BRIGHTON, Mass – It looks like Austin Czarnik will get at least one more game in the Bruins lineup tonight with Noel Acciari expected to return on the road Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.
So, Acciari (lower body) will miss his seventh consecutive game and Czarnik gets his fourth game in a row with the fourth line skating with Sean Kuraly and Tim Schaller. Kevan Miller (upper body) skated on his own prior practice Saturday and may be in line to return next week.
The undersized, shifty Czarnik certainly gives a different dimension to the fourth line than the hard-hitting Acciari but has been productive with three assists in his three games since being recalled from Providence.
In short, Czarnik, 25, an All-Star in the AHL this season, has done the job for the Black and Gold when injuries created an opening for him on the wing.
“[Czarnik] has been good. He’s complemented that line in a different way than Noel [Acciari] would or Frank [Vatrano]. We want him to play with a high-motor. That’s the catch-phrase we’ve used with him, especially playing on the wing where there are no restrictions to playing on pucks,” said Bruce Cassidy. Czarnik is also a plus-2 with one shot on net in the three games after putting up 13 goals and 42 points in 38 games for the P-Bruins. “I think that’s freed him up to be a little bit more of a puck-pursuit guy and I think that’s helped him. He won a puck battle on the wall the other night that led to a goal and we’ve asked him to improve there. So that’s good.
"He wants to be a part of it. He has been around a while and he’s certainly had success at the American League level. Now he wants to do it here. He’s done what we’ve asked: He’s been on the power play and played a little bit on the penalty kill. I like that he has versatility, so with time and score situations he’s been an asset.”
Unfortunately, there may not be a spot for him when Acciari makes his expected return to the fourth line on Sunday, but that’s more a statement of Boston’s current depth up front than any knock on what Czarnik has done. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Sabres based on Saturday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:
BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will have to wait and see if they have a shot at getting a little healthier for this weekend after Noel Acciari returned to full practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.
Acciari was able to take contact and was without limitations as the Bruins prepare for Saturday night’s game with the Buffalo Sabres, but both Kevan Miller (upper body) and Frank Vatrano (lower body) again missed practice, are still day-to-day and won’t play on Saturday against the Sabres.
“[Acciari] skated today with us full, so that’s very encouraging,” said Bruce Cassidy of his fourth line banger, who has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury. “We’ll look at him again [Saturday] morning, but he’s getting closer. I’m not going to pencil him in or out for [Saturday vs. Buffalo]. We’ll reassess the rest of those guys on Sunday.”
Anders Bjork (upper body) also remains out for the Black and Gold and was last seen around TD Garden sporting a sling for his injured arm. On the ice, the Bruins continued putting in a hard day’s work with a team that’s gone 27-4-4 since the middle of November, and are prepping for their second set of back-to-backs this week after playing in Detroit and New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday nights respectively.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings with Tuukka Rask named the starter for Saturday night’s game vs. Buffalo, and Anton Khudobin getting the call for Sunday night’s showdown against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center:
BRIGHTON, Mass – It looked like the Bruins were going to pay a price for last night’s bruising loss to the Anaheim Ducks, and so they have with the emergency call-up of Peter Cehlarik from Providence.
Noel Acciari (lower body) and Anders Bjork (upper body) were both missing from B’s practice on Wednesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena and it certainly looks as if they won’t be available Thursday night at TD Garden against the St. Louis Blues.
On the bright side, David Backes was back on the ice after catching a late, high hit from Ducks forward Nick Ritchie and didn’t look any worse for wear after exiting in the third period. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Cehlarik has one goal and one assist for two points in five games with Boston this season and has six goals and 13 points with a plus-four rating in 17 games with Providence. Cehlarik also adds a little more of a size and strength element on the wing that might have been a little lacking against the big, heavy Ducks, and could be interesting paired with the equally big, strong Backes.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings, with Acciari and Bjork missing, based on practice Wednesday: