Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy anticipates getting Hampus Lindholm back in the lineup Thursday night for Game 6 against the Hurricanes after the big defenseman missed the last three games.
Lindholm was hit hard by Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov in Game 2, exiting in the second period. Lindholm skated at Warrior Ice Arena Wednesday morning and Cassidy appeared optimistic about Lindholm’s return with the Bruins facing elimination, but he noted the team will make the final call on Thursday morning.
“He should be good to go,” Cassidy said. “We’ll have a decision to make at the back, and all of those we’ll make [Thursday]. We’ll start with Lindholm, and that has a domino effect on the other ones.”
If Lindholm reenters the fray, someone must be dropped from the defense corps. With the way Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton have played, Cassidy said he’d be keeping them in. So, the decision would come down to Matt Grzelcyk or Mike Reilly.
“I think they’ve been really good in this series for the most part as a pair that play their 15-16 minutes,” Cassidy said of Forbort and Clifton. “I thought they did a really good job in Game 4 with a little bit extra on their plate … For what they’ve been asked to do, they’ve delivered.”
Reilly slotted into the lineup after Lindholm went down, playing Games 3, 4, and 5. In Game 5, Reilly played 17 minutes with four shots on goal and four blocked shots. Grzelcyk was not at his best Tuesday night, taking two penalties (hooking, high-sticking) and ending the night with two more penalties than shots on goal.
“Gryz just has to find his legs and find a little bit of his dynamic part of his game,” Cassidy said. “Defensively, he got himself in the box. That’s typically not Gryz, he’s not a guy that’s in there much.”
Swayman to start
Jeremy Swayman will be back in net for Game 6 at TD Garden, Cassidy said. The rookie stepped up with two strong performances in Boston in Games 3 and 4 but struggled early Tuesday night, particularly on Carolina’s first goal. But Cassidy felt he improved as the game went on, and he’ll put Swayman back in the crease Thursday night.
It’s hard to picture a scenario where, if Swayman wins Game 6, Cassidy opts to go back to Linus Ullmark for Game 7. The Bruins are taking things one game at a time, but Swayman appears to be the goalie for the remainder of this series, be that for two games or just one.
The Hurricanes have scored first every time they’ve faced the Bruins this season, including all five games in this series. Despite that, the Bruins won Games 3 and 4 at home, in part because they were able to halt Carolina’s early momentum.
In Game 3, Charlie Coyle’s shorthanded tally late in the first period ignited the TD Garden crowd after Vincent Trocheck had put the Hurricanes ahead midway through the frame. Patrice Bergeron stalled Carolina’s momentum in Game 4, tying it just two minutes after Brett Pesce had put the Hurricanes ahead.
The Bruins had the chance to do the same in Game 5. Just a minute after Jaccob Slavin scored for Carolina, Brad Marchand found himself with the puck all alone in front of Antti Raanta. But Raanta got his glove arm up and robbed Marchand.
“If he scores there, it’s a 1-1 game and we take a little bit of energy out of their building. Great save,” Cassidy said. “It’s a good move by March, it really is. It’s a good save. That’s our leading scorer against their guy right there. It could tilt the game a little bit back toward us and we settle down and play, but they get a lot of energy from timely saves.”
Five minutes later, Tony DeAngelo scored to make it 2-0.
Hurricanes rookie Seth Jarvis imposed himself Tuesday night with two goals, eight shots on goal, four hits, and a one-timer that rang the pipe moments before DeAngelo’s goal.
Sure, Jarvis’s goal in the second period was fluky, bouncing off Jake DeBrusk’s skate and popping over Swayman’s shoulder. But Jarvis got to the dirty areas, and his performance drew compliments from Cassidy.
“I give him credit for being around the front of the net,” Cassidy said. “He’s not a big guy, Jarvis, but he found a way to get to the net-front, and that’s effective playoff hockey.”
After scoring 40 points in the regular season, Jarvis has four (three goals, one assist) in his first five playoff games.