COLUMBUS — Whatever it is that ails David Krejci, the Bruins will have more to say about it Friday, according to Jim Montgomery.
“Right now, it’s day to day,” said the Bruins coach, who lost Krejci early in the second period of Thursday night’s 5-1 thumping of the Wings. “We’re going to have more information once we get imaging on him.”
Krejci, hammered along the boards by behemoth Red Wing center Michael Rasmussen, exited around the 8:10 mark of the second period and did not return. Rasmussen was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL on Friday for high-sticking Krejci a night earlier. Rasmussen was assessed a minor penalty for high-sticking midway through the second period in the Red Wings’ 5-1 loss in Boston. The suspension will cost him $15,784.
Krejci, who signed a one-year deal to return after one season playing in Czechia, remained upright immediately following the sidewall swipe by Rasmussen, but was hunkered over as he glided slowly toward the Boston bench. Obviously in pain, he uncharacteristically dropped his stick en route to the bench and then made his way directly to the dressing room.
The Bruins thus far have said only that Krejci, the elite 36-year-old pivot, suffered an upper-body injury.
Otherwise, it remains guesswork as to the nature of the injury. Given the force and type of the hit, with Krjeci’s upper body slamming against the glass, the “eyeball” evidence would suggest a shoulder injury.
“Imaging” is typically shorthand for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is often used to detect damage to the body’s soft tissue — not a diagnosis that can be ascertained from standard X-ray methods.
A serious shoulder injury, if requiring surgery, can require four months or more to heal.
It’s also possible that Rasmussen’s heavy hit left Krejci with a concussion. An MRI or CT scan of the brain are not routine for hits to the head, but one or both would be “imaging” tests the med staff could consider.
Marchand feeling fine
Brad Marchand, who returned to the lineup Thursday at full throttle, was in fine shape the next day, reported Montgomery, whose lineup here was without the high-producing winger.
“Marchand, he’s incredible, eh?” said the Montreal-raised Montgomery. “He feels great. And it’s funny, [during the game Thursday], I said, ‘Ya know, Krejci’s out.’ And he said, ‘Ya know I packed a bag, right?’”
Marchand, who connected for 2-1—3 in his first game back after surgery over the summer on both hips, was not on the postgame charter here following the win over the Winged Wheels.
Provided there are no setbacks, Marchand should be on the upcoming road trip that takes the Bruins to Pittsburgh (Tuesday), NYC vs. the Rangers (Thursday), and Toronto (Saturday).
Marchand is penciled in to play on Tuesday, and his availability to be assessed from there. He noted earlier in the week, prior to returning to action, that he still needs to build back strength around both hips — a process he said that will be ongoing throughout the season.
Pavel Zacha steps in for Krejci
Pavel Zacha moved into the No. 2 pivot spot when Krejci dropped out Thursday and the 25-year-old Czech was back there again here, centering a line that had Taylor Hall, his ex-Devils teammate, at left wing, and David Pastrnak on his right wing.
“Two great wingers,” a smiling Zacha said here prior to puck drop vs. the CBJs. “I am excited to get the opportunity to play center, and to play with two great players. I have that opportunity now to play my best.”
During Hall’s MVP [Hart] season of 2017-’18 in New Jersey, he sometimes rode with Zacha as his centerman, but more often the pivot spot went to veteran Travis Zajac. The Devils’ No. 1 PP unit that season typically found Hall on the half wall, with fellow forward Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, and Zajac, and Will Butcher at the point.
“Taylor had something like 20 game-winning goals that season,” recalled Zacha. “He was incredible.”
Hall often attacks like a center, particularly when taking puck possession in the back half of the ice and carrying it through the neutral zone and across the offensive blue line.
“And he doesn’t just throw it away — he tries to make plays,” noted Zacha. “So with him, I try to get him the puck early and then find open space [if there is a return pass].”
Pastrnak, of course, is the line’s top shooter, be it off the rush, or ready to rip one-timers if it becomes a half-court game in the offensive end.
“But he can make plays, too,” said Zacha. “So you’ve got to be ready for anything.”
Jakub Lauko returns
Jakub Lauko, demoted to AHL Providence earlier in the week, was recalled on Friday. Lauko did not get on the scoresheet, but he logged 12:16 of time on ice, including 50 seconds of penalty-killing duty. He also delivered four hits, tying Pastrnak for the most of the night.
A.J. Greer, scratched on Thursday, also drew back in at No. 3 right wing, riding with Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle.
Craig Smith, who finally scored his first goal of the season on Thursday, shimmied his way up the depth chart to No. 1 RW on Patrice Bergeron’s trio. To accommodate Smith, Jake DeBrusk shifted from right to left wing.
Ex-Blue Jacket defenseman Anton Stralman also suited up for the Bruins, sending Jakub Zboril to a fourth pairing in the press box, where most everyone is defensive.
The Bruins were blanked on two power plays, but also rubbed out all three CBJ power plays — the Jackets yet to score on the advantage in nine games (part of why they fell to 3-6-0 on the season). The Bruins, 5 for 16 on the advantage in the previous three games, have been a perfect 11 for 11 on the PK over the last three games … Coyle and Bergeron combined to win 21 of 27 playoffs, pacing the Bruins to a 58 percent win rate at the dot … Pastrnak and DeBrusk each landed a game-high six shots on net … Ex-BC standout Johnny Gaudreau fired seven times, hitting the net twice. He finished -2 ... Unlike most NHL arenas, Nationwide keeps the audioporn dialed down. Patrons actually can talk to one another throughout the night. If that sounds ridiculous, welcome to NHL 2022-’23.
Material from Associated Press was used in this report.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.