The Bruins will have pasta on the menu for tonight's lone exhibition game in the Toronto bubble against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After practicing every day this week with the Bruins following a nearly two-week long absence from Phase 3 training camp, David Pastrnak will be in the lineup for the Bruins in their only tune-up ahead of the postseason.
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The Bruins will get three round-robin games beginning Sunday against the Flyers to truly get ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it makes sense to be feeding Pastrnak as many repetitions as possible to really ramp the NHL's leading goal scorer up to speed.
There was some question if Pastrnak would be in sufficient condition to skate in an NHL exhibition, but by all accounts he was in excellent shape and ready to go earlier this week even after spending nearly an entire month in quarantine.
"Pasta is going to play," said Cassidy of the B's right winger who scored an NHL-best 48 goals during the regular season and shared the Rocket Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin. "Tuukka is going to start. He certainly won't play the whole game. It will probably be some kind of split game with Jaroslav Halak playing the other half of [the game].
"The biggest question [at this point] is when Kase and Ritchie are in the lineup, how do they best fit? We're going to have to learn that one quickly and on the fly. There will be some juggling in that regard right into the first round of the playoffs and beyond. The biggest thing we'll have to be looking at is personnel and it's a continuation of where we were at in March."
Pastrnak will skate on his customary spot on the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and at his integral spot on the top power play unit, so it should be business as usual for No. 88 once the puck is dropped.
Otherwise, Cassidy said that he'll play 13 forwards and 7 defensemen during the game with Karson Kuhlman and John Moore registering as the extra players. It's expected that Jack Studnicka, Anders Bjork and Kuhlman are all going to rotate at right wing on the second and third lines as the Bruins figure out what to do during Ondrej Kase's extended absence.
Meanwhile, Bruins power forward Nick Ritchie skated for the first time since Phase 3 training camp back in Boston, but he won't be playing on Thursday against the Blue Jackets. Here are the expected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Blue Jackets:
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Jake DeBrusk||David Krejci||Jack Studnicka|
|Sean Kuraly||Charlie Coyle||Anders Bjork|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Par Lindholm||Chris Wagner|
David Pastrnak set to play tonight for the Bruins vs. Blue Jackets originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston