TORONTO — On Sunday night, the Bruins were without defenseman Andrew Ference for the second time this series.
Ference was unavailable for Game 6 because of an undisclosed injury. He did not practice Saturday at TD Garden or travel with the team to Toronto. It is unknown whether Ference will be available for Monday night’s Game 7. He was one of four Bruins to play in all 48 regular-season games.
“Didn’t make the trip for the right reasons,” coach Claude Julien said. “We’re heading back home tonight, one way or another. He’s day-to-day.”
Ference played 23:41 in the Bruins’ 2-1 loss in Game 5 Friday night at TD Garden. It was the third-highest amount on the team after Zdeno Chara (28:06) and Dennis Seidenberg (28:01). Ference recorded one shot, three hits, and two blocked shots. In the second period, he couldn’t handle a puck on the power play, which led to Tyler Bozak’s game-opening shorthanded goal.
Ference was suspended for Game 2 because of his illegal check to the head of Mikhail Grabovski in Game 1. The Bruins lost Game 2, 4-2.
Ference’s status further muddied the Bruins’ defense. Wade Redden didn’t play in Game 5 because of an undisclosed injury. He returned to the lineup in Game 6, but most likely not at 100 percent. Redden had zero shots and one block in 17:33 of ice time.
Because Ference was missing and Redden was banged up, the Bruins shifted Seidenberg away from Chara. Johnny Boychuk replaced Seidenberg as Chara’s partner, and Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid served as the No. 2 pairing. Redden and Dougie Hamilton were the third-pairing defensemen.
It was the first time Hamilton dressed since Game 2. Hamilton was credited with a team-high five hits in 10:49 of ice time. He did not see regular power-play action.
Aaron Johnson is healthy and a left-shot defenseman, but he only appeared in 10 regular-season games.
Johnson last dressed March 30 against Philadelphia. He would have had to clear waivers to report to Providence. Johnson was only eligible for one conditioning stint without having to go through waivers.
“We would have loved to have given him an opportunity to play and play in Providence,” Julien said. “But the CBA doesn’t allow it. It’s kind of played against him. Right now, we’ve got a player who hasn’t played in a long time. It’s tough for him.”
The Bruins planned to fly to Boston after the loss, but their flight was canceled because of a mechanical issue with their charter. The Bruins remained in Toronto overnight and planned to fly home Monday morning. The Leafs flew to Boston after the game.
The delay altered the Bruins’ routine significantly. They would have touched down early Monday morning. In all likelihood, they would have scrubbed their morning skate, slept in, and reported to the Garden in the afternoon.
Instead, they will have to play Game 7 after flying in the morning. It will be the first game the Bruins will play this season when they have traveled on the same day.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch for Game 6. Bartkowski, who played only 6:40 in Game 5, was coming off a five-game first-round dogfight for Providence against Hershey. “It’s different speed-wise and size-wise,” Bartkowski said of the NHL playoffs. “Maybe a little more intense. But it’s pretty similar because all in all, it’s all playoff hockey. There’s going to be a couple differences here and there. We had a lot of adversity in the minors. It was good to be a part of that and good to battle through that. It helped a lot.” . . . James van Riemsdyk was on the Philadelphia club in 2010 that rallied from an 0-3 deficit to claim the second-round series against the Bruins. “It’s tough to really compare something like that,” van Riemsdyk said before Game 6. “You’ve got to have that belief in yourself, first and foremost. I think we have to have that belief that we can go out there and win a hockey game. That’s what we’re going to have to do tonight — win one game and take it one game at a time. We know it’s going to be a big challenge. They’re a strong group over there. They’ve been a great team all year long and won a Cup two years ago. We know a lot’s at stake. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.” . . . The Bruins won 40 of 60 faceoffs. Chris Kelly went 11 for 14 to lead the charge . . . Chara led all players with 28:26 of ice time. He had two shots and five hits . . . The Bruins landed only one shot in 1:24 of power-play time . . . Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, and Carl Soderberg joined Bartkowski and Johnson as healthy scratches . . . Monday will mark the sixth Game 7 the Bruins will have played in seven playoff series.