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: