Playoff Lineup

cshea

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There’s been some chatter in the past few game threads about the potential playoff lineup. Figured it was worthy of a thread.

The Bruins have 3 weeks to figure it out. They are likely playing Toronto. The lineup will obviously depend on health. Bergeron, Backes, Nash, Chara and Krug have been termed “day-to-day” so I would hope they’ll be OK relatively soon. The timeline the team has laid out for McAvoy seems to point to him being ready sometime before the playoffs. The only mystery is DeBrusk. Donato has played well through 2 games and they’ve got another 10 to decide if he’s playoff worthy.

Assuming health, my Game 1 lineup would be:

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk* - Krejci - Rick Nash
Donato - Riley Nash - Backes
Schaller - Kuraly - Heinen
Extras: Acciari, Wingels, Gionta

* If DeBrusk isn’t ready; Heinen to that spot, Acciari on the 4th line.

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Holden
Grzelcyk- Miller
Extras: Carlo, McQuaid, Postma

I’d like to get a bit of a look of the Krug - Holden pairing in the last 10 games. The only decision here is Carlo vs. Holden IMO.

Rask
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What do we think?
 

joe dokes

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I think that's about right. But is Heinen a good fit for the Kuraly line? He does brings skills that Acciari lacks, and that could balance out the loss of Acciari's hitting. Maybe it depends on the opponent.
All the injuries and in-season mixing also means that if somethings not working, there's a lot of room for in-game switching up.

I like that defense. And that roster.
 

TheRealness

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I would do the following if everyone is healthy:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Heinen- Riley Rash - Backes
Kuraly-Schaller-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Gryz - Miller

I would send Donato to Providence or keep him as a healthy scratch. However, I think you will see Donato with Krejci or Riley Nash if DeBrusk can't come back, or is too limited. Donato scored yesterday, but he looked off most of the game, and really didn't play that well, IMO. DeBrusk has been playing all year, and if healthy deserves the nod. Similarly, I prefer Heinen to Donato at this point. Finally, I would rather have the 4th line be grinders then put someone like Heinen or Donato there and upset the way they play together.

The defenseman seems like a no-brainer. Holden has been solid, but if everyone's health that is my six right there.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I would do the following if everyone is healthy:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Heinen- Riley Rash - Backes
Kuraly-Schaller-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Gryz - Miller

I would send Donato to Providence or keep him as a healthy scratch. However, I think you will see Donato with Krejci or Riley Nash if DeBrusk can't come back, or is too limited. Donato scored yesterday, but he looked off most of the game, and really didn't play that well, IMO. DeBrusk has been playing all year, and if healthy deserves the nod. Similarly, I prefer Heinen to Donato at this point. Finally, I would rather have the 4th line be grinders then put someone like Heinen or Donato there and upset the way they play together.

The defenseman seems like a no-brainer. Holden has been solid, but if everyone's health that is my six right there.
I'm 100% on board with this post. I think it's a great start point that can then be adjusted when injuries or ineffectiveness hit.
 

lexrageorge

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I would put Carlo above Holden on the depth chart; Carlo's play has improved lately, and he makes a good shutdown pairing with Chara in certain situations.

I don't see Heinen getting moved down to the 4th line; Cassidy has a lot of confidence in him, and he and Backes make a good pairing around Nash1.

And, oh heay, those "meh" depth trades that Sweeney made are looking better now, aren't they.
 

RedOctober3829

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I think Gionta has warranted a spot on the 4th line, but I won't quibble with what people have said. As others have said, they have the ability to mix and match based on how players are performing or who they're playing. It's a nice problem to have.
 

cshea

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Heinen sort of broke out when he was playing on the 4th line early in the season. I think he is a guy that would be fine playing that role- he’s responsible defensively, strong on the forecheck and along the wall. He’s got more skill than Acciari, so maybe he could provide some finishing down there. I think he’s better suited than Donato for the 4th line. The idea behind Donato being in the lineup would be to have a PP weapon. They can shelter him at 5x5 if needed.
 

FL4WL3SS

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The problem with putting Heinen on the 4th line is that you expect the bench to shorten in the playoffs. The 4th line will probably only see 6 minutes per game. I'd rather 3 really strong lines at the top.
 

Maximus

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There’s been some chatter in the past few game threads about the potential playoff lineup. Figured it was worthy of a thread.

