With Sean Kuraly at the center, Boston’s 3rd row has finally found an identity – and catches fire at the right time

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Despite its struggles this season, something was going very, very wrong somewhere along the line in 2021 if Sean kuraly was not sketched somewhere in Bruce cassidyThe lineup to come in the playoffs.

For years, Kuraly has excelled as a Boston fourth-row hub – with his blend of speed and size allowing him to thrive as a ‘one-man cycle’ in the offensive zone, as Cassidy has it. described in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even though Kuraly has only lit the lamp 23 times in his NHL career, the Dublin, Ohio native appears to be choosing the right time to land his shots. fist in Zone O. In 46 playoff games, Kuraly has scored nine times and recorded 19 points – most of those tallies occurring in either one-goal matches, deadlock fights or crucial in-space competitions. ‘a seven-game series.

Add Kuraly’s skills on the PK, and the 28-year-old forward was going to be a reliable mainstay in Boston’s last six playoff bodies, even though this COVID-hit season hasn’t always gone as planned for him.

Whether it’s a lack of tangible offensive production (four points in first 35 games) or struggles to tip the ice in Boston’s favor in their (admittedly intimidating) clashes against the first six enemies, Kuraly s ‘is found ousted from his fourth-row cross. locate the section – switch to the wing once Curtis Lazar arrived via the Buffalo trade last month. Given Kuraly’s natural talents, keeping him in a straight line, the puck’s presence on the wing seemed like a natural fit, especially alongside other hard-nosed skaters like Lazar and Chris Wagner.

But Cassidy had another gig in mind for her Kuraly. Of course, staying in the fourth row pivot hadn’t worked – but what about a promotion?

It might seem a bit strange to follow the depth chart given disappointing results – but with Charlie coyle struggling to gain ground at spot 3C and Nick ritchie suddenly a man without a line following the arrival of Taylor Hall, Cassidy made it her goal to create a new identity on a third line that has gone most of the past four months without one.

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