LOS ANGELES — Jake DeBrusk, scoring at the highest rate of his five-plus seasons with the Bruins, has been placed on long-term injured reserve after suffering a pair of injuries during Monday’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park and could be sidelined for a month or more.
The Bruins recalled veteran winger Chris Wagner from AHL Providence ahead of their game Thursday night in Los Angeles.
In a statement Thursday morning, the Bruins reported only that DeBrusk suffered “hand and lower-body” injuries in the win over the Penguins and noted that his expected recovery time would be “approximately four weeks.”
DeBrusk, spotted postgame Monday with a walking boot on his left foot, was hit twice by shots to the lower body in the third period. Late in the first period, he left a power play in pain and could be seen shaking his left arm and wrist as he sat on the bench.
The fleet-footed DeBrusk, 26, on pace for a career-high 35 goals, did not make Tuesday’s team flight to Los Angeles, where the Bruins met the Kings at the start of a three-game road trip.
Generally, bone fractures require six weeks to heal, a timeline that would suggest DeBrusk could be sidelined more than a month. Allowing for an added week to regain his conditioning once the fracture mends, that timeline would target his return on or around the Feb. 20 matinee at TD Garden vs. the Senators. The Bruins play 18 times before then.
If DeBrusk were to miss only a month — and early returns have been the trend around here — the Bruins might be targeting Feb. 1 vs. Toronto, their last game before the All-Star break. They don’t play again until the Capitals visit Feb. 11.
Coach Jim Montgomery, who said he was unaware during Monday’s action that DeBrusk was injured, moved David Pastrnak back into DeBrusk’s No. 1 right wing spot, next to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The second line was Taylor Hall (LW) and Pavel Zacha (RW) riding with David Krejci.
DeBrusk was hit by a shot from teammate Matt Grzelcyk prior to scoring his first goal, the 1-1 equalizer. Later, he was hit by a shot off the stick of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.
DeBrusk, who had requested the Bruins trade him prior to the start of last season, scored both of the club’s goals, both in the third period, in the comeback win. They were his fourth and fifth goals over the last six games.
With a line of 16-14—30 across the club’s first 37 games, DeBrusk exits the lineup as the Bruins’ No. 3 scorer, behind Pastrnak (50) and Marchand (31).
Late last season, the Bruins added two years to DeBrusk’s contract, with a cap hit of $4 million, carrying him through the 2023-24 season. He is on target to become an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, 2024.
Following the matchup with the Kings, the Bruins stop in San Jose Saturday and Anaheim Sunday. They will be back on Garden ice next Thursday vs. Seattle.
‘We all love Wags’
In his fifth year with the Bruins, Wagner spent only one game with the varsity last season, and has collected 9 goals and 11 points in 27 games with Providence this season.
In his previous four seasons with the Bruins, he played in 185 games (20-14—34), including 38 in the playoffs (3-1–4). His last NHL action was April 29 in Toronto, when he recorded a game-high 11 hits in 15:57.
Wagner, 31, grew up in Walpole and played two seasons at Colgate before turning pro with the Ducks organization for the start of the 2012-13 season. If he makes it into the lineup, he likely would ride at No. 4 RW with Tomas Nosek his pivot.
Wagner arrived in Los Angeles around 10:30 p.m. local time Wednesday and tuned up with the Bruins Thursday morning.
He was looking forward to “not being on the bus for a weekend,” he joked, referring to riding with Providence around the Northeast.
“Just playing in the NHL, I don’t take any days for granted. Definitely learned that last year. Just trying to help this team win.”
Wagner, who came “highly recommended from all sources in the organization,” Montgomery said, fills a need on the penalty kill. Also, the former Duck (2010 fifth-round pick who spent four seasons there) knows how to quickly acclimate to the West Coast. Nothing surprised Wagner, whose next NHL game will be his 360th, about a morning skate in LA.
He spent about 10 minutes catching up with people, he said, and then it was business.
“You just pick up right where you left off,” said Charlie Coyle, his longtime pal and former youth hockey teammate with the South Shore Kings. “It’s just good to see him. He just fits right back in. We all love Wags.”
A bit of NHL history
A bit of NHL history: Thursday was the first time two Alaska-born goaltenders have faced each other. Boston’s Jeremy Swayman is from Anchorage. Los Angeles’ Phoenix Copley is from a city called North Pole, some 370 miles north. “Oh, it’s so special,” Swayman said. “It’s something you never forget. Coming from Alaska, I know what it took.” Copley, 30, and Swayman, 24, have yet to cross paths back home … Hall worked DeBrusk’s net-front spot on the No. 1 power play unit, which went 1 for 1 in six seconds of action … Tomas Nosek’s upper-body injury has not allowed him to take a faceoff in either of the last two games … Bruins prospect Fabian Lysell finished a disappointing World Junior Championship when he was ejected for making a hit to the head in the first period of Sweden’s 8-7 overtime loss to the U.S. in Thursday’s gold-medal game. Known for his speed and offensive ability, Lysell (0-0--0 with nine shots in seven tournament games, averaging 11:57 TOI) wasn’t used in OT of Sweden’s win over the Czechs in the semifinal. Ejected from the final with the Americans ahead, 1-0, Lysell missed 14 goals being scored … Wagner watched Monday’s Winter Classic from home. He attended the 2010 Fenway Festivities along with Coyle and several South Shore Kings teammates who drove up with their families. Wagner, recounting the memory: “Time flies.”