The Bruins have 3 weeks to figure it out. They are likely playing Toronto. The lineup will obviously depend on health. Bergeron, Backes, Nash, Chara and Krug have been termed “day-to-day” so I would hope they’ll be OK relatively soon. The timeline the team has laid out for McAvoy seems to point to him being ready sometime before the playoffs. The only mystery is DeBrusk. Donato has played well through 2 games and they’ve got another 10 to decide if he’s playoff worthy.

Assuming health, my Game 1 lineup would be:

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk* - Krejci - Rick Nash
Donato - Riley Nash - Backes
Schaller - Kuraly - Heinen
Extras: Acciari, Wingels, Gionta

* If DeBrusk isn’t ready; Heinen to that spot, Acciari on the 4th line.

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Holden
Grzelcyk- Miller
Extras: Carlo, McQuaid, Postma

I’d like to get a bit of a look of the Krug - Holden pairing in the last 10 games. The only decision here is Carlo vs. Holden IMO.

Rask
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What do we think?
I agree with your lineup. If Debrusk isn't ready, Heinen to the 2nd line and I like Acciari on the 4th line. Maybe swap out Schaller for Gionta on the 4th line. Carlo has been a bit better lately but I'd still go with Holden to be paired with Krug, he's shown me more.
 

Saints Rest

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I would do the following if everyone is healthy:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Heinen- Riley Rash - Backes
Kuraly-Schaller-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Gryz - Miller

I would send Donato to Providence or keep him as a healthy scratch. However, I think you will see Donato with Krejci or Riley Nash if DeBrusk can't come back, or is too limited. Donato scored yesterday, but he looked off most of the game, and really didn't play that well, IMO. DeBrusk has been playing all year, and if healthy deserves the nod. Similarly, I prefer Heinen to Donato at this point. Finally, I would rather have the 4th line be grinders then put someone like Heinen or Donato there and upset the way they play together.

The defenseman seems like a no-brainer. Holden has been solid, but if everyone's health that is my six right there.
I think Donato just needs a game or two off to rest, watch, and reset.
 

joe dokes

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I think Donato just needs a game or two off to rest, watch, and reset.
He is probably quite fried at this point, and the debut adrenaline/momentum may have worn off after the Korea-Harvard-playoffs -Boston run. Even McAvoy had post-BU cup of coffee in Providence before playing 26 minutes a game in the playoffs last year.

That said, he *seems* as ready to play at this level as McAvoy turned out to be.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I think experience means more at this point, though. Meaning, I'd rather start off with guys that have played this season. Do they really need whatever extra offense Donato brings? The Bruins score plenty, so trying to fit Donato in just for good PP skills seems counterproductive. Let him sit initially and then bring him in if needed.
 

joe dokes

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I think experience means more at this point, though. Meaning, I'd rather start off with guys that have played this season. Do they really need whatever extra offense Donato brings? The Bruins score plenty, so trying to fit Donato in just for good PP skills seems counterproductive. Let him sit initially and then bring him in if needed.
Thats a very fair point.
Not to be overlooked is that the "good problems to have" results in a lot of players playing hard right to game 82, as they are trying to earn playoff ice time and keep it.
 

TheRealness

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I think experience means more at this point, though. Meaning, I'd rather start off with guys that have played this season. Do they really need whatever extra offense Donato brings? The Bruins score plenty, so trying to fit Donato in just for good PP skills seems counterproductive. Let him sit initially and then bring him in if needed.
This is certainly part of it, but we have an entire season of DeBrusk and Heinen to compare it to, and two games from Donato. Sure, the remainder of the games they play (assuming he plays) could move the needle for me, but for now if everyone is healthy I have him on the bench.

Still, Haggs was on today (yesterday?) on 98.5 saying he didn't feel DeBrusk was anywhere close to returning, so the Bruins may have that problem solved for them. In that case, I think you will see a fair amount of juggling of Heinen and Donato between the 2nd and 3rd lines.
 

FL4WL3SS

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This is certainly part of it, but we have an entire season of DeBrusk and Heinen to compare it to, and two games from Donato. Sure, the remainder of the games they play (assuming he plays) could move the needle for me, but for now if everyone is healthy I have him on the bench.

Still, Haggs was on today (yesterday?) on 98.5 saying he didn't feel DeBrusk was anywhere close to returning, so the Bruins may have that problem solved for them. In that case, I think you will see a fair amount of juggling of Heinen and Donato between the 2nd and 3rd lines.
Yeah I think we're on the same page.

