TAMPA - After serving as a healthy scratch for the past 3 contests, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will be making his return to the lineup when the Black & Gold take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The coaches hope his time out of the lineup, which included being sent down to Providence for a one-game stint, will serve as motivation for Forsbacka Karlsson.
"Just a little bit more consistency in every area," said head coach Bruce Cassidy on what he is looking for from the 22-year-old center. "A little harder on pucks, harder in the face off circle. I thought his 200-foot game was generally a very accountable player. He's going to need that. He's probably going to get matched up. They'll get last change. I don't mind him against the good players, we saw that. He just has to be able to do it every night.
"We'll give him another chance. Sometimes you go upstairs and take a look and it gives you motivation or it gives you a little different view of what's available out there, what's not when you watch from up top so we'll see."
Video: Cassidy breaks down matchup with Lightning
Off the ice, the Swedish forward is known as a quiet individual. On the ice, Cassidy would like to see more assertiveness.
"He's a pretty laid back, introverted kid," said Cassidy. "We're not trying to change his personality. It is what it is. Just a little bit about his behavior maybe. Just a little more assertive on the puck drops. Be whoever you need to be from 10:30 at night till the next morning and then you practice, bring that, get that engine revving a little more. That's kind of what we're trying to change in him. That will lead to more competitiveness. He'll be on pucks because he can skate. He'll make plays because he can skate. In the games he's had his legs and been a little more forceful and wanting to be part of the play has been better."
Forsbacka Karlsson has scored twice so far in nine NHL games played this season.
"I think the biggest part of this game is to help the team win," said Forsbacka Karlsson. "That's what I always try to accomplish. For me personally I try to play my game, move my feet, play well two-way game. That's probably the most important thing."
He will return to the lineup in between Ryan Donato and Noel Acciari.
Video: Bruins clash with Bolts in Tampa
With 43 points in 29 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit at the top of the NHL standings. The Bruins are all too familiar with their Atlantic Division rivals, as their 2017-18 season came to an end in the second round of the playoffs against the Bolts. That bitter memory could provide an added piece of motivation for the Bruins.
"Certainly, for the Pasta's [David Pastrnak] and Marchy's [Brad Marchand] and go down the list of the guys that have been here," said Bruce Cassidy. "I'm sure they'll have a little bit extra juice."
The Lightning also lead the NHL with 114 goals, providing a stout challenge for the Bruins defense.
"They have a lot of speed," said defenseman Brandon Carlo. "They have guys who can move the puck really well and shoot the puck really well. Definitely a threat on the power play so that's something that we want to resist getting in the box tonight and hopefully just playing our five-on-five game and handling that aspect."
Tampa is powered up front by a dynamic pair of young forwards. Nikita Kucherov's 42 points rank 3rd in the NHL, and Brayden Point is not far behind him in 5th place in the league with 37 points.
"They are a high-octane offense and one of the best teams in the league," said defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. "Watched quite a lot of video over the last day or so getting ready for them and cleaning up some areas from last game."
Coming off a 5-0 loss to the Florida Panthers, the Bruins hope to apply lessons from that game to Thursday's tilt.
"We've got a great opponent," said Cassidy. "Arguably the best team in the National Hockey League so you better have your A game. That's hopefully the mentality our guys have…We weren't great the other night. Nobody. We've admitted that. I assume that our leaders will be ready to go and bounce back. We certainly want to."
Marchand - Cave - Pastrnak
Nordstrom - Krejci - DeBrusk
Heinen- Kuraly - Backes
Donato - JFK - Acciari
Krug - Carlo
Moore - Kampfer
Lauzon - Grzelcyk