The Bruins suffered their first big injury blow ahead of the playoffs with the news that fourth line center Sean Kuraly is going to be lost for the next month.
Kuraly suffered a fracture in his right hand during the third period of Boston’s 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, and will be out for at least four weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the hand. The play where Kuraly was injured blocking a shot actually kick-started a goal-scoring rush going the other way for Danton Heinen in the one-sided victory over the Devils.
It’s crummy timing for Kuraly as he’d just enjoyed a big two-goal game in a Tuesday night win over the New York Islanders while in the midst of a good stretch for him, and posted a strong eight goals and 21 points in 71 games for the Black and Gold this season.
With Kuraly out for at least the opening portion of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins have recalled forward Karson Kuhlman from Providence on an emergency basis while they sort out their fourth line picture. Kuhlman has 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points with a plus-23 rating in 58 games with the P-Bruins this season in his first pro campaign, and scored his first NHL goal against the San Jose Sharks last month during a stint in Boston.
While the Bruins still have a strong fourth line with Chris Wagner and Noel Acciari entering the playoffs, the B’s are absolutely going to miss the energy, two-way competitiveness and big game, clutch ability that the big-bodied Kuraly brings to the table for the Black and Gold. The B’s have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself as the fourth line proved to be one of Boston’s weak points last season when they were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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