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Griffith, Morrow Back in Lineup as Bruins Face Coyotes

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Forward Seth Griffith and defenseman Joe Morrow will be back in the lineup on Saturday, as the Bruins face off against the Arizona Coyotes.

Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET (6:00 local time) at the Gila River Arena.

Griffith has yet to suit up on the Bruins' road trip out West, while Morrow has been a healthy scratch for the past two games. David Pastrnak and Matt Bartkowski are expected to be the scratches.

"Nothing more than I think Joe Morrow deserves to be in there and I think Griff deserves to be in there," Head Coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning. "So, a young David Pastrnak — it’s not a reason for his play, more than I think it’s time for Griff to get in there, and you can’t have too many of those young players in. You need to win games with some experience as well, so you've got to balance your lineup out there."

"Bart, we expect a little bit more out of him. He plays well; some other games, you know, the same issues [that] keep coming up. So until he gets some consistency, he’s going to be inconsistent in our lineup."

"We all know that when he plays well, he keeps pucks out and he plays physical, and all that stuff, and it’s — for some players, everybody has certain issues, and with Bart, it’s the consistency of his game," Julien continued. "So we have to make decisions, and there’s a guy that’s been sitting out that wasn’t really a bad player for us, so I’m not going to keep sitting him out for the sake of waiting for a player to find his game again."

Julien talked earlier this week about the learning benefits from young players watching from up top, and also the "hunger" they get from wanting to get back in the lineup.

"Missing games at a young age like that is not the end of the world," Julien had said. "And you’ve seen it with different guys, and whether they’ve been first-round picks or just guys that have come in, to me, it’s not a bad thing to have a young player watch from up there once in a while. The rest sometimes does him good, and the watching and the hunger part of wanting to come back and do well often works in our favor also."

Both Griffith and Morrow should bring energy to the lineup against the Coyotes, based on that fact alone.

Julien has been complimentary of Morrow's sharp puck movement, calling him a "pleasant addition to our banged-up squad."

"It’s no fun when you sit in the rafters and see your team lose," Morrow said Saturday morning before getting back in the lineup. "You've got to be the most energetic person out there, and these guys have played three games now in a short period of time and I’ve only played one, so I definitely have to bring that energy to the team and that positiveness and try and compete as hard, if not harder, than anyone else out there."

"Obviously I should have a little bit saved up, so I’m just going to go out there and try and obviously use my energy to try and create stuff on the ice," said Griffith. "Everybody was pretty happy with the way we practiced [on Friday] so I think we should have a good start."

Griffith watched the wingers closely during his press box stay, especially with timing along the boards on breakouts. He's hoping to have an added lift in his own game when he suits up, though his time out of the lineup wasn't blatantly performance-based.

"You can’t obviously help out the team when you’re sitting out, right? But you just try to prepare the best you can and wait for your opportunity to come," said Griffith. "And tonight’s my night to get back in the lineup and hopefully do something out there."

With the team at 0-3 on the trip, and looking to bring some confidence back to Boston with a win on Saturday, entire group is focused on bringing that energy and desperation into the game.

"I think you just get tired [of losing] — it’s never fun, especially on a road trip like this where you’re in some nice cities and you should be enjoying yourself, right? But it's tough to," said Griffith. "So hopefully we can just end on a good note."

Pastrnak Sits

Pastrnak has been in the lineup for five straight games - the first five of his NHL career - and all three games thus far on the Bruins' road trip, after spending a month and a half in Providence to start the 2014-15 campaign. He notched his first NHL point with an assist in Anaheim, and played the game on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

In LA, the lines were shuffled mid-game and Pastrnak hasn't been back with that duo since. The 18-year-old will spend Saturday watching from the press box.

When he plays his 10th NHL game, his NHL entry-level contract will kick in.

Julien was asked by a reporter if "the jury is still out" on the young forward.

"I think the reason he was up here [with us] is that we wanted to have a look at him, and there’s a lot that has to be taken into consideration here," said Julien. "Like, he’s only an 18-year-old, so is he better suited to stay here? Is he better suited to go back to Providence or wherever the upper management decides? I think there’s a lot of things that have to take place here."

"But we’ve seen some good things from him — exciting player, he’s got good speed but he doesn’t have the experience right now, and there’s times too where guys are stronger and he’s probably not quite as strong as the rest of the group. So a rest doesn’t hurt him either, and so on and so forth. So I think eventually we’ll have to make a decision on him, whether we want to keep him or not, whether we think he can develop here [in the NHL] more than somewhere else. So that part of it will certainly not be my decision, more than it will be a group decision with management."

The winger hasn't been overwhelmed by the stronger, tougher competition, but he's had trouble finishing off plays against heavier opponents. The more he battles, the more he'll figure out how to adjust. It's the same part of the game Griffith has been working on at the NHL level.

"No, he hasn’t been overwhelmed," said Julien. "I don’t think he’s afraid — he goes into corners, he goes into the traffic and all that stuff. The thing is, for younger players sometimes, it’s how do you get on the inside? These are strong players in this League, and you take LA for example — how big they are on the back end — he didn’t shy away from anything, but at the same time, it was hard from him to get on the inside and get into great scoring areas, and you get that from experience."

"You learn, you find ways, and you work on getting stronger, and Dougie Hamilton was the same way when he came here as an 18-year-old. He was 6-foot-5, but he wasn’t strong enough and it was a challenge for him. Came back the next year stronger, and again this year even stronger than the year before. So you've got to allow young players to grow and to develop into the person that or the player that you want him to be, and that doesn’t happen overnight."

Projected Lineup vs. Arizona 12/6

The Bruins didn't hold a full pregame skate on Saturday morning, with the players taking part in off-ice workouts and two-touch soccer to warm up for the night's 6:00 p.m. game. Scratches Matt Bartkowski and David Pastrnak, along with Niklas Svedberg, hit the ice to be put through their paces with Assistant Coach Doug Jarvis.

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic
- Carl Soderberg - Seth Griffith
Matt Fraser
- Chris Kelly - Loui Eriksson
Simon Gagne
- Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille

Dennis Seidenberg - Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow
- Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug
- Zach Trotman

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg

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