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