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Bruins lose Tomas Nosek to foot fracture; center set to miss a month or more

Tomas Nosek could miss extended time with a foot injury.Maddie Meyer/Getty

While Brandon Carlo returned to practice Saturday after a blocked shot left him hobbling, Tomas Nosek was not as fortunate.

The Bruins said the fourth-line center will miss at least four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot, beginning with Sunday’s date with the Sharks. The injury happened during a 3-1 win over the Rangers in Manhattan on Thursday, the club said.

Nosek joins top-line right wing Jake DeBrusk in the recovery room. Since DeBrusk exited the lineup after hand and leg injuries in the Jan. 2 Winter Classic, the Bruins are 7-1-0.

The Bruins (36-5-4) were thankful that Carlo, who did not return to Thursday’s game after taking a shot off the outside of his right boot, shook off any ill effects. He skated at practice Saturday in Brighton without apparent limitation. Coach Jim Montogmery characterized it as a nerve issue.


Nosek appeared to be hurt during a delayed penalty late in Thursday’s first period. Craig Smith committed interference in the neutral zone and while the Rangers were working with the extra attacker, a K’Andre Miller one-timer dropped Nosek with 59 seconds left in the frame.

The Bruins still on the penalty kill, Nosek was on the ice to start the second, and he skated a regular shift the rest of the game.

Nosek (3-5–8 in 42 games) is the Bruins’ top left-shot PK forward, averaging 2:39 per game for the No. 1 kill in the league (87 percent entering Sunday). He also is their best left-side faceoff man, winning a stellar 58.3 percent of his 307 draws.

Because of an undisclosed upper-body injury, Nosek has not taken a faceoff since Dec. 27, a span of eight games. The time off will allow that injury to heal, meaning Nosek will return to taking critical draws.

“It should be all healed by the end of this week,” Montgomery said.


With Nosek out for at least a month, Joona Koppanen has a chance to settle in as the No. 4 center. That will help the Bruins determine his seaworthiness for the spring.

“I thought his first game was better than his second,” Montgomery said of the 24-year-old Finn, who is scoreless in two games since making his NHL debut against Seattle last Monday. “I thought his second, there [were] things that happened in the game he’s going to learn and get better from. It’s the NHL. You’re going to sometimes be in situations where next time you’ll be more aggressive, or next time you’ll do this. But he didn’t hurt us.”

That includes in the faceoff circle. In a much smaller body of work, Koppanen is running at 62.5 percent (10 for 16) in his two-game audition. For now, he can lean on his size (6 feet 5 inches, 216 pounds) and hand-eye coordination to hang at the dot. In the coming weeks, he will learn a few chess moves from Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle, and assistant coach Chris Kelly, a former pivot.

“You have to learn how opponents do it, who’s going to put their leg in, who’s going to cheat more, who’s going to cheat less,” Koppanen said Saturday. “We have clips before every game, what every faceoff guy on their team is going to do. Of course you have a couple different things you’re going to try to do on your own.”


Caufield out

The Bruins will not see sniper Cole Caufield in Montreal on Tuesday in the season’s first meeting with the Canadiens. Caufield is set for season-ending right shoulder surgery, the Habs announced Saturday. They are also without No. 1 overall draft pick Juraj Slavkofsky (lower body), who could miss the rest of the season … Marc McLaughlin, who has four goals and eight points in his last eight games in Providence, is making a case for a call-up. Montgomery said the Bruins would recall a forward for a trip that runs through Montreal, Tampa Bay (Thursday), Florida (Saturday), and Carolina (a week from Sunday). He did not say who would get the promotion … The Bruins have been healthy nearly the entire season on defense, save for Derek Forbort (hand) missing most of November. As such, working in Jakub Zboril, who has played once since Thanksgiving, has been a challenge. “It is really hard,” Montgomery said. “We are aware of it and we share that with him. For him, there’s been a noticeable change in his attitude. It was hard — it is hard — for maybe the first month, three weeks, to get up for practice, to have a smile and an infectious attitude around your teammates, because that’s part of the equation when you’re not playing. Ever since then, I would say a week before Christmas, he’s had a great attitude.” … During the post-practice stretch, the Bruins sang a round of “Happy Birthday” for Hampus Lindholm, who turned 29 on Friday.


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.