David K rejci will miss Sunday’s game at TD Garden after suffering a lower-body injury in the first period of the team’s 3-2 double overtime win in Ottawa Friday night. Tthe Bruins center was taken out by a knee-to-knee hit in Game 5 Friday night in Ottawa. Matt Beleskey replaced Krejci in the lineup.
Senators defenseman Chris Wideman leveled Krejci late in the first period, which forced Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy to mix and match his lines for the remainder of the game.
The Bruins got home from Ottawa at around 3 a.m. Saturday and had the day off, which means a determination on Krejci will not be made until Sunday morning. With a 3 p.m. start on Sunday, there will be no morning skate.
“He’s getting treatment this morning,” Cassidy said on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena. “He will be looked at further but will be a day-to-day situation right now. That’s the best I’ve got going. We’ll have a more clear idea when we get to the rink tomorrow.”
Cassidy has options if Krejci, who was injured for Games 1 and 2, is unable to play. The Bruins’ decision-makers benched Ryan Spooner for Game 5 in favor of Sean Kuraly, who scored the tying and winning goals. Kuraly also played in the first two games when Krejci and Noel Acciari were out, but skated just 16 minutes and 21 seconds. In the regular season, Kuraly played eight games for the Bruins and produced a lone assist.
In Game 2, with Krejci and Acciari out, Beleskey played left wing on a line centered by Kuraly. Tim Schaller skated on the opposite side.
“We won’t play seven D,” Cassidy quipped. “It’s entirely possible Matt Beleskey could be the guy that draws in and we push a guy to the middle.”
In Game 5, Kuraly played on a line with David Backes and Frank Vatrano, which could also be the case in Game 6. Cassidy said on Saturday the decision to play Kuraly was made after a conversation with general manager Don Sweeney.
“I don’t know [Kuraly] well, he was up earlier this year and my focus was more on the defensemen,” Cassidy said. “Donny has been saying, ‘Listen, this kid can give us something when he’s up,’ so give credit to the organizational depth. They’ve done a good job in Providence with him. Donny pinpointed him as a good fit in our lineup. I knew Acciari from Providence so I knew what he could bring. They both really stepped up in terms of giving us straight-line players who can get to the net. How can you not be happy for the kid? He works hard.”
Meanwhile, defenseman Torey Krug (lower-body injury) skated on Saturday but is likely not close to returning.
Tough to watch
It was difficult for his teammates to watch Krejci limp off the ice after the hit from Wideman. Krejci, who was unexpectedly scratched before Game 1 with an upper-body injury, did not return until Game 3.
“It’s tough to see Krech out,” defenseman Kevan Miller said on Saturday. “He can’t seem to catch a break. Hopefully he’s all right.”
The Bruins also were incensed when Wideman allegedly talked trash to Krejci following the hit. That moment was used as motivation for the Bruins, who trailed, 2-0, at the time.
“Right after, Wideman chirped him right away,” Brad Marchand said. “Pretty classless to do something like that when you know you hurt a guy on the ice. Krech is a tough player, he’ll play through anything. It’s part of the game, it happens a lot out there.”
Difference of opinion
The fact that the Bruins pulled out the win Friday helped ease any bad feelings about a goaltender-interference call that wiped out a Boston goal with 5:35 remaining in overtime. Acciari potted what appeared to be the winner, after Kuraly’s rush to the net resulted in contact with Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson.
“I guess my thought last night was, I’ve been out of the league for a while and I didn’t know we had to win by two in overtime,” Cassidy said. “At the end of the day we got it done. I thought it was done the first time, I didn’t agree with the call. The Jumbotron probably showed my displeasure, but it’s heat of the moment. [The referees] have a tough job to do. They saw it one way, we saw it another. It’s gratifying it worked out for us in the end because it would’ve been one frustrating night to talk about after. It’s done now. The focus has to be on Game 6.”
Friday night’s marathon, which started at 7:30, ended just before midnight and was not decided until the game’s 91st minute. Zdeno Chara logged a stunning 36:46 of ice time and fellow defenseman Kevan Miller wasn’t far behind with 33:59. “I think everybody is kind of feeling the minutes,” Miller said. “It’s that time of year and they’re not easy minutes, but that’s why you have days off.” . . . The Bruins had five Americans on the ice for Friday’s winning goal: Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy, Vatrano, Backes, and Miller.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.