BRIGHTON -- The Bruins are obviously happy to be in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but they're limping their way in.
Both Torey Krug (lower body) and Brandon Carlo (upper body), a couple of top-4 defensemen all season for the B’s, are “unlikely” to be ready to go when Boston's first-round series against Ottawa opens on Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Center. In addition, gritty fourth-liner Noel Acciari (upper body) will also be out at the start of the series.
And Anton Khudobin continues to “not feel well” as he undergoes follow-up medical testing after exiting midway through Boston’s regular-season finale on Saturday because of illness. He was replaced by emergency recall goalie Zane McIntyre for practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning.
Krug suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury in last week’s shootout loss to the very same Ottawa Senators, and exited the Garden that night on crutches with a bulky brace on his knee. Carlo’s head slammed into the glass above the boards on a play in the corner with Alex Ovechkin Saturday against the Caps, and it certainly appears the 20-year-old D-man suffered a concussion.
Their absences paved the way for Charlie McAvoy’s promotion to the NHL.
“Torey will be unlikely to play to start the series, for sure, and Carlo will definitely not play in Game 1,” said general manager Don Sweeney. “We don’t have the answer [for return timetables] as of today. At this time of the year things are going to be pretty vague with the injuries to players, but Noel Acciari also won’t be playing in Game 1.”
With the injuries it’s expected Colin Miller will also draw in as a regular among the top-6 group, and that Tim Schaller fits right back in for Acciari after returning from his own lower body injury.
The absence of those two defensemen, including a prime puck-mover like Krug, against a trap-happy team like the Senators is going to be a key factor in the playoff series, and could very well tip the balances in the Sens favor.