Bruins

Chara, DeBrusk out rest of B's trip with upper-body injuries

Chara, DeBrusk out rest of B's trip with upper-body injuries

SUNRISE, Florida – The Bruins will be without a couple more of their front-line guys at least through the weekend.

Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk were both missing from the morning skate Thursday at the BB&T Center and will miss games against the Panthers tonight and Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday with upper-body injuries sustained in the comeback win over Carolina. Chara tumbled upper body-first into the boards midway through the third period and appeared to be complaining of discomfort in the shoulder area on the bench before exiting for good. DeBrusk and Carolina’s Elias Lindholm got tangled before the rookie crashed into the boards early in the Tuesday night game, but he remained in the game and kept playing until he eventually had to exit in the third period as well.

The moment of truth for both will be when they get looked at by the Bruins doctors next week after returning to Boston.

“Upper body. Won’t play tonight and won’t play Saturday. We’ll have a better idea on both of them next week once we’re back in Boston,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “I can’t really answer to [the severity]. I’m not worried it’s long-term, but once [Chara] gets further evaluated we may get bad news. But that’s kind of the initial reaction right now.

“[The injuries] all seem to snowball at once. Two guys are out and another guy is questionable or probable for us, and we were already down two guys. But at the end of the day, we’ve said it…somebody else goes in. Adam [McQuaid] has been chomping at the bit to get back in, so he’ll come in and contribute. We chose to sit Tommy Wingels the other night, so he’s ready to go in. There is always a positive when a negative happens, and that’s the way we try to look at it.”

Torey Krug also had an upper-body injury in the third period Tuesday, but he felt well enough to skate on Thursday morning and is “questionable-to-probable” vs. the Panthers, according to Cassidy. The Bruins called up Anton Blidh and Paul Postma in case they’re needed with the recent rash of injuries and Cassidy is back to finagling with the lineup until he finds combos that will work.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on the morning skate with Anton Khudobin set to play tonight vs. the Panthers and Tuukka Rask penciled in to play vs. the Lightning on Saturday:

Marchand-Nash-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-Nash

Wingels-Backes-Gionta

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

 
Holden-Miller

Krug-McQuaid

Grzelcyk-Carlo

 
Khudobin

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David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

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Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

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He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

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