Rick Nash adjusting nicely to playoffs after injury
TORONTO — The 34 minutes 54 seconds Rick Nash spent on the ice in the first two games of the Bruins’ playoff series against the Maple Leafs were all on adrenaline.
He notched a power-play goal in the Game 2 win that helped him get his sea legs after missing the final 12 games of the regular season because of a concussion.
But things snapped back to reality the day after the Bruins’ 4-2 loss in Game 3 on Monday night.
Nash woke up with not just the typical postgame aches and pains, but the extra lumps that come with the heightened intensity of the postseason.
“I always tell younger guys coming back from injury, I always feel like the first two games are the easy ones,” Nash said. “You’re on adrenaline and you have your legs and then the next two are kind of the tough ones. I feel good on the ice. I feel strong, I feel powerful. Just feel like missing the little step of speed that’s kind of come in each game.”
Jumping into a playoff series after sitting out for three weeks takes a dramatic adjustment, but Nash is faring well. He’s contributed 9:53 on the power play, taken 18 shots overall, and landed 11 on net while trying to readjust to game speed.
“I think the pace is that much higher, the game’s quicker,” he said. “It’s tough, but my chances are there. I feel like the opportunities are coming, and I feel good.”
Hits keep coming
The Bruins expected some pushback from the Leafs once the series shifted to Air Canada Centre, and they got it.
The Leafs delivered 38 hits in Game 3.
“Probably just being in their own building,” Torey Krug said. “A little bit more juice and they’re excited so they’re going to finish more hits. I didn’t really feel any different than the first two games, but I guess the statisticians claim otherwise.”
Grzelcyk to skate
After being scratched from Game 3 because of a lower-body injury, Matt Grzelcyk will skate on Wednesday.
With two days to recover, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is hopeful the rookie defenseman will be available Thursday for Game 4.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Cassidy said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a long-term [injury]. So we’ll assume he’ll have improved with a couple days off. But again, until he gets out there, that’s hard to say. If he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll go back in.”
The extra off day comes at a convenient time for the Bruins, who ended the regular season with six games in nine days, including a three-game road trip.
While Cassidy didn’t make any special plans, like the 2011 team’s trip to Lake Placid in the middle of its series against Montreal, the team did consider flying back to Boston to get rest at home.
Ultimately, the logistics didn’t work out.
“We’ve had so much travel in March that staying here was the ultimate call,” Cassidy said.