Bruins hope defensemen injuries are ‘trend that doesn’t continue’

Bruins hope defensemen injuries are ‘trend that doesn’t continue’

OTTAWA – The Bruins won’t have a clear picture of their defensemen’s health until they suit up for practice on Friday afternoon, but suffice it to say that they’re still extremely banged up on the back end.

The bad news is that there was no indication that Brandon Carlo (upper body) or Torey Krug (lower body) had started skating back in Boston, or are even a remote possibility for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon.


The good news is that Colin Miller was spotted walking with a limp around the team hotel on Thursday, but not with a brace or crutches following a nasty leg-on-leg hit with Sens defenseman Mark Borowiecki that knocked him out of Game 1.

Furthermore, Charlie McAvoy stepped in and played 24-plus minutes and filled some of the void with Krug and Carlo out after serving as top-four D-men all season. The Bruins featured a top shutdown pairing of Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid and needed to play McAvoy every one of those minutes, so it's clear the Black and Gold have hit their saturation point with injuries on the back end. 

The Bruins have reserve defenseman Joe Morrow with the team if they need a healthy body, though he hasn’t played in an actual game since back in January.

“We have options if [Miller] can’t go. Our first option would be Joe Morrow, who has been here all year and would allow us to balance our left and right sticks. After that it’s the health of the guys that are out and whether they’re going to be any better for Saturday and then there’s the guys in Providence, who have played well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s always been a next man up mentality. If you’re sweater is hanging up and you’re in the lineup, then you’re expected to do your job. Whoever we choose we expect they’ll do it.

“In fairness to Joe, the opportunity to play hasn’t been there as much for Joe as the other guys, but that’s the way it’s played out. When he does get a chance he’s going to have to prove he can stay in the lineup.”

They also could call up Matt Grzelcyk or Tommy Cross from Providence as well, but whatever they do, it’s about Boston’s back end bonding together and fighting through three injuries to B’s defensemen in three straight games.

“A lot of it is communicating out there when you’re playing with different guys at different times out there,” said McQuaid. “I think it’s being supportive of one another while just hoping it’s a trend that doesn’t continue. When you’re focused on the task at hand, you might have to do more some nights than others. If that’s what you’re presented with then that’s what you have to do.”

Best-case scenario is that it’s some kind of knee bruise for Miller and he’s able to play through the pain in Game 2 while keeping the Bruins from needing to dig any deeper into their D-depth just one game into their postseason run. 


Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

USA TODAY Sports Photos

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

File photo

Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

A post shared by Boston Bruins (@nhlbruins) on