The uphill climb for the Bruins in their second-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning just got a little tougher with the news that defenseman Torey Krug's series is over. Krug was knocked out of Friday night’s Game 4 in the third period when he was pushed from behind into the corner boards by Tampa forward Alex Killorn and was spotted leaving TD Garden postgame outfitted in a walking boot and crutches.
The Bruins D-man was initially just ruled out of Sunday’s Game 5 when Bruce Cassidy spoke with reporters on Saturday afternoon, but the Bruins later released a statement from B’s team doctor Peter Asnis that erased any chances of him playing over the next three possible games against Tampa Bay should Boston win out. Krug suffered a left ankle injury that actually looked pretty nasty when watching the replays of his feet-first tumble into the boards, and the Bruins medical staff will need the few days to determine the severity of the injury.
“Torey Krug injured his left ankle during Game 4 of the second round playoff series on Friday, May 4,” said Asnis in the statement. “He will not be available for the remainder of this series as he undergoes additional testing to determine the full extent of the injury. Further information will be made available after all testing is complete.”
Even if the Bruins were to somehow come back from down 3-1 in the series, the likelihood is that Krug is done for the postseason with a substantial ankle injury and that the B’s are going to need to make up for his absence. That’s a tall order given that Krug is their best offensive D-man and the top scorer (three goals and 12 points in 11 games) from the back end in this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs, and that he plays a key role working the point on Boston’s deadly top power-play unit.
During this series in particular, the Bruins PP is important to the success they’re going to have against the Lightning, and losing one of their big PP cogs could really foul up the special teams chemistry they’ve built over the last few months.
The Bruins will insert Nick Holden into the lineup as a viable substitute given his offensive PP skills and his ability as a top-4 D-man with the Rangers and Wild over the last handful of years, but it’s clear that the Bruins are going to miss Krug’s explosive offense, and the big minutes he can absorb, in a big, big way.