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Spooner, Schaller Out vs. Canucks; Nash at Center

Riley Nash will center the third line with Ryan Spooner still sidelined

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

VANCOUVER - The Bruins begin their Western Canada road trip on Monday night in Vancouver against the Canucks.

 

Game time is set for 10:00 p.m. EST (7:00 p.m. local time) on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. 

 

Boston will be without Ryan Spooner for the game. 

 

Spooner skated on Sunday and Monday with the team in Vancouver, but continues to go through the NHL protocol after suffering a concussion in Ottawa on March 6. Monday's matchup will mark this third straight game out of the lineup.

Tim Schaller is also unavailable. He did not travel on the trip, and remains back in Boston recovering from a lower-body injury sustained on March 8 against Detroit. 

 

With Spooner still out, Riley Nash will get a look at center on the third line for Monday's game, with Matt Beleskey on his left wing and Frank Vatrano on his off side at right wing. 

 

"At the end of the day, it's more about looking at players in some different spots without upsetting everything," said Cassidy, who provided insight into why the line was put together. 

 

"We've got a bit of everything [on that line]," said Cassidy. "We've got Beleskey, who can also shoot the puck as well as Vatrano, so if Nash finds them and makes some plays, he's certainly capable of doing that."

 

"You've got a defensive presence and penalty killer in the middle [with Nash], a guy who's going to play a solid, 200-foot game, and with Beleskey, it's energy, he got us into it last time, and Frankie, we know he can finish plays, so a bit of everything on one line, so we'll see how this one shakes out."

 

Nash gave a rundown of how the game changes for him, moving from wing to center. 

 

"I think the workload definitely changes, you've got to be up and down [the ice] a little bit better, in support of our D-men," said Nash. "You have get your legs into it earlier. Usually on the wing in the D zone, you can just protect your point. When you're playing center, you've always got to be moving, chasing those guys down low, so hopefully will keep that to a minimum and be in the offensive zone, and then just finding your wingers, finding some chemistry."

 

"Usually as a winger, you're pretty much going one direction, slashing across or staying on your wing, so it's a little simpler out there, but I've played both, so it shouldn't be an issue," said Nash.

 

The trio will focus on communicating and finding each other on the ice.  

 

"I think we've got to create some speed and possess the puck," said Beleskey. "Frankie's got a great shot, he's got great speed down the wing. Nasher's got good poise and patience, so I want to get to the net and hopefully our team will just keep the puck going forward." 

 

Cehlarik Slots Back In

 

Peter Cehlarik will slot back into the lineup in Vancouver, after being a healthy scratch for two games, on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes. 

 

"Younger guy who we played up in the lineup - he played well at times and other times, he got knocked off some pucks like a lot of young guys," Cassidy said of Cehlarik. "We want him to play if he's going to be here, and with a veteran like Dom Moore, we'll give him a shout there, he'll still see some power play time, and we'll see how he handled his couple of games upstairs, and if we feel like he's harder on pucks, then maybe he moves up as well." 

 

Cehlarik has previously played with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. Drew Stafford will be in that spot on Krejci's left wing to start Monday's action. 

 

Starting Strong 

 

The Bruins will play three games in four days, starting with the Canucks, and then facing the Calgary Flames on Wednesday and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday in a back-to-back to end the trip. They'll then get two days off before heading to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Monday. 

 

It's important to start the trip out on a good note. 

 

"First and foremost, this is huge for the playoff push," said Nash. "We've been pretty good lately, so to keep that ball rolling would be good and to start this trip out West would be nice, and then anything after that is just great."

 

Projected Lineup vs. Canucks March 13

 

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Backes

Drew Stafford - David Krejci - David Pastrnak 

Matt Beleskey - Riley Nash - Frank Vatrano

Peter Cehlarik - Dominic Moore - Jimmy Hayes

 

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Colin Miller - Kevan Miller 

 

Projected Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Anton Khudobin 

 

Scratches: Austin Czarnik, Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles 

 

Injured: Ryan Spooner (concussion) 

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