It would be a pretty decent blow if DeBrusk is out, I think a Donato/Heinen combo gets you 75% of DeBrusk.
 

Jordu

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I would do the following if everyone is healthy:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Heinen- Riley Rash - Backes
Kuraly-Schaller-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Gryz - Miller
Same. Gionta and Donato and Wingels can be swapped in depending on how the first series develops (and if anyone gets hurt) or to match up with an opponent. The game gets faster and rougher in postseason and I don’t think that’s to Donato’s benefit. I agree the fourth line should be kept together, but I can see dressing Gionta in place of Schaller or Acciari for some games — Gionta can contribute on the PP.

Carlo is young and he makes mistakes, but he’s strong and 95 percent reliable.
 

RetractableRoof

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Same. Gionta and Donato and Wingels can be swapped in depending on how the first series develops (and if anyone gets hurt) or to match up with an opponent. The game gets faster and rougher in postseason and I don’t think that’s to Donato’s benefit. I agree the fourth line should be kept together, but I can see dressing Gionta in place of Schaller or Acciari for some games — Gionta can contribute on the PP.

Carlo is young and he makes mistakes, but he’s strong and 95 percent reliable.
Not to bash Carlo, but when he is "on" he might be that 95% reliable, when he is "off", he isn't close to that. It also depends on who he is paired with.
 

cshea

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I tend to air on the side of more offense when it comes to lineup decisions, hence Donato over Acciari. There’s an argument both ways.
 

timlinin8th

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Not to bash Carlo, but when he is "on" he might be that 95% reliable, when he is "off", he isn't close to that. It also depends on who he is paired with.
This is why I hesitate on Carlo, especially as the action speeds up. Also, I *loathe* the Krug/Carlo pairing. Their skillsets dont complement each other all that well. I’d put Krug with Miller (who had another really good season aside from when he was hurt) as that matches up Krug’s puck-moving abilities with Miller’s heavy style of D, and put Holden with Grz.

Can’t argue too much with the forward lines. A lot will be determined by DeBrusk’s health and how Donato plays in these last few games. If he gets points in even a few of them, and DeBrusk gets in healthy (something I doubt given the lack of updates - if he was close we’d be hearing it) then someone like Schaller or Acciari would be sitting.
 

lexrageorge

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Acciari has been particularly useful on the penalty kill, a fairly key element in the playoffs. I'm not sure Cassidy will be in a rush to sit him over Donato.

Carlo's usage will be interesting, who, for all the angst in this thread, is a +9 for the season. And a lot of his possession numbers are positive. Not sure he automatically sits for Holden. It may be a situation where Cassidy varies the blue liners based on matchups.
 

veritas

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Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick
Heinen-Riley- Backes
Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Holden-Miller

This is where I'm at, although I admit it's changed a bit since the original post. Carlo has played himself into the lineup of late, and with his upside I want to see what he looks like in the playoffs. When he's skating and being aggressive, he's a really good player. When he's being timid and overthinking things, he can be awful. I went with Holden over Grz, but that really depends on the matchup. In the playoffs, especially vs a team like Washington or Columbus I worry about him being able to hold up physically.

At forward, they have a lot of options, I just don't see where Wingels/Gionta/Donato make them better if everyone's healthy. But that's pretty unlikely so it's good to have options. Acciari is probably the weak link in the starting lineup for me, but he's a wrecking ball and I think that's valuable in the playoffs. I'd also be hesitant to break up the 4th line, which sounds crazy, but they've played a valuable role all season -- taking d-zone draws (and just a lot of shifts in general) vs other teams' middle six and getting the puck into the o-zone. Even if they haven't been able to do shit once they get it there. It's still very valuable when your fourth line can cancel out the other team's better lines even when getting bad zone starts.

