Tuukka Rask and David Pastrnak were not at Bruins practice on Monday, but Bruce Cassidy, in sticking with this week’s theme, doesn’t seem worried.
“They’re unfit to participate,” Cassidy said when asked for an update. “I expect they’ll be on the ice [Tuesday].”
He later clarified that Rask will start Game 1, “and then from there, we’ll go from there,” Cassidy said. “He’s looked sharp I think the last two games.
“I like where his game is at right now. Today he was off. I don’t want to speculate but we plan on using him tomorrow night and I believe he’ll be ready to go.”
Pastrnak skated 19:57 on Sunday, more than any Bruin forward not named Charlie Coyle (20:35). He is not known to have any injuries. Rask broke the ring finger on his catching hand while training early last month. He didn’t expect that to be a factor once the Bruins returned to action.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour wasn’t certain if star defenseman Dougie Hamilton would play in Game 1. The former Bruins first-rounder (ninth overall, 2011) has not played since breaking his left fibula in January, but he suffered a new, undisclosed injury in training camp. He practiced on Monday.
“I’m hopeful for sure,” Brind’Amour said. “He says he can go, he’s gonna go. So, positive sign is he’s practiced with us the last two days and he seems to feel better.”
Czechs Krejci, Kase find chemistry
Forever searching for solid secondary scoring, the Bruins hope Sunday’s finale against Washington was the start of a Czech connection between David Krejci and his new right wing, Ondrej Kase.
“We had an idea how we wanted to play. I thought we were close a couple times,” Krejci said of Kase, one of 21 different wingers who have taken a shift with Krejci this season. “I thought he had some jump in his game. He created a couple scoring chances for himself. He’s a really smart player so it’s fun to play with him. This was his first game in five months so I’m sure he’ll just be better each game.”
Krejci’s usual left wing, Jake DeBrusk, scored off the rush thanks to feeds from Kase and Krejci. He likes what former Duck Kase brought.
“He’s obviously a fast skater,” DeBrusk said. “He pushes the pace and I like to play that way too. I think we wanted to keep it simple today and just getting everything deep, even if it didn’t look clean in the neutral zone, just put it to an area. ... I thought it was a decent first game.”
No surge in momentum for ’Canes?
Brind’Amour, a Stanley Cup-winning captain (Hurricanes, 2006), doesn’t think his team owns an advantage since they’ve already played meaningful games. Carolina finished off its sweep of the New York Rangers last Tuesday.
“I would have said yes, for sure, if we started a day or two after that series,” he said. “Because let’s be honest: we were playing for something, and those teams in the top four seeds were just trying to get to this point healthy.
“There would have been maybe a little advantage there, but now I think that probably went away with us sitting for a week. Hope not.”
Words of experience from Staal
Current ‘Canes captain Jordan Staal debuted as an 18-year-old with Pittsburgh in 2006. He has played in 1,052 games, regular season and playoffs, which makes him the peer of Patrice Bergeron (1,228), Krejci (1,046) and Brad Marchand (862). What has he learned about ramping it up for meaningful action, as the Bruins are trying to do? “I know from past experiences, sometimes it is hard to flip that switch,” Staal said. “It can happen, and it does work sometimes. … Obviously jumping right into that Rangers series it helped us get to that level right away.” … Cassidy on Brind’Amour’s Monday comments, in which the ‘Canes coach heaped on the praise (saying the Bruins have “no weaknesses”): “Thanks Rod, we appreciate it. We always like to be thought of in that regard around the league. That was a lot of what happened last year and probably earlier this year. Right now, we’re not too focused on anything good or bad said about us, to be honest. We’re trying to get our own game in order.” … The Bruins did not have a lead at any point in the round robin. They led for all but 13:08 in the four-game sweep of Carolina last year ... Every Bruin who suited up, save for Zdeno Chara, recorded a point in last year’s series … The oldest player in the series without a Stanley Cup is Jaroslav Halak, 35. Carolina’s “old guy without a ring” is James Reimer, 31.