The Bruins might have trailed in their best-of-seven series with the Toronto Maple Leafs heading into Wednesday night, but there was some solace to be found when the club took to the ice for warmups ahead of Game 4 at Scotiabank Arena.
Injuries have been a common occurrence with this Bruins club for most of the season, but a couple of returning regulars were poised to bring some much-needed equilibrium to the lineup — with Marcus Johansson skating on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, while John Moore logged pregame reps next to Matt Grzelcyk on the blue line.
Adding Johansson to the top six injected some additional scoring punch, but with the trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak sticking together during warmups, it looked as though Bruce Cassidy was going to hold true to his word from the following afternoon — and wait for the overdue top line to sort things out amongst themselves.
That appeared to be the plan ... well, at least for the first two minutes of warmups. Then, Cassidy called an audible.
“(I was) just told to warm up on (the third) line and then got put on Bergy and March’s line,” Danton Heinen said. “So it is what it is. It’s (Cassidy’s) stuff to think about and we just get ready to play with whoever we’re with.”
Sure enough, just minutes ahead of Game 4 against Toronto, Cassidy opted to put his lines in a blender — promoting Heinen up from the bottom six to the top line with Bergeron and Marchand, slotting Pastrnak down with Krejci and DeBrusk and bumping Johansson down to a third line with Charlie Coyle and David Backes.
Without the benefit of last change up in Toronto, Cassidy has had an uphill battle when it comes to finding the proper matchups for his big guns in Boston’s lineup — with the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line limited to zero points and just one high-danger scoring chance generated during Monday’s Game 3 loss.
Perhaps a last-second switcheroo could do the trick?
“Heinen has played with Bergy and March when Pasta was out for four, five weeks,” Cassidy said. “Did a good job out there, tailed off a little at the end. Not sure if Danton can sustain it at this point of his career — every night against top lines, against top teams.
"But he certainly does a nice job in spots. Pasta and Krech have played together, so it's just a different look. … Just moving some pieces around, hope it gives us a spark. Maybe makes them think. You never know it might affect how they do things.”
The reasoning was certainly there — but what about the results?