If Rick/DeBrusk isn't healthy, I'd probably just put Donato in his spot and continue sheltering that line. Otherwise I think Wingels/Gionta is next up. It's really hard to get a read on the new guys statistically. With Chara, Bergeron, and McAvoy out for much of the time they've been here, the whole team has really struggled (relative to the rest of the season) with possession, so a lot of the WOWY numbers look terrible for them
 

joe dokes

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This seems like a good place to put this. Its probably not unique, but its cool. (And, in a contorted attempt to tie it to the thread, it might show Backes's importance to a sustained playoff run):
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/bruins/2018/03/29/david-backes-returns-lineup/7MsIGMTU6DxiGgpoTtRYsM/story.html?p1=Article_Recirculation_Pos1

Food for thought
Backes, though he didn’t play on the club’s recent four-game road trip, went along for the ride, which allowed him to continue his treatments on his nasty wound and to visit friends and family back home in suburban Minneapolis.
After arriving in St. Paul, the veteran forward invited all his Black-and-Gold teammates to his parents’ place in North Oaks, Minn., for a home-cooked meal. The majority of teammates made the trek out to the burbs for the free eats and camaraderie.
“Mom made dinner and 14 guys took Ubers to come to the house,” said Backes, sincerely impressed by the turnout. “I made them pay for their own Ubers, too . . . at least they haven’t submitted receipts to me.”
Backes said he suspected on some teams only one or two players would have taken him up on the dinner offer, which included his mom’s lasagna and kale salad whipped up by his wife, along with roasted brussel sprouts.
“We had 14 guys there, and that was a real special moment in my career — to have that many guys care about each other that much,” he added.
It was also his father’s 65th birthday. “He got sung happy birthday by 14 of my teammates,” said a smiling Backes. “It was a cool day.”
It so easy to forget that "old" Backes is only 33 in real life. And his father is not a whole lot older than I am.
 
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Salem's Lot

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I don't know how the advanced stats see it, but just based on my observations, Carlo has taken a step forward and Holden has taken a step back in the last 3-4 games. For game 1 I'd go:

Chara - McAvoy
Grzelcyk- Miller
Krug - Carlo

I would really like to see if McAvoy and Krug would work as a pair. I think they would just dominate possession together, and Carlo would be so much better with Chara. Unfortunately they don't have time to experiment.
 

Haunted

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This seems like a good place to put this. Its probably not unique, but its cool. (And, in a contorted attempt to tie it to the thread, it might show Backes's importance to a sustained playoff run):
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/bruins/2018/03/29/david-backes-returns-lineup/7MsIGMTU6DxiGgpoTtRYsM/story.html?p1=Article_Recirculation_Pos1



It so easy to forget that "old" Backes is only 33 in real life. And his father is not a whole lot older then I am.
That’s really cool. In high school I was the geek with the clipboard taking stats for our hockey team (prep school, had a couple roommates that were players who convinced me to do it). I think we’d have a meal at someone’s family’s house once a month. It was always really fun and nice to get off campus.
 

cshea

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I don't know how the advanced stats see it, but just based on my observations, Carlo has taken a step forward and Holden has taken a step back in the last 3-4 games. For game 1 I'd go:

Chara - McAvoy
Grzelcyk- Miller
Krug - Carlo

I would really like to see if McAvoy and Krug would work as a pair. I think they would just dominate possession together, and Carlo would be so much better with Chara. Unfortunately they don't have time to experiment.
Yeah, Holden has hit a rough patch the last 10 games. He has been on the ice for 2 goals for, 8 against at 5x5. He’s getting caved in, 46% Corsi. Carlo has been sub-50%, but is closer to treading water over that same 10 game period. 6 goals for, 7 against.

Krug/McAvoy have 83 5x5 minutes this year. They have been good (55% CD, 66% GF). I think we could see them together if the Bruins are down a goal. The interesting decision will he what they do protecting a lead. Chara/Carlo?
 

cshea

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Here’s what they’ve got at practice today with mostly everyone back.

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk - Krejci - Donato
Heinen - Nash - Backes
Schaller - Acciari - Wingels
Gionta

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Carlo
Grzelyck - Miller
Holden - McQuaid

Just missing Kuraly and Rick. Would think this is pretty much the ideal game 1 lineup. Rick in for Donato, Kuraly for Wingels if they are ready by then.
 

durandal1707

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This seems like a good place to put this. Its probably not unique, but its cool. (And, in a contorted attempt to tie it to the thread, it might show Backes's importance to a sustained playoff run):
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/bruins/2018/03/29/david-backes-returns-lineup/7MsIGMTU6DxiGgpoTtRYsM/story.html?p1=Article_Recirculation_Pos1



It so easy to forget that "old" Backes is only 33 in real life. And his father is not a whole lot older then I am.
Pretty funny error in that Globe piece:
Cassidy said earlier in the week that Chara and McAvoy, once cleared to play, will team up again as his No. 1 pairing. In turn, that will leave Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug paired on the next unit. The third pairing will have Matt Grzelcyk on the left, with either Kevin Millar or Adam McQuaid on the right.
 

