Bruins news: Rookies Clifton, Kuhlman in Bruins lineup for Game 1 vs. Maple Leafs


BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins will have some new blood in the lineup when they drop the puck for Game 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Rookie Karson Kuhlman was expected to slot into the right wing on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk for the start of the postseason, and Bruce Cassidy confirmed on Thursday morning that rookie D-man Connor Clifton will also be among the 18 skaters with Kevan Miller and John Moore injured to start the playoffs.

Cassidy made an interesting statement earlier in the week when he said he’d be suiting up “his fastest team” to start against Toronto, and perhaps he’s gone back on that a little bit with the physical, abrasive Clifton in the mix. Clifton finished with one assist and a plus-5 in 19 games for the Black and Gold, and also drew notice by aggravating the crap out of Nikita Kucherov in the final game of the regular season vs. Tampa Bay.

“You just want to go out and play, and not think too differently. Obviously it’s a different game in the postseason, but I’m just going to play my game and see where it goes,” said Clifton. “I try to keep my physicality high. You want to limit time and space for the good players on the other team, and I’ve been trying to do that the last few games. In the postseason I think that’s even more important.”

With those two players in the lineup, that means older veteran players David Backes and Steve Kampfer will be the healthy scratches for the open of the playoffs. Tuukka Rask will get the starting nod between the pipes to start the postseason.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Maple Leafs for Game 1 based on Thursday’s morning skate:











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