The debate is over: Carl Soderberg will take Kaspars Daugavins’ spot in the Boston Bruins lineup for Game 5 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
This marks the 26-year-old Swede’s playoff debut. He hasn’t played for Boston since the regular season finale against Ottawa (on April 28) and only has six NHL contests on his resume. He collected two assists in that time.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports that Soderberg skated with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during warm-ups, making them his likely linemates.
Things with the Bruins lineup have been so dull of late that a debate as to who coach Claude Julien will play on the team’s fourth line is their “hot question” coming into tonight’s Game 5.
Julien told reporters today he’s deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg to play alongside Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton and we won’t find out who he’s going with til tonight. When asked why he was tinkering with things, he was pretty direct.
“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do.”
As for whether Soderberg will indeed make his Stanley Cup Final (and playoffs) debut tonight, it sounded like Julien was hedging his bets.
“Well, I haven’t seen (Soderberg) that much. He’s only played a few games, and that’s probably the main reason he hasn’t played in the Playoffs is we went with some experienced players,” Julien said.
“I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or as you know right now, it’s been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they’re two different players. Size-wise they’re different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker.
“So there’s a difference there, and that’s where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”
After a thrilling Game 4, the Bruins and Blackhawks are back in Chicago to see what they can do to top the excitement from Wednesday night.
Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET — NBC/Live Extra)
Series tied 2-2
Game 4 left all of us feeling giddy about what a fun up-and-down game that was. At the end of the night, Bruins fans were left feeling bummed out after seeing Chicago win it in overtime 6-5, but it’s set things up so the end of the series is a best-of-three and winning tonight is of the utmost concern.
For the Bruins, coach Claude Julien insists they don’t panic in big moments and considering how they’ve handled being down in big games already, you have to believe them. That said, a small change could be on the way to their lineup tonight with Carl Soderberg getting a spin on the fourth line at practice yesterday. If he slots in, Kaspars Daugavins could be the odd man out.
Making a small move like that could help a little bit, but after losing Game 4, Bruins players insisted that tightening up their defense and eliminating turnovers would do them a world of good.
For Chicago, you’d like to think they’ve got momentum on their side after such a thrilling victory, but the questions about Corey Crawford’s glove hand will persist. They’ll have some other things to work through in tonight’s Game 5 as well.
For one, Nick Leddy was buried on the bench in Game 4 for poor play but figures to get back out there tonight. As for Marian Hossa, he didn’t practice yesterday but that’s not an indication that he’s hurt again and expects to be back at it tonight.
One thing to watch for: How Jonathan Toews and Zdeno Chara battle each other. While you have to expect Joel Quenneville to do his part to keep his captain away from their captain, Toews didn’t shy away from engaging Chara.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty says it’s a mistake for Toews to “poke the bear” but Chara was on the ice for five goals against on Wednesday. Maybe just poke him a little then?