie earned a five-minute major penalty for this ugly hit on Yanni Gourde, who remained on the ice for some time before slowly skating off.

    The Lightning capitalized on the penalty thanks to a little puck luck when Hedman’s shot from the blue line deflected off Ondrej Kase’s skate and looped over Halak to make it 3-0.

    Jake DeBrusk’s power play goal in the third period was too little too late for the Bruins.

    UP NEXTThe Lightning can send the Bruins packing in Game 5, which begins Monday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. ET.

    Before the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning resumed their second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series Saturday, they took a moment to reflect on why they paused in the first place.

    Prior to Game 4 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the NHL played a 90-second video on the Jumbotron with the message « Black Lives Matter » urging its players to confront racism in America.

    Following the video, Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each issued pre-recorded messages promoting social justice and equality.

    Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

    « It was amazing to see everyone coming together and realizing this is bigger than sports, » Bergeron said, referring to NHL teams’ decision to postpone play for two days following the shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer Sunday in Kenosha, Wis.

    « It’s about human rights. It’s about supporting our Black players and being for them and realizing there needs to be change. We want to be part of that change going forward, so this is just the beginning, » Bergeron added, while stressing the need for « actions » in addition to reflections and conversations about racism in America.

    « We want to continue to use our platform to show that we stand together with all of our players of color and to continue to show that we’re going to be better, » Marchand said. « We’re going to continue to show our support. This is only the start. This is the beginning of a lot of change. »

    Bergeron and Marchand spoke at length Friday about social justice in America being « bigger than hockey, » so it’s no surprise to see the veteran leaders represent the Bruins in continuing the conversation.




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