Jordu

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So, now the D-pairings are what? Can Holden play the other side and keep McQuaid off the ice?

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Miller
Gryz-Holden
I’m OK with Gryz-McQuaid as the third pair to start the playoffs (and praying Carlo can come back at some point). Switching sides in the playoffs is a lot to ask, but Holden is a versatile player. Cassidy may rotate Gryz, McQuaid and Holden based on match-ups and who’s playing well.
 

Salem's Lot

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I would rather play Holden on his offside with Krug than play McQuaid. And I definitely don't want to break up the Grzelcyk-Miller pair.
 

cshea

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It’ll probably be McQuaid. Carlo eats a ton of PK minutes, and that role is something MvQuaid is better suited for than Holden.
 

TheRealness

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At practice today, DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash were together.

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash
Heinen-Gionta-Backes
Schaller-Kuraly-Wingels
This will be the playoff lineup, with Riley coming in for Gionta when he's healthy. Him not skating suggests he may be out the entire series.

I suspect Donato will be used as an "break in case of emergency" situation if they need scoring. With all due respect, hopefully he gets to watch the entire series from level 9 because if he stays up there the Bruins will have won.
 

RedOctober3829

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This will be the playoff lineup, with Riley coming in for Gionta when he's healthy. Him not skating suggests he may be out the entire series.

I suspect Donato will be used as an "break in case of emergency" situation if they need scoring. With all due respect, hopefully he gets to watch the entire series from level 9 because if he stays up there the Bruins will have won.
If Riley can't go, it looks like Acciari will be the 3rd line center per Amalie Benjamin. So it looks like Acciari, Gionta and Donato are the healthy scratches if everyone is healthy.
 

cshea

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Not a fan of 3C Acciari. If Riley is out I’d go with:

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk - Krejci - Rick
Donato - Backes - Heinen
Schaller - Kuraly- Acciari

I just don’t think Acciari has enough offensive prowess for anything other than the 4th line. Backes has played more C of late, I’d rather the above 3rd line over Heinen - Acciari - Backes. I think they need some depth scoring, not sure Acciari helps them in that area as a 3C.
 

Maximus

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I’d have Donato in over Gionta and Wingels.

Don’t love McQuaid over Holden, but I get it.
I'd go with Donato in over Gionta and Wingels and Holden over McQuaid. We are going to need offense in this series since the Leafs will get their share with their forwards.
 

timlinin8th

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Cassidy's thinking is that he needs a heavier bottom 6 to play a physical game against the Leafs. If they can body them early in the series, the hope is that they wear down as the series goes longer.
Thats why I’m surprised Acciari isn’t on the fourth line, with Backes at C and Wingels on 3 RW. I don’t really think Gionta has shown all that much aside from a small boost when he first joined the team.

If Riley plays then maybe I could see Wingels over Acciari but I still like Acciari bodying up some Leafs players.
 

RedOctober3829

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Thats why I’m surprised Acciari isn’t on the fourth line, with Backes at C and Wingels on 3 RW. I don’t really think Gionta has shown all that much aside from a small boost when he first joined the team.
Gionta is going to be sitting and Acciari is going to be 3C per Cassidy as today was a maintenance day for Noel. The Schaller-Kuraly-Wingels 4th line has been pretty good since Wingles was acquired so I can see why Cassidy doesn't want to break them up.
 

timlinin8th

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Gionta is going to be sitting and Acciari is going to be 3C per Cassidy as today was a maintenance day for Noel. The Schaller-Kuraly-Wingels 4th line has been pretty good since Wingles was acquired so I can see why Cassidy doesn't want to break them up.
Ok thats the part I missed. I’m with cshea though, I would prefer Backes at C and Acciari on the wing, and considering the hurt Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari has put on other teams when they were going right, take a chance and slide Wingels up to Backes’ right.

Either way I’m sure these guys are going to be moving around as Cassidy tries tinkering with matchups.
 

TheRealness

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Cassidy's thinking is that he needs a heavier bottom 6 to play a physical game against the Leafs. If they can body them early in the series, the hope is that they wear down as the series goes longer.
I don't know that I agree entirely. I think he's concerned about their speed, and is worried Backes as a 3c could be exploited. Acciari is a quicker player, and should hopefully be able to fill in for Riley until he's cleared.