The Bruins caught a major break: Brad Marchand is OK. The No. 1 left wing tested his upper-body injury during warm-ups against Winnipeg and was in the lineup on Saturday for the 3-2 matinee victory.
“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. I didn’t really expect to play today, either. I’ve just got to give our training staff a ton of credit,” Marchand said. “Last night, I started to feel OK. I really wasn’t sure this morning, but I jumped on the ice and felt OK.
“It’s a tough decision, because last thing you want to do is put the team at a disadvantage if I did get in and had to come out at some point in the game. I was just more thankful that nothing bad happened tonight.”
Marchand, leading the Bruins and tied for 10th in the NHL with 43 points (20 goals) in 32 games entering Saturday, led Bruins forwards in ice time with 19 minutes, 35 seconds. That despite his appearing to injure his right shoulder Thursday when Washington’s Garnet Hathaway hit him into the boards.
Hathaway, who took a minor for interference, was neither fined nor suspended by the NHL’s department of player safety.
Another Bruins left wing, Anton Blidh, was unavailable. Blidh, walloped by Tom Wilson in Thursday’s game, was ruled out with an upper-body injury. Nick Foligno replaced him at No. 4 left wing, next to Tomas Nosek and Curtis Lazar.
Oskar Steen returned to the lineup, playing No. 3 right wing on a line with Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk. The group scored Boston’s first two goals, with Steen slamming home his second of the year midway through the first period and Coyle — who had the primary assist on Steen’s tally — tipping in a Derek Forbort shot early in the second.
Steven Fogarty waiting in the wings
If Marchand hadn’t been able to go, AHL call-up Steven Fogarty would have made his Bruins debut.
“I’ve been told that if not the best player, he’s been one of the best players in Providence,” coach Bruce Cassidy said, adding that the intel he’s received says Fogarty has been “consistently better” than Jakub Lauko and Jesper Frödén, two other NHL prospects on the wing.
Fogarty, 28, is not a familiar name to most Bruins fans. He was a Rangers third-round pick in 2011 out of Edina (Minn.) High. The former Notre Dame captain (2014-16) has played in 27 NHL games. He spent last year with Buffalo, appearing in nine and recording his first three NHL points (goal, two assists). He was a captain with AHL Rochester, like he was in 2019-20 with AHL Hartford.
The one-year, minimum-salary ($750,000) deal he signed on July 28 was a footnote on the day the Bruins brought in Foligno, Nosek, Forbort, Linus Ullmark, and Erik Haula; re-signed Mike Reilly; and traded Dan Vladar to Calgary for a third-round pick.
The Bruins didn’t get to see much of Fogarty in training camp. An elbow to the chin from Capitals defenseman Dylan McIlrath on Sept. 26 knocked him out of action for several weeks. McIlrath was suspended four games.
Fogarty has made an impression in Providence. Since Steen’s call-up, Fogarty (8-15–23) has been the team’s most productive scorer.
“He’s been a good offensive player for them,” Cassidy said. “He’s made some plays, accountable defensively, bigger body (6-foot-3, 205 pounds).”
Fogarty would be the second of the minor-league free agents Don Sweeney signed that day to see varsity action this season. Defenseman Tyler Lewington has played in two games.
Getting the goal in order
Tuukka Rask made it two wins in three starts this season, stopping all 13 shots he saw in the final two periods and 22 of 24 total against the Jets. Cassidy wasn’t ready to commit to a plan that sees either Rask or Ullmark take a majority share of the workload before the game. “We’ve got to get Tuukka reps,” Cassidy said. “I don’t know if that’ll be five, six, seven starts before we say, ‘He’s back to where we feel he’ll be,’ and go from there” . . . The Bruins are off Sunday, which will allow Matt Grzelcyk to rest. Grzelcyk took an awkward hit from Pierre-Luc Dubois in the first and appeared to be favoring his right shoulder. He returned, skating 13:35 and recording an assist on David Pastrnak’s winner. “There could be,” Cassidy said, when asked if there could be residual effects from the hit. “We’ll know more tomorrow” . . . In Grzelcyk’s absence, a minor penalty to Forbort, and fighting majors for Brandon Carlo and Connor Clifton, ice time totals inflated for Charlie McAvoy (27:13) and Urho Vaakanainen (23:09) . . . Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who spent three seasons with the Bruins (2008-11), returned after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. The 35-year-old had a 1-16–17 line in 22 games. He had 50 goals and 60 assists in 221 regular-season games here before a February 2011 trade to Atlanta . . . Winnipeg placed winger Nikolaj Ehlers (12-12—25 in 34 games) on injured reserve after he took a knee-on-knee hit from Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov on Tuesday. Orlov, who missed Thursday’s game in Boston, was suspended two games . . . The Jets are 4-3-1 under interim coach Dave Lowry. Nine-year coach Paul Maurice stepped down Dec. 17, saying a new voice was needed. The Jets were 13-11-5 at the time. Lowry’s son, Adam Lowry, is the club’s third-line center.