After three long years away, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are back in Boston. And one of the staples of meaningful springtime hockey in town, Bruins center David Krejci, may join in on the fun as well.

David Krejci will be a gametime decision tonight. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bruins center David Krejci took part in the morning skate and will be a gametime decision tonight. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

After three long years away, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are back in Boston. And one of the staples of meaningful springtime hockey in town, Bruins center David Krejci, may join in on the fun as well.

Out of action for the first two games of this series, which comes to TD Garden tied at 1-1, Krejci was a full participant in today’s morning skate and will also take part in the game’s pregame warmup with the hopes that he’s ready to return from his upper-body injury.

“We’ll see how it goes tonight,” Krejci, who took part in Game 1’s pregame skate but was deemed unavailable shortly before puck drop, said when asked if he’s ready to play. “I felt better yesterday, today I felt better than yesterday, so we’ll see how it goes.”

“Krejci will be a gametime decision, he’ll go for warmups,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed. “He obviously skated this morning, [he’s] feeling better.”

The 30-year-old Krejci took the first line rushes between a line with Drew Stafford on the left and David Backes on the right, and after playing in all 82 games during the regular season, Krejci has an itch to get back into action.

“It was really disappointing. Playing all 82 games and then you have to miss the first two games of the playoffs, it was definitely disappointing, frustrating, but what can you do?” Krejci, who scored 23 goals and 54 points (both ranked as the third-most among B’s skaters) this season, said. “You gotta work hard to get back at it, I’ve been doing that, and see how it goes tonight.”

Krejci, who has twice led the postseason in scoring in his NHL career, has 29 goals and 77 points in 93 career postseason tilts.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

The Bruins need one of their injured defensemen back and soon. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)If the Bruins are even remotely healthy, I don’t even think this first round series with the Senators is all that close.



The Bruins still do not who their sixth defenseman will be tomorrow, but it doesn’t sound like it will be Brandon Carlo.

The Bruins do not expect Brandon Carlo to play in Game 3. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins do not expect Brandon Carlo to play in Game 3. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins still do not who their sixth defenseman will be tomorrow, but it doesn’t sound like it will be Brandon Carlo.

Injured in the regular season finale on a hit from Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin that drove Carlo into the boards face first, the 20-year-old Carlo has missed the first two games of the club’s round one series with the Senators with what’s been called an upper-body injury, but was back on the ice for today’s optional practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

In a workout short on any sort of real battle drills, Carlo’s skate was ‘OK’ according to Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, and while that’s a sign of progress, it’s not one that’s expected to land the first-year pro back in the lineup for a pivotal Game 3 at TD Garden.

“He’s day-to-day,” Cassidy said of Carlo. “But tomorrow is doubtful.”

Carlo, one of three Bruins players to have skated in all 82 games during the regular season, recorded six goals and 16 points, along with a plus-9 rating and 20:48 of ice-time per night.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton has had a hell of season in Calgary, but don’t tell Calgary’s broadcast team that.

In his second season with the Flames since demanding a trade out of Boston, the former ninth overall pick in 2011 recorded a career-best 13 goals and 50 points during the regular season, which ranked as the ninth-most points among NHL defenders.

The playoffs have been a bit of a different story for the 6-foot-5 defenseman, however, as he’s taken four minors in two games of the club’s round one series with the Ducks, including the penalty that led to Anaheim’s game-winning goal late in last night’s Game 2.

He, and everyone else for that matter, heard about it, too, as the Flames broadcast team went off on Hamilton, seemingly unaware that their mics were on.

(Watch and listen to their comments here.)

Announcer one: “Brodie’s is … that’s just a complete lack of … you got no composure when you’re doing that. He’s down already.”

Announcer two: “If you don’t rip Dougie Hamilton, I will. Stupidest [expletive] penalty you can take.”

Announcer one: “How about the T.J. Brodie one, too? But you’re right, that Dougie Hamilton one.”

Announcer two: “Does he have a [expletive] brain?”

Announcer one: “He doesn’t. He’s stupid as [expletive].”

Announcer two: “I don’t know him that well.”

Announcer one: “He’s not an intelligent guy.”

Announcer two: “You’re Mr. Flames, so you probably know him better than I do.”

Woof, that is rough.

Hamilton and the Flames, by the way, did not agree with the call.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Adam McQuaid was injured in the first period of Saturday's Game 2 loss to the Senators. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

Adam McQuaid was injured in the first period of Saturday’s Game 2 loss to the Senators. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

At this rate, the Bruins are going to run out of defensemen by Game 5.

