The Boston Bruins have evened the series at 2-2 with their 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The win featured a lineup change by Bruce Cassidy that should force the Leafs to rethink their strategy for the fifth game.
Bruce Cassidy Lineup Changes Crucial in Boston Bruins Game 4 Win
The major move Cassidy made was putting David Pastrnak on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Taking Pastrnak off the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins a powerful two lines instead of one loaded one that the Leafs proved they could shut down.
Pastrnak ended up making his way back onto a line with Marchand and Bergeron, but the Bruins showed that they have options with their best skaters.
The move was also successful because it got Pastrnak back into the goal column. Through the first three games in last year’s series against the Leafs, he had four goals and five assists. Going into Wednesday’s game, he only had one assist all series.
Whatever the reason is for him playing better on Wednesday, the result was two goals in a tight game.
Another player who showed signs of breaking out this series is Charlie McAvoy. While he plays defense, he has always had an offensive mind. He put it on display for Game 4 as he scored the game’s opening goal three minutes in.
His goal sparked the second one, which came just over three minutes later. His primary assist on it earned him his second point of the night.
McAvoy very clearly wants to be someone the Bruins can trust when the puck is on his stick. It’s evident in his game that he is capable of making plays, but also understands when to do so. McAvoy has the third most shots from a defencemen this series, so when the puck ends up on his stick, he’s generating chances.
His two points in Game 4 are his only ones this series, but they came at a valuable time and could very likely continue for the rest of the series.
Tuukka Rask is no stranger to receiving a lot of blame when the Bruins lose. But in Game 4, he stopped 38 of 42 shots. The lone goal he probably should have stopped was the second period one by Auston Matthews that found its way under his glove-side arm.
His leg stop against Connor Brown later that period surely made up for that though. The other three goals he allowed were from shots that somehow found their way in through heavy traffic, which would not make him primarily responsible.
Tuukka Rask denies Connor Brown. pic.twitter.com/GpxO52fl2v
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 18, 2019
What’s Next for Boston
The Bruins will be at home for the next game of the series on Friday. Six goals and a win in a tight series looks great, but Boston still has two more games to win. So Cassidy may still need to re-evaluate next game’s lineup if he wants to outwit Toronto.
Main Image Credit: