Torey Krug feels terrible for Brandon Carlo.
This season, Krug and Carlo have spent more five-on-five minutes together than any other Black-and-Gold tandem besides Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy. As much time as they’ve played together this year, they’ve shared just as much misery off the ice.
Both defensemen missed last year’s playoffs. Krug hobbled off in Game No. 81 after spraining his knee against Ottawa. One game later, in the regular-season finale, Alex Ovechkin planted Carlo’s head into the TD Garden glass, rendering him unfit for postseason play because of a concussion.
So the news that Carlo’s playoffs are in doubt again hit Krug below the belt.
“I feel awful,” Krug said. “I know specifically from talking to him that it’s the one thing he’s been looking forward to. He went through it last year as well, missing the time. This year, he was excited for it. You feel awful. It’s a tough break. But I know he’s got a lot of support and a lot of great people around him, and he’ll get through a tough time.”
Carlo was injured in the third period of Saturday’s 5-1 rout of the Panthers. As he tried to kick a puck up the wall, Carlo lost his footing. As he fell, the toe of the 208-pound defenseman’s left blade dug into the ice. The torque of Carlo’s fall bent the lower part of his left leg before the tip of his skate popped free. Trainer Don DelNegro promptly called for a stretcher.
As of Sunday morning, swelling in Carlo’s leg kept the Bruins from issuing a clear diagnosis on his condition and recovery requirements. If Carlo is out long term, he has his boss’s sympathy.
“I don’t want to speculate that he’ll miss,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of the playoffs. “But if he does, it [stinks], honestly, for a guy that’s played almost every regular-season game. The only game he missed this year, he was a healthy [scratch]. We put him up top — we had eight healthy defensemen — to watch a game. So yes, I think the whole group felt bad for him watching him go off the ice on a stretcher.
“Let’s face it. You go off on a stretcher, it’s probably not good news. We’re holding out hope it’s not as bad as it looked. But right now, it’s disappointing for him. He’s a well-liked guy on this team and done a lot. That’s disheartening for sure.”
The Bruins had immediate reinforcements on hand Sunday. Chara returned against the Flyers after missing the previous nine games because of an upper-body injury. Nick Holden occupied Chara’s right flank. Adam McQuaid replaced Carlo as Krug’s partner.
“You get pretty into it quite early on,” said Chara (five shots in 21:14 of ice time). “You’ve got to keep moving your feet and the puck. Those things kind of come back quite quickly. You don’t have much time to sit back and try to think about what it was like. That’s also nice.”
Nash undergoes repairs
Riley Nash required 40-plus stitches in and around his right ear, according to Cassidy. Nash was hit by a Krug shot Saturday.
“Hopefully there’s no more damage than that,” Cassidy said. “Right now, he would have a tough time getting his helmet on his head.”
Cassidy said there’s a chance Nash could rejoin the Bruins for one or both of the next two stops (Tampa on Tuesday, Florida on Thursday). David Backes replaced Nash as the No. 3 center between Danton Heinen and Brian Gionta.
McAvoy getting close
McAvoy missed his 15th straight game. The defenseman skated on his own Sunday morning under the watch of skills coach Kim Brandvold. Cassidy anticipated McAvoy will be available Tuesday against the Lightning . . . David Krejci missed at least one shift Saturday after taking a MacKenzie Weegar shot off the inside of his right foot. Krejci was feeling better a day later. The veteran centered Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Donato for the second straight game . . . David Pastrnak recorded a game-high seven shots on net. Pastrnak had some help on his power-play goal, which caromed off Andrew MacDonald and past Petr Mrazek at 6:54 of the third . . . Noel Acciari turned heads with his ninth goal. The grinding forward received a pass from Backes and hummed a snap shot over Mrazek and under the crossbar at 14:25 of the second to get the Bruins on the scoreboard. Acciari saw some shifts at right wing on the third line when Cassidy trimmed Gionta’s ice time . . . Tommy Wingels didn’t play at all in the third period or overtime. Wingels played a game-low 6:24 . . . Brad Marchand was named Second Star of the Month for March. The left wing scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 15 games.