Bruins

With Patrice Bergeron nearing return for Bruins, could a major lineup shuffle be in the works?

Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s the tough call that Bruce Cassidy has been waiting to fall on his docket for most of the 2018-19 campaign.

With a full lineup in front, do the Bruins have the luxury to break up their vaunted top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak?

With Bergeron inching closer and closer to a return from a rib/sternoclavicular injury, decision day may be coming to a head very soon for Boston’s bench boss.

Bergeron, who hasn’t suited up in a contest since going down with his ailment on Nov. 16, skated on Sunday morning ahead of Boston’s matchup with the Sabres and has been spotted ahead of the team’s morning practices at Warrior Ice Arena last week.

With the Bruins set to play Monday against Montreal and Tuesday being a set off day for the club, Cassidy noted that there’s a good chance No. 37 could be back out on the ice with his teammates at Warrior for the next scheduled practice.

“I think Bergy will practice with us,” Cassidy said. “So Wednesday, I would anticipate that he’s got a good chance. But again, we’ve got a few days before then, but we’re hoping he skates with the team by Wednesday. Whether that means he plays Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, I don’t know. At least he’s one step closer.”

While secondary scoring issues have been a prevalent problem for most of the year, a new makeshift top line with David Krejci at the pivot between Marchand and Pastrnak has alleviated some of the club’s worries about a stalled top-six unit.

There’s no doubting that the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line (56.46 5v5 Corsi-For Percentage, 3.88 goals for per 60 minutes) is a terrifying trio when firing on all cylinders.

But the new Krejci triumvirate isn’t too shabby either.

In a little over 84 minutes of 5v5 TOI together, Boston’s new top line has excelled, averaging an abused 4.97 goals per 60 minutes and a 52.87 CF%. While the Bergeron line has tallied 13 5v5 goals in 201 minutes of ice time, the Krejci trio has lit the lamp seven times in less than half the amount of time — while only being out on the ice for two goals against, as opposed to 10 for the Bergeron line.

So, what say you, Cassidy?