BOSTON - The Bruins will have two veterans back in the lineup on Thursday night when they host the St. Louis Blues, as both David Backes and John Moore return from stints as healthy scratches.
Moore has not played in the last three games, while Backes sat out Wednesday's game in Philadelphia. Sitting both players were difficult decisions for Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who has appreciated the way they've approached the situation.
"Very well, very professional. [Backes has] always been. Certainly not 100 percent in agreement with the decision, but we ask our players when that happens to make sure that any feelings are left outside the locker room," said Cassidy. "John Moore has been terrific with that, a guy that's been in the league. He's done that as well, Backs, so hopefully he has a good night for us tonight and we'll see what happens going forward."
Video: Cassidy gives updates on the lineup against St. Louis
On the other side of things, two players will be coming out of the lineup, with Matt Grzelcyk the scratch on the back end and Noel Acciari out up front.
"Noel's played well for us, but part of the reasoning was it's back to back, so give a guy with fresh legs a chance to get in there," said Cassidy. "It's a little bit the John Moore decision with Grizz. Grizz has played well too, but we don't want Johnny sitting too long. He's played well for us. It's a good problem to have when you have good players sitting out. That's where we're going with it."
Boston's fourth line will consist of Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly, and Backes, while Moore will play his natural left side with partner Kevan Miller.
"I'm a little more comfortable there," said Moore." But I've been pleasantly surprised with how I've adapted to the right side this year as well. Playing with Millsy, he's a great player, so I'm excited to be on the left."
Moore has taken this recent stretch in stride, opting to use the situation as an opportunity to further his understanding of a new system.
"You understand the situation you're in, but competitively you obviously want to be out there," said Moore, who was signed to a five-year contract on July 1. "To get that opportunity tonight is huge for me and obviously want to take full advantage of it… I've viewed this situation as an opportunity for growth and really just kind of tried to shoulder it as a way to get better and a unique one where I can push myself in the weight room and really study our system from a different perspective. Just been trying to see the silver linings through all this."
Video: Moore talks return to the lineup
Donato Stitched Up
After taking a heavy hit from behind on Wednesday night courtesy of Flyers forward Jori Lehtera, Ryan Donato required several stitches to close a cut under his nose, though he avoided any serious damage.
"I wasn't really worried, I just wanted to get back out there. I was fine," said Donato. "It wasn't my head, it was just my lip that got split open, so I immediately grabbed it because I knew it was either my teeth or somewhere around my mouth was bleeding. I went right in and got stitched up quickly.
"It's part of the game. I was in a pretty vulnerable spot. It was a blessing that I didn't get hurt more than I did. I'm lucky I didn't hurt my head in any way."
Video: Donato talks stitches and improving play
Joakim Nordstrom skated again on Wednesday as he continues his rehab from a fractured fibula. Nordstrom took a maintenance day on Thursday, but will hit the ice on Friday and Saturday. Cassidy said he is hopeful that the forward returns following the bye week.
Thursday's Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Peter Cehlarik - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - Ryan Donato
Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Kevan Miller
Video: DeBrusk discusses getting past loss to Flyers