ST. LOUIS - Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is making a tweak to his forward group for Sunday night's Game 6 against the St. Louis Blues as Karson Kuhlman is set to make his Stanley Cup Final debut.
"Obviously it's been a dream since you were a little kid to play in the Cup Finals and [I'm] just gonna do everything that I can to help this team win," said Kuhlman.
The 23-year-old has not played since April 30 - Game 3 of the second round against Columbus - but Cassidy believes Kuhlman can provide some needed speed and energy to the Bruins lineup with their season on the brink.
"He's got a good motor," said Cassidy. "He's good on the walls, he's quick, good forecheck motor. The challenge for him will be like a lot of our guys, getting inside this big, heavy team. But he is fast and responsible...he's used to playing in a support role so that's why we're using him tonight.
"We did it in Toronto in an important game, so we're not nervous about how he'll handle the moment. I'm sure he'll have some butterflies like everyone else this time of year, but I think he'll get right into it and we feel he can help us win.
Kuhlman, who has two assists in six games this postseason, will play alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, reuniting a trio that has had some chemistry in the past.
"[Krejci's] an awesome guy to play with," said Kuhlman. "He's one of the elite passers in the game, thinks the game at such a high level. Just trying to do my job, be hard on pucks, win some battles and let him create some plays."
Video: Kuhlman to make SCF debut
Despite Kuhlman not having played in over a month, Cassidy is confident in the winger's ability to bring the proper intensity and mindset.
"What I found with him throughout is if he sat for stretches of time we didn't lose him - power play, penalty kills, if we shortened our bench," said Cassidy. "He came back and gave just the same energy, which is pretty impressive for a young guy, to get him back on board. But he was a winner in college, he's got a lot of those good attributes."
With Kuhlman back lineup, Boston will opt for its preferred scenario of 12 forwards and six defensemen, meaning Steven Kampfer will be a healthy scratch. David Backes will also be scratched for the second straight game.
"Backs is a little more straightforward, chip and chase, get behind him," said Cassidy. "We always felt David played his best hockey in the [Sean] Kuraly role with [Joakim] Nordstrom…it's just we've got [Noel] Acciari there, we had [Chris] Wagner there. There's only so many roles carved out on our team for that stuff.
"David's been fine, he's matched up physically well against this team. It's just the decision we've made to be a little different. Maybe Krech sees a few more pucks in the neutral zone in that case, get a little more speed off the rush."
In one other lineup note, Cassidy said that Matt Grzelcyk (protocol) has yet to be cleared and will not play in Game 6.
Video: Cassidy gives lineup updates for Game 6
All on the Line
It's a simple formula for the Bruins on Sunday night. With the Stanley Cup Final on the line, the B's know they must put forth their best effort of the season.
"Go out there and give it everything we've got," said Patrice Bergeron. "That's really all we can focus on. Put everything on the line and be ready for a big match…just be in the moment. We have to worry about the shift that's in front of you. That's all we can really focus on…we often say that those series are long series and it's definitely not over. That's the approach that we have right now."
Video: Bergeron prior to Game 6 of Stanley Cup Final
Sunday's Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Connor Clifton
Video: Krug discusses teams mindset for Game 6