The Bruins have lost seven of their past eight games and are stuck in a rut where they are playing well below their typical standard of play.
There are many reasons behind it all, most of which boil down to the lack of anybody pushing them in their own divisional race right now with the B's still double-digits ahead of everybody else. With that in mind, Bruce Cassidy has decided to shake things up a bit in his lineup among his forwards with just two games remaining until the Christmas holiday break.
The Bruins will host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night at TD Garden and Cassidy has opted to make healthy scratches of David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom. Cassidy said he wasn't trying to make an example of a pair of veteran fourth-line forwards that typically bring energy and effort every night, but instead was trying to get his team's attention while they are amidst one heck of a malaise.
"Those guys have been working hard, Lindholm and Ritchie. When they've been in there at times they've done well and at times we've replaced them. Backes and Nordstrom are coming out tonight and Monday we'll worry about them," said Cassidy. "But sometimes it's a way to get certain players' attention and this is a bit of that. We're not at the standard we want to be. Certainly, I'm not putting it all on David Backes and Nordstrom, but maybe you've got to rotate players through.
"You still need to eat pucks when it's your turn to eat a puck. You've got to put out fires when it's your turn to put out a fire. We're not going to be perfect and we're not going to execute 100 percent. We're going to break down. Our system is designed for help. It's not man-to-man all over the ice. A little bit of that could be blocking a shot or putting yourself in harm's way a little bit. Then at the offensive end, I don't think we're generating consistently by getting our nose dirty or getting inside. We need to start getting back to that style of play."
So whose attention in Cassidy trying to get?
Well, the production of Pastrnak (No goals in seven of the 10 games played in December, and just four overall this month after scoring an even dozen in both October and November) has certainly tailed off a bit in recent weeks and Charlie McAvoy is still looking for his first goal of the season with Christmas right around the corner.
The Bruins will also stick with Connor Clifton on the back end after he returned to the lineup for the Thursday night loss to the Islanders, so it will be strictly among the forwards that the B's go looking to spark a different outcome in this game. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings against the Predators based on the morning skate Saturday:
Cassidy makes Bruins lineup changes 'as a way to get some players' attention' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston