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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Predators

Fourth line gets a makeover as Boston gets set to welcome Nashville

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - With seven losses in their last eight games, the Bruins will be looking to shore things up on Saturday night as they welcome the Nashville Predators to TD Garden. Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal for the Black & Gold.

"We've got a big cushion in the standings, but we also have a group in here that, typically speaking, we sense when things are getting away from us and we can get a grasp on it. That's what we're trying to do right now," Torey Krug said following Saturday morning's pregame skate at Warrior Ice Arena.

"Even though we're still collecting points, we're not completely satisfied with not getting the results. We're trying to get back in the win column and try to fix it. We're just a really good defensive team that can score big goals in a timely manner. We've got to get back to that."

Here's everything else you need to know for tonight's tilt (7 p.m. ET on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub):

Moving Fourth

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is switching things up at the bottom of his lineup, subbing in Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie for Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. Lindholm will center the B's fourth line with Sean Kuraly moving to left wing.

"Those guys have been working hard, Lindholm and Ritchie. When they've been in there, there's been times they've done well and times we've replaced them," said Cassidy. "Sometimes it's a way to get certain players' attention. This is a bit of that. We're not at the standard we want to be. Certainly, I'm not putting it all on David Backes or Nordy, but maybe we've got to rotate players through."

Cassidy noted that part of moving pieces in and out of the lineup - Connor Clifton will also remain in the lineup for John Moore on the back end - is trying to find the identity of this particular group.

"Last year is over. You learn from it, you're proud of certain accomplishments, but you don't change the way you play," said Cassidy. "You've still got to eat pucks when it's your turn to eat pucks, you've still got to put out fires when it's your turn to put out a fire.

"We're not gonna be perfect, we're not gonna execute at 100 percent, we're gonna break down. Our system is designed for help…a little bit of that could be blocking a shot or giving yourself up and putting yourself in harm's way.

"And the opposite at the offensive end. I don't think we're generating consistently by getting our nose dirty or getting inside…start getting back to that style of play."

Video: Press Room: Bruce Cassidy

Opposing View

Nashville (16-12-6, 38 points) comes to town sitting three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Preds, closing out a four-game road trip, suffered a 5-4 overtime loss in Ottawa on Thursday night.

The Predators get plenty of offense from the back, paced by captain Roman Josi, who has 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 34 games. Fellow blue liner Ryan Ellis is second in team scoring with 27 points.

Former Boston University star Nick Bonino leads Nashville with 13 goals. Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg clock in with 12 goals apiece.

Goalies Pekka Rinne (11-5-3, 2.99 GAA) and Juuse Saros (5-7-3, 3.09) have essentially split time between the pipes.

"You can rely on years past and some experience against them, they're a team that gets up and down the ice. They play an in-your-face style of hockey," said Krug. "Their back end is very mobile and they contribute offensively a lot. We have a big test tonight."

Video: Locker Room Raw: Torey Krug

Happy for Noel

Former Bruins winger Noel Acciari has taken the hockey world by storm this week with hat tricks in consecutive games for the Florida Panthers. The Rhode Island native now has 11 goals on the season, a new career high.

"Did you see the celebration on their bench after his hat trick? It just tells you what type of kid he is," said Cassidy. "It's not so much that it's a guy that normally does all the grunt work scoring, it's about how happy they are for their teammate. We miss Noel…I'm happy for him."

Saturday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Danton Heinen

Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Chris Wagner

Sean Kuraly - Par Lindholm - Brett Ritchie

 

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

 

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Video: Locker Room Raw: Anders Bjork

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