Torey Krug and Marcus Johansson made their way back into the Bruins’ lineup Wednesday night with the Rangers in town for what was Boston’s next-to-last home game of the regular season.
Krug, the Bruins’ No. 1 point shooter on the power play (6-42—48 through 59 games), sat out the previous six games after sustaining a concussion March 12 in Columbus.
Newcomer Johansson, acquired from New Jersey at the Feb. 25 trade deadline, returned after suffering a bruised lung March 5 in a heavy hit along the wall vs. the Hurricanes.
Krug plugged back into his normal five-on-five spot with partner Brandon Carlo and had a pair of assists, landed three shots on net, and played 22:12 in the Bruins’ 6-3 win. Johansson was reunited with second-line mates Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci but was held off the scoresheet. Johansson, who shifted to the third line in the second period, put two shots on net in his 12:16.
Krug logged a stout 19:54 of ice time in Columbus two weeks ago and finished the night unaware that he had been concussed. Symptoms did not develop until later that night on the club’s charter flight home to Boston.
“When you’re in it, the adrenaline’s going and you don’t really know,” Krug said following Wednesday’s morning skate in Brighton. “Kind of one of those things I had an idea where something was coming, and the next day I woke up with a lot of symptoms.”
In October 1968, then-Bruins goalie Eddie Johnston didn’t realize he had suffered a skull fracture when he was dinged by a shot at the old Boston Garden. Symptoms (i.e. headache) didn’t start until he was on the team flight to the next city. Forced to the sidelines, he returned to Boston by car.
Krug, a veteran of 458 NHL regular-season games and 38 in the playoffs, said it was his first time being concussed. He did not quibble with the hit that ultimately knocked him to the sidelines for two weeks.
“A completely clean hit,” explained Krug. “I just was on the unfortunate side of it. These things happen. We play a tough sport. It’s fast out there. Guys are big and strong. It’s so fast that sometimes these things just happen.”
The hit, in fact, was not to Krug’s head. The contact was shoulder to shoulder.
“Yeah, whiplash,” he said. “It happens.”
In Johansson’s case, he remained at Massachusetts General Hospital overnight for observation after being trucked by the Hurricanes’ Micheal Ferland.
“He’s a big, strong guy and he just got me good — that’s hockey sometimes,” said Johansson. “Not much more to say about it. A heavy hit. I don’t want to go into details. A heavy hit, but nothing wrong with it. That’s hockey. He got me good.”
Grzelcyk, Miller still out
Defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller remained out of the lineup with injuries, though they skated in red (noncontact) sweaters during the brief 15-minute morning skate.
According to coach Bruce Cassidy, Grzelcyk and Miller are expected to engage in contact drills Friday, and one or both could have a shot at returning this weekend — Saturday vs. Florida or Sunday in Detroit.
Wednesday night’s game was Grzelcyk’s eighth out of the lineup, and the 15th for Miller, who last played Feb. 23 in St. Louis.
Defenseman John Moore, who exited midway through the first period Monday night in Tampa with an arm or shoulder injury, is out on a “week-to-week” basis, according to Cassidy. He did not add any information about the injury, which Moore suffered when hit into the rear boards by winger Adam Erne.
Jaroslav Halak (21-10-4) made 20 saves to get the win over the Rangers, and he will go again Sunday night in Detroit. Tuukka Rask, 26-11-5 after his loss in Tampa, will start the Saturday matinee vs. the Panthers.
The Bruins will have three games left after the weekend, and Cassidy said he will decide early next week how to divvy up the goaltending workload. It is doubtful that Rask will get in enough starts to reach 30 wins — a level he has reached for five straight seasons.
Rask, now the winningest goalie in franchise history, has suffered only three regulation losses in the new calendar year. He started against the Rangers Jan. 19 in Boston, only to depart with a concussion late in the first period when teammate Charlie McAvoy upended a charging Filip Chytil and launched him like a rocket into the defenseless goalie.
Deal with Providence
The Bruins announced a 10-year extension, through 2028-29, with the Providence Bruins as their AHL affiliate. The WannaBs became Boston’s top minor league outlet in 1992 . . . David Backes did not extend his scoring streak (ending at three games). He did try to goad Lias Andersson into a fight with 1:50 remaining, payback for a dirty hit Andersson landed earlier in the night on Patrice Bergeron. The Rangers winger lined up Bergeron on the rear boards and took a running leap at him, swiping Bergeron across the chin with his back. Rarely one to fight, Bergeron grappled in the corner and landed a few body shots before the linesmen busted it up . . . With 47 wins through 77 games, the Bruins have five games to reach the 50-win plateau again for Cassidy. Tom Johnson (1971-72) is the only Black and Gold coach with back-to-back 50s on his ledger. The Bruins rattled off four 50-win seasons from 1971-74, but Bep Guidolin relieved Johnson as bench boss during the 1972-73 season . . . Brad Marchand, 3-7—10 over his last four games, has five games to pick up 3 points and record his first 100-point season . . . Because of injuries earlier this year, Bergeron played in only his 61st game Wednesday night. His line of 32-45—77, if projected over a full 82-game season, would deliver 102 points. He already has reached a career high with 77 points.