Ailing Patrice Bergeron, John Moore sent home
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Murphy’s Law is on full effect this road trip.
Both peerless pivot Patrice Bergeron and multipurpose defenseman John Moore joined captain Zdeno Chara on the Bruins’ injured list, which is seemingly growing by the shift.
Bergeron was driven into the boards (left) shoulder-first by Dallas center Radek Faksa on Friday night and struggled to finish the game. The club’s official word was “upper body injury” and he was sent home for further testing.
Moore, dealing with an undisclosed lower body ailment, was also sent home. He did not play in the 1-0 OT loss to the Stars. It was unclear as of puck drop in the desert Saturday whether their absences would be brief or lengthy.
Bergeron, tied for second in the NHL in scoring (9-17—26) as of Saturday, is a massive loss on the ice. He is Boston’s most complete player, best defensive forward, top penalty-killing forward, and a dangerous power-play weapon from the bumper (slot) position.
“It’s a tough one,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He plays such a good 200-foot game . . . It does have a trickle-down effect.”
To start Saturday’s game, Cassidy bumped up David Krejci to fill Bergeron’s spot on the top line, with new wingers Anders Bjork (left, his natural side) and David Pastrnak. The second line was centered by Joakim Nordstrom, with Brad Marchand (left) and Jake DeBrusk.
Fourth-liner Noel Acciari joined the right side of the Danton Heinen-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson third line. The fourth line looked the same as recent games: Chris Wagner-Sean Kuraly-David Backes.
The losses of Bergeron and Chara in particular were “a psychological advantage for other teams,” Cassidy said, before the Bruins defeated the Coyotes, 2-1, without their No. 1 center and six of their top seven defensemen.
“Knowing that it’s going to be an easier game,” Cassidy said. “We’ve got to make sure we make it as difficult as possible for their top-end guys. It’s asking a lot of a [Jeremy] Lauzon, who’s played [eight] games. But he was up to the challenge.”
Others must prove the same.
“We’ve dealt with a lot of injuries now. It’s next man [up],” Acciari said. “I think it’s making us closer as a team. Just trying to get wins where we can.”
Marchand’s rep caught up to him Friday. His theatrical waving of a white flag, while sitting in the penalty box, rightfully earned him a 10-minute misconduct ticket. But the Bruins argued he shouldn’t have been in that situation.
“I don’t think it was a penalty,” Cassidy said of Marchand’s tap to the leg of Dallas goalie Ben Bishop, who made it clear the poke was painful. “It happens 100 times a game. Phantom one like that happened to him in Nashville and he got nailed after and I think the frustrations were boiling over.”
A couple weeks ago in Nashville, Marchand was called for a stick infraction and registered his complaint by mock-diving, implying his opponent dove. Friday, he seemed to surrender.
“I think people pay to see the best players in the world play and I don’t think [the officials] show Brad enough respect,” Cassidy said. “He’s got to earn it as well, so it’s a two-way street, but at the end of the day I don’t understand that call at all.”
You won’t find many outside of New England who’d agree Marchand deserves a longer leash. Marchand, who spoke to the Globe at length in September about his line-stepping, shrugged at getting shorted again.
“I think [Bishop] sold it pretty good,” he said. “It is what it is.”
Bishop, for his part, claimed no thespian bonafides.
“He just slashed me in the back of the leg,” he said. “I didn’t really think much of it, just the refs saw and called it.”
Rookie defenseman Connor Clifton, who played 18:53 on Friday, was energetic and eager. “Thought he played hard,” Cassidy said of Clifton, who led the team with four hits and finished with nine penalty minutes. He had five hits and two penalty minutes vs. the Coyotes. “He’s going to get in and get his nose dirty, get in the battle, get up the ice, and try to make some plays,” Cassidy said. “I’m sure there’s a few times when we look at the video we’d probably want him to be more under control at times. But I like a guy that’s assertive.” . . . Jaroslav Halak closed the back-to-back games. Halak’s last game wasn’t his best work: six goals on 25 shots Wednesday at Colorado. Halak made 31 saves on 32 shots Saturday night.