The Bruins lost Torey Krug in the 81st game of the regular season. He has yet to return. The Bruins then lost Brandon Carlo in the 82nd game of the season. He’s still out of action. Colin Miller fell to a lower-body injury in Game 1 on Wednesday, and was not deemed ready to go for today’s Game 2 after a Friday practice that finished without Miller on the ice. And now, after just a few shifts in the first period of Saturday’s Game 2 meeting at the Canadian Tire Center, Adam McQuaid has made it four games and four injuries for the B’s battered defense.

Down the tunnel with six minutes left in the first period after seven shifts and 2:47 of ice-time, McQuaid’s injury (labeled an upper-body injury) immediately dropped the B’s, who were already dressing Joe Morrow for his first NHL game since Jan. 22, down to five defensemen.

And while they were able to survive his departure for a little while behind a massive uptick in minutes for Kevan Miller and Charlie McAvoy, the loss of the hard-hitting McQuaid ultimately showed the longer the game went on.

With McQuaid out, the Sens’ path to the front of the Boston net was met with far less resistance, and the time on ice logged by the Bruins’ remaining defense corps soared. Chara finished the night with a season-high 30:09 of time on ice, McAvoy finished with 27:49 and Miller had 27:29, and even Morrow was heavily utilized, with 19:59 of time on ice and 12 third period shifts.

“[Zdeno Chara] had a lot of minutes tonight. Charlie [McAvoy] played a lot of minutes,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But on the positive side, Joe Morrow got thrown into a situation and did a nice job for us. Stepped in, did his job. That’s just hockey. They lost a guy, too, early. It happens. We’re on a bad run, let’s face it, that’s four games in a row we’ve lost a guy early.

“But you just gotta suck it up and play.”

The Bruins are running out of bodies to play, though, especially if McQuaid’s issue lingers and the Bruins do not get one of Krug, Carlo, or Miller back for Monday’s Game 3 meeting in Boston. If they’re injured, the Bruins would have to reach down to Providence and pluck a defender up to the big club. The most likely candidates would be three players that have played in Boston over the last two seasons in one of AHL veteran Tommy Cross or first-year pros Matt Grzelcyk or Robbie O’Gara.

Cross last played in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, with an assist in three NHL games, and has recorded 12 goals and 35 points in 73 games for the P-Bruins this season. Grzelcyk played in two games for the B’s this season, with zero points and four shots on goal, and O’Gara cracked the club’s opening night lineup and played in three games to begin the season.

The problem with all three, however, is that they’re left-shot defenders and McQuaid is a righty.

 

But the Bruins can’t stress about that stuff until they know the status of McQuaid.

“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Cassidy said of McQuaid.

McQuaid led all Bruins defensemen in hits (157) and blocked shots (144) during the regular season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

The second period was where things almost fell apart for the Bruins in Game 1. But like they have in almost every game since Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien in February, the Bruins adjusted and put forth what was probably their best period of a five-frame sample.

The Senators overcame a 3-1 deficit to win Game 2. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

The Senators overcame a 3-1 deficit to win Game 2. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

The second period was where things almost fell apart for the Bruins in Game 1. But like they have in almost every game since Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien in February, the Bruins adjusted and put forth what was probably their best period of a five-frame sample.

And they did it with yet another defensive injury, too.

But it was the third period where the Black and Gold allowed the Senators to take control of this game and ultimately paved the way for a 4-3 overtime final that will send this series back to Boston tied at 1-1.

The Bruins first scored when Drew Stafford finally capitalized on what felt like a game’s worth of chances at the 9:47 mark of the middle frame. For Stafford, it was career playoff goal No. 5, and stood after a lengthy review following a challenge from Sens coach Guy Boucher to determine whether or not Stafford was offside on the zone entry that came 15 seconds before the goal.

The challenge didn’t work, but a power play right did, as Clarke MacArthur buried his first goal in over two years with a top-shelf goal sniped on Tuukka Rask just 1:10 after the Stafford goal.

Back on the penalty kill just three seconds later, the Bruins caught a serious break and made Ottawa pay when Craig Anderson regrettably ventured out for a loose puck that was picked off by Dominic Moore, and charged towards the net before Tim Schaller swooped in and banged home a shorthanded tally for the first playoff goal of his career.

With the lead back in their control, the Bruins did what they’ve really set out to do this in this series and extended their edge to two when Patrice Bergeron came through with a magnificent tip on a David Pastrnak bomb for a 3-1 edge.

After a shotless middle period in Game 1, the Bruins came through a three-goal — with each goal scored in a different facet of the game, with an even-strength goal and two special team tallies — stanza and with a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes of action.

…Then, as mentioned, the third period happened.

Chris Wideman scored a seeing-eye wrister that got through a screened Rask at the 5:28 mark of the period. Then Erik Karlsson did some Erik Karlsson thing and simply danced around the Bruins before he fed Derick Brassard for a goal that knotted things up at 3-3. An 8-to-6 third frame didn’t end without one last mistake from the Bruins, however, as Bruins captain and minute-eater Zdeno Chara committed an inexcusable puck over the glass penalty with just 12 seconds left in the frame.

Oof.

The penalty was likely one inspired by fatigue, as it put an end to a stretch that included the 40-year-old captain playing in 3:45 of the last five minutes of hockey to that point, but one that still hurt because of its timing and from the fact that Chara did not really have an Ottawa skater challenging at the attacking blue line, which meant that a simple off the boards clear would have done the job even better than an up-high clear attempt would.

In the overtime with almost the full two minutes to kill, the Bruins continued to mismanage the puck, and it was on a botched clear — even with Chara out of the box — from Brad Marchand that kept the Senators into the B’s end, and allowed Dion Phaneuf to hammer a puck through traffic and into Rask’s net for their third goal in about 16 minutes to complete the comeback.

From a 2-0 lead to a 1-1 lock, and with the Bruins losing Adam McQuaid to an upper-body injury in this game, the Bruins and Sens are officially locked into a series, with Monday’s Game 3 in Boston looming large for the suddenly limping B’s.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Bruins will look to grab a 2-0 series lead today in Ottawa. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins will look to grab a 2-0 series lead today in Ottawa. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins are running out of healthy bodies.

Without forward Noel Acciari and defensemen Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug for the start of this round one series against the Senators, top six center David Krejci was a late scratch from Game 1, and Colin Miller was injured in that game thanks to a knee-on-knee hit from Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. And the former three will once again remain out of action for today’s Game 2, as will the latter duo.

“He’s unavailable,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krejci following Friday’s skate in Ottawa. “He’ll be day-to-day. He wasn’t very good [Friday]. We were hoping he’d skate…didn’t happen. Not playing for four days is going to be difficult.”

Down Krejci, Ryan Spooner will take over the second line duties, with Drew Stafford and David Backes as his wings. It’s a line that desperately needs some production to their name, especially at five-on-five, as relying on the star-studded top line with Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak could only spell trouble for a Black and Gold that struggled to find the middle of the ice for the majority of Wednesday’s Game 1 win.

On the backend, Miller’s absence will plug Joe Morrow back into NHL action for the first time since Jan. 22. He last skated in any sort of game action back in late February during a three-game conditioning stint with the P-Bruins that included one goal and eight shots on goal. And Morrow, who had one assist in 17 regular season contests this past season, will begin his night on a third pairing with Kevan Miller, a talent that he has familiarity with dating back his first season in the B’s organization.

“In Providence when I had them both years ago they were a good, solid shutdown pair,” Cassidy, who coached the P-Bruins for five years before jumping up to the B’s staff this year, said of the Morrow-Miller pair. “Now, it was the American Hockey League, I’m dating myself by probably three years ago, but there was a comfort level there, so that’s probably how it would shape up.”

Still, the loss of Krejci and Miller — along with the known absences of Acciari, Carlo, and Krug — are significant for this team, if only because these players hardly missed any time this season. Among the regulars (everybody except Acciari), they missed just a combined seven games this season, six of which from Miller behind a January lower-body ailment.

Tuukka Rask gets the call in the Boston net. The 30-year-old Rask stopped 26-of-27 shots in his Game 1 victory, and enters play with stops on all but five of the last 167 shots thrown his way (a .970 save percentage) in his last seven games played.

Ottawa counters with Craig Anderson, who yielded two even-strength goals to the Bruins for the first time all season in Wednesday’s defeat in what finished as a 23-of-25 showing for the veteran netminder.

Since 2007, the Bruins have taken a 2-0 series lead in five of 16 playoff series, and have won all but one of those five series (2010’s unforgettable second-round choke to the Flyers is that lone series loss).

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Drew Stafford – Ryan Spooner – David Backes

Frank Vatrano – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash

Matt Beleskey – Sean Kuraly – Tim Schaller

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

John-Michael Liles – Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow – Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson