The Bruins said Saturday morning that defenseman Brandon Carlo “will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis” after an upper-body injury in Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Carlo missed 25 days and 10 games after a concussion stemming from a March 5 hit by Washington’s Tom Wilson. Wilson was suspended seven games and fined more than $300,000.
Thursday was Carlo’s second game since that incident, his second documented concussion in a five-year career. He was not at Friday’s practice in Brighton.
After Saturday’s game, coach Bruce Cassidy clarified that Carlo “definitely” has a new injury, unrelated to his concussion.
“Upper body, below the neck, if that helps you,” Cassidy said. “Just got hit in an awkward spot.”
Carlo’s injury may have occurred with 1:12 left in the first period on Thursday. Carlo’s left arm and shoulder seemed to take the brunt of a collision into the end boards, as he raced for a loose puck with Penguins winger Brandon Tanev.
After his team allowed five goals on Saturday, Cassidy didn’t blame his six-pack of defensemen, though he is looking for more beyond Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk.
Jakub Zboril and Steven Kampfer were OK, in Cassidy’s view. They moved the puck fairly well, but they are not ideal against heavier lines. Jarred Tinordi, returning after four healthy scratches, and partner Connor Clifton “need to be cleaner,” Cassidy said. “I’ll have to look closer to see where chemistry was or wasn’t, and go from there.”
Cassidy, who sat Jeremy Lauzon after a pair of rough games, remains wary of overloading McAvoy (down to 25:24 of ice time on Saturday, after playing 29:45 on Thursday). This was a concern entering the season. The Bruins believed they could trim his minutes by leaning on Carlo and Kevan Miller to kill penalties, but the absence of both (and Lauzon’s struggles) means that rather than rely on Kampfer (more of a puck mover than penalty killer), and Clifton, Cassidy may have to use his best all-around defender in key situations.
“A little more falls on McAvoy, again,” Cassidy said. “A lot has this year for him. But that’s it. Nothing we can do about it. Forwards have to understand that when other D go in that haven’t played as much, they’ve got to support them. Our system is based on that. And help them out a little bit until they get their feet under them.”
Krejci: 500 club
David Pastrnak was on the way to the bench for some glove taps after his second-period goal gave Boston a 2-1 lead. He made sure to scoop up the puck for David Krejci, whose assist was No. 500 of his career.
“He’s a playmaker, so it means a lot,” Pastrnak said of Krejci, whom he considered an idol while growing up in Havirov, Czech Republic. “Not many Czech players have done it.”
Krejci became the fifth Czech to reach 500 assists. The others: Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, Pastrnak’s buddy Jakub Voracek, and Vinny Prospal. Krejci is now 154th in career assists and seventh among Bruins (16 behind Wayne Cashman).
Krejci also became the first Bruin in recent memory — dating back several seasons — to go helmetless in warm-ups. He had his long strip of hair pulled back in what is known as a “man bun.”
“Just trying to change it up,” he said.
Pastrnak, whose flashy pastel suits often make a fashion statement, wondered if it would become a trend.
“I guess we’ll see Monday,” he said. “He looked pretty good.”
It wasn’t the only milestone Saturday. Krejci’s longtime teammate, Patrice Bergeron, pulled into a fourth-place tie with Rick Middleton on the Bruins’ scoring list (898 points).
Among all NHLers, the first-year captain is 117th all time, 63 points shy of top-100 status.
On his second-period assist to Marchand, Grzelcyk wheeled around the net like his old Boston University partner, McAvoy. Grzelcyk also took a pair of hard hits, both of which left him doubled-over on the bench. He finished the game, logging 19:08 … Nick Ritchie played hard for his pair of assists, forechecking on one, and on the other bowling over Mike Matheson at the Penguins’ blue line and breaking two on one with Pastrnak, who cashed his short saucer pass to make it 6-4 in the third … Craig Smith submitted his first two-assist game as a Bruin, riding with Bergeron (goal) and Marchand (hat trick) … The Bruins rolled out an all-kid fourth line, with Trent Frederic on the left, Jack Studnicka at center, and Zach Senyshyn on the right. Cassidy on Senyshyn, before puck drop: “He brought some physicality the other night. We’re going to try to string some games together for him as best we can, and see where it leads.” It didn’t amount to much Saturday. Each landed at least a hit, but none of them attempted a shot. Studnicka led the way in ice time with 8:13 … Sean Kuraly (minus-2) returned after a six-game stay on the COVID-19 list … Chris Wagner took his eighth healthy scratch in 11 games.