Status of three injured Bruins still up in the air
The Bruins boarded a charter flight to Toronto on Sunday, with the status of at least three injured players still up in the air.
Jake DeBