There's been some talk about just how seriously the Bruins are taking these round-robin games.
Are they really treating them like playoff games they want to win and play with playoff intensity? Or are they treating them like more exhibition games and focusing more on figuring out their lines and working on some stuff and not really worrying about the results just yet?
The truth is probably somewhere in between, but make no mistake: coach Bruce Cassidy wants to see a much better effort than what the Bruins have put forth so far. When they hit the ice Wednesday at 4 p.m. for their second round-robin game against the Lightning, he wants to see the Bruins that won the Presidents' Trophy in the regular season.
"Sixty minutes of Bruins hockey, 65 if need be, today is what we’re targeting," Cassidy said. "Hopefully that results in a win. ... We’re looking for that 60-minute effort. We got 20 minutes the other night, first period, good start, played our game, then got away from it in the second period."
So what goes into that more complete game?
"Our puck management has to improve from the other night," Cassidy said. "Not shooting ourselves in the foot. Taking the plays that are there. And then offensively, we need to generate more. Some of that will be a shot mentality. Some of that is shaking the rust off. Some of that is having a little more purpose in our game, willing to attack the net. Execute better all over the ice I think is the big thing we’re looking for now.
"This will be our third game, and by then you hope the players start to regain some of their individual skill level. So I guess in a nutshell, 60 minutes, let’s see our execution improve, let’s see our puck management improve. I think the passion will be there. Tampa and us always have good, solid games, so hopefully that alone will make us better."
Tuukka Rask will start in goal after missing Sunday's game while being quarantined due to a cough. Nick Ritchie also draws into the lineup after missing Sunday's game, with Jack Studnicka coming out. Ondrej Kase will not play Wednesday, but Cassidy said he is on track to play Sunday in the Bruins' round-robin finale against the Capitals.
Cassidy confirmed that Ritchie will start on a line with David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman, while Jake DeBrusk moves to a line with Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork, which is where he's practiced the last couple days. Cassidy said those lines could very well be shuffled during the game.
On the other side, the Lightning will be without Steven Stamkos, who is working his way back from a leg injury.
Here is the projected Bruins lineup for Wednesday:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David PastrnakNick Ritchie - David Krejci - Karson KuhlmanAnders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Jake DeBruskJoakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoyTorey Krug - Brandon CarloMatt Grzelcyk - Jeremy Lauzon
Tuukka RaskJaroslav Halak