After appearing in all four of Boston’s playoff games thus far, Ryan Spooner is taking a seat for tonight’s potentially season-ending tilt in Ottawa.
Spooner is technically a healthy scratch, being replaced by Sean Kuraly. But the “healthy scratch” part wasn’t initially clear. In explaining the situation, B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy first told reporters Spooner isn’t feeling 100 percent, which led to speculation of an injury-related swap.
But then Cassidy explained Spooner is healthy enough to play. Which means the Kuraly move is a coach’s decision.
Overall, Spooner’s numbers reflect a decent series. He has two points — one off the team lead — through four games, while averaging over 13 minutes per night. But he was a virtual non-factor in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss, going pointless with a minus-1 rating and just one shot on goal in 9:34 TOI.
Boston is facing elimination tonight, so dropping Spooner from the lineup is a fairly significant message. The club’s second-round pick (45th overall) in 2010, Spooner has shown flashes of real offensive talent — including a career-high 49 points in ’15-16 — but has underwhelmed at times, and wasn’t a favorite of former head coach Claude Julien.
When Cassidy first took over, Spooner’s production spiked. But the 25-year-old struggled down the stretch, scoring just one point in his last eight regular-season games, and is now a healthy scratch.