Monday brought a much needed practice opportunity for the Boston Bruins in Pittsburgh. With scheduled and rescheduled games nearly every other day, players have required more rest between games, pushing full practices to the side. Bruce Cassidy saw a chance to work on the power play during the morning skate, a power play that has only hit 3 times on it’s last 31. That’s not great.
Mostly it seems that he wanted to get Taylor Hall acclimated to being on PP2 doing the kind of work he does best from the half boards.
“That’ll be certainly one of the highest priorities,” Cassidy said of working on the power play during Monday’s practice. “The problem when you don’t practice — so obviously Taylor Hall is a good power-play guy. So where does he best fit? Without any practice, there’s some difficulty there. So we’ve kind of tried to stay true to that number one unit. We put Taylor on it one of the games just for a different look. But until he practices, even with Krech’s group, in either elbow …. He has some one timers with Charlie up top, Smitty and Krech through the seam. A lot of his good power-play work was done on his strong side elbow, kind of coming downhill like Matthews does in Toronto on his strong side with that wrister, so we first started him there. Krech had been on the other side. So it was easiest sort of placement, but we really haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get him reps and then the other group — sort of revisit some of the issues they’ve had and just get back to basics.
“I was on the half wall on my strong side and I think it was good,” Hall said of his spot during Monday’s practice. “When you run into a bit of a wall on the power play, it’s important to get different looks to simplify things a bit. I think when Krech and I are on our one-timer sides, I think it just really makes it easier to shoot and create chances from the middle of the ice. On the other side, you have a tendency to overpass and really stay on the outside and you have zone time, but maybe not the chances that you want — the high-danger chances. So yeah, it was good today. I mean, it’s hard. This year has been so weird, not having practice time, not having even really proper days off or anything like that. So to get a practice in today is huge and hopefully that benefits us.”
In other news, Cassidy tried some other looks for the third and fourth lines to get them jumping. It’s been no secret that Charlie Coyle has been having a bad year. Now saddled with a still slumping Jake DeBrusk on his left and the still unknown quantity of Nick Ritchie on his right, he’s having an even harder go of it. So, he’s been moved over to right wing on the third line with Sean Kuraly centering him. Maybe taking some responsibility off his shoulders will help him to shoot rather than pass.
#NHLBruins practice lines:
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Krejci – Smith
Ritchie – Kuraly – Coyle/DeBrusk
Frederic – Lazar – Wagner/Kuhlman
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Reilly – Kampfer
Lauzon – Clifton
Tinordi – Zboril
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 26, 2021
The fourth line will also see Trent Frederic back on the LW. Chris Wagner platooned with Karson Kuhlman at RW. No matter what the lines look like, the team definitely needs some jump tonight because they cannot afford to lose.
For some reason, the NHL added another huge manatee game to the Bruins schedule. Well, it’s a game that was already scheduled, they just moved up the time. Take note.
START TIME CHANGES:
Game 854: @NYRangers at @NHLBruins on May 8 will now begin at 3 p.m. ET
Game 858: @BuffaloSabres at @penguins on May 8 will now begin at 3 p.m. EThttps://t.co/YeJdxkUWmr pic.twitter.com/IyExkhQsbg
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 26, 2021
I guess we’ll be able to Zoom that night without a game after all.