BRIGHTON, Mass – True to his nature as a tough-as-nails hockey player, Torey Krug might be back earlier than expected from the fractured jaw he sustained in the preseason.
The 25-year-old defenseman returned to the practice ice with no limitations on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena after a good meeting with the medical staff and he hasn’t been ruled out from a return on Monday afternoon vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Krug is still not eating solid foods and will have to wear the plastic protective guard at the bottom of his helmet for the foreseeable future, but he’s anxious to get back into the fold after watching Boston’s energetic, high-paced opening night win.
Krug didn’t take much contact Saturday but he expected that’s going to come in a practice setting prior to him again suiting back up again.
“We’ll see how the weekend goes. It’s about getting the timing back and getting some courage in the corners to get hit again, but it shouldn’t be much of an issue once I’m back up to speed,” said Krug. “I feel pretty good right now. It’s tough sitting up in the stands even when your team is winning. You want to be a part of it. You want to help contribute.
“To see the excitement and the pace that we were playing with, and to see the young guys and you can’t forget about the older guys that looked good too, you just want to get back in and help the team contribute. This is the game that I’ve been trying to play since I came into the league, and it only took five years for our team to get on the same page. It’s exciting to be a part of something where everybody is aggressive and assertive.”
Clearly, the Bruins could use him after Krug posted a career-high 51 points last season, and has become one of the big weapons at the point position on a B’s power play that’s ranked seventh in the NHL in each of the last two seasons.
Krug was back at his customary spot on the left side with Adam McQuaid on Saturday, so it appears when he does return that he’ll be replacing Matt Grzelcyk with Paul Postma once again in the seventh defenseman role.
TORONTO – Patrice Bergeron led all forwards in ice time in Saturday night’s loss to the Maple Leafs and played the final 90 plus seconds in the 4-3 defeat, but the 32-year-old center was spotted walking out of the Air Canada Centre with a protective boot on his right foot.
It certainly wasn't a fashion statement as many Bruins fans are probably hoping postgame, but instead it appears that No. 37 suffered some level of right foot injury after the hard-fought loss to the Leafs.
Bergeron walked out of the arena under his own power with the boot on his right foot, and there was no update from the Bruins on his condition as it wasn’t known until after team availability was over for the night. It appeared that Bergeron was hit in the leg with a puck during the second period that caused him some discomfort, but No. 37 still finished 19:15 of ice time, a couple of assists, a plus-2 rating, six shot attempts and won 15-of-22 face-offs.
So it didn’t appear to hamper Bergeron’s game against the Leafs as he was his typically excellent two-way self, but there’s also the possibility that the possible injury didn’t really swell up on him until after he removed his skates postgame. It will be telling to see if Bergeron is good to go on Sunday as the Bruins are playing less than 24 hours later in a 5 p.m. start against the Sabres at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
The Black and Gold currently don’t have an extra forward on the road trip with them as they’re carrying an unwieldy nine defensemen with the addition of Nick Holden to a group that was already eight defensemen strong. So the Bruins would need to either play with seven D-men against the Sabres or call somebody up from the P-Bruins if Bergeron’s right boot is anything more than a precautionary measure after a tough game.
TORONTO – In a tight game all the way through, the Bruins ended up falling a little short in their parting game with the Leafs before the playoffs.
Ron Hainsey scored in the final couple of minutes in the third period on a long distance shot from the point where it appeared that Zach Hyman interfered with Tuukka Rask in front of the net. But the refs overruled the goalie interference challenge from the B’s, and the Maple Leafs came away with a 4-3 win at the Air Canada Centre.
The Leafs took three of four games against the B’s in the regular season series, and won all three without the services of Auston Matthews.
The Bruins and Leafs traded goals through the first couple of periods in true back-and-forth fashion between the Atlantic Division rivals. Brad Marchand got the B’s on the board first when he sniped one past Frederik Andersen while left all alone in the high slot with all day to shoot, and then a minute later Mitch Marner scorched one past Tuukka Rask from the left face-off circle.
It was Toronto that got a quick lead on the Bruins later in the first when Kadri popped home an open PP chance after a nifty tipped JVR pass from the net-front, and then the Bruins responded again less than five minutes later. It was Marchand again this time in tight close to the net with a filthy finish under the bar after a slick backhanded dish from David Pastrnak below the goal line.
Jake DeBrusk put the Bruins out on top again in the second period when he out-skated JVR to the front of the Toronto net to redirect a Ryan Spooner pass beyond Andersen for his 12thgoal of the season. Once again the Maple Leafs power play got the equalizer in the final minute of the second period when Kadri rocketed home a shot from the high slot after playing give-and-go with Marner at the top of the PP formation.