A surprise for Game 2: No David Pastrnak. The Bruins leading scorer was deemed “unfit to participate,” the team announced before puck drop, and will be a game-time decision for Saturday’s Game 3.
“Questionable from the game yesterday,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We don’t believe it will be a long-term. It’s a day-to-day thing, we hope. Obviously targeting Saturday at noon … tough to test it, get out skating in a morning skate type of thing.”
Cassidy said in his noontime press availability that he expected to use the same lineup from the double-overtime win in Game 1 — of which Pastrnak (goal, assist in 24:58) was a big factor — if everyone was healthy.
The Bruins had an optional skate Thursday morning in Toronto. Pastrnak was spotted stretching with several teammates in a photo, posted by the Bruins, of players at BMO Field, the soccer stadium inside the NHL bubble in Toronto.
Several broadcast outlets, including NESN, speculated pregame that Pastrnak may have hurt himself jumping for joy after Bergeron’s double-OT winning goal. On video, Pastrnak can be seen landing awkwardly, with his feet pointed outward at 45-degree angles. He was in clear discomfort, wincing and exhaling with a concerned look as he celebrated with his joyous teammates.
Anders Bjork began the night in Pastrnak’s spot at No. 1 right wing, next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Replacing Bjork on the third line: Karson Kuhlman, 24, who played two games in the round robin (zero points, five shots). He fought his way into the lineup for eight playoff games last year (1-2—3), capping his debut season.
Marchand (21:14) and David Krejci (21:05) were used heavily in Pastrnak’s absence. Kuhlman (9:42) was not.
Cassidy said Bjork, who skated 11:21, was promising in his second true playoff game.
“He did some good things,” Cassidy said. “Need him to be a little harder in certain situations. Every play matters in the playoffs.”
The Hurricanes made several lineup changes, most notably in net. James Reimer started his first playoff game since 2013, when he was on the losing end of the Bruins’ three-goal comeback against Toronto in Game 7 of the first round. Petr Mrazek, despite coach Rod Brind’Amour praising him as “locked in” after Game 1, was sat.
Carolina also activated No. 3 right wing Justin Williams and Sami Vatanen, both of whom were “unfit to play” in Game 1, and subbed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk for Game 1 goal-scorer Joel Edmundson (unfit). Defenseman Jake Gardiner and forward Nino Niederreiter were also scratched.
Despite short rest, Tuukka Rask gets start
The last time the Bruins had playoff games on consecutive days was in the first-round series vs. Toronto in April 2013, Games 6 and 7.
Goalie Tuukka Rask, then 26, started both games.
Seven years and a few months later, Rask was on the clock for Game 2 against Carolina, finishing the unexpected Wednesday-Thursday set by stopping 23 of 26 shots.
Coach Bruce Cassidy pointed to three factors when asked why he went with Rask, who started all 24 playoff games in last year’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, and — not counting the round-robin play in 2020 — has made 79 consecutive playoff starts for Boston.
“How’s Tuukka feeling coming out of the game? He felt fine,” Cassidy said. “Was there a lot of wear and tear to the point where recovery would require more than 24 hours or 30 hours? I don’t think so.
“It was pretty clean in front of him, not a lot of stretches where — demanding stretches. Still, it was four periods of hockey. He had to be ready on his toes the whole game.”
Cassidy also said the timing of the games helped Rask’s case. The unusual 11 a.m. start for Game 1 left him extra hours to recover for the 8 p.m. puck drop for Game 2. The Bruins also didn’t have to travel.
“We went to the rink and back here to the hotel,” Cassidy said, speaking from the team’s base at Hotel X in Toronto. “So that had a lot to do with it.”
Brind’Amour, who was fined $25,000 for comments he made about the league and officiating after Game 1, did not wish to elaborate before Thursday’s puck drop.
“Moving on,” he said.
On Wednesday, Brind’Amour asserted that the review after Coyle’s second-period goal was “a joke” and “a crime scene.”
He did have a day-after take on Game 1.
“It was worse watching it back than it was live, so that didn’t sit that well,” Brind’Amour said. “We weren’t very good. They did exactly what they wanted to do. We’re going to have to change that up if we’re going to win this.”
Dougie Hamilton skated 24:20 and scored the winner, showing no ill effects from his long layoff. His 26:48 in the double-OT Game 1 was his first action since Jan. 16. “He handled it really well,” Brind’Amour said . . . The Bruins have another back-to-back set in Games 5 and 6 (Wednesday-Thursday), if necessary. Cassidy has not said whether he plans to use goalie Jaroslav Halak in one of those games . . . If the Bruins clinch this series in Game 6, they could have at least four days off. The second round is tentatively scheduled to start Aug. 25 . . . Cassidy began his postgame comments with a thought for Claude Julien, now bench boss in Montreal, who was hospitalized Thursday with chest pains. “We’re wishing him a healthy recovery,” Cassidy said. “Our best goes out to Karen and the kids.” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Julien is not expected to return for the duration of the team’s first-round series against Philadelphia. Julien, 60, holds the Bruins all-time record for regular season wins (419) and won the 2011 Stanley Cup . . . Cassidy sits tied with Mike Milbury for fifth place on the Bruins’ all-time playoff wins leaders (23). Harry Sinden (24), Don Cherry (31), and Art Ross (32) are in reach this postseason, but Cassidy would need a couple more long runs to catch Julien (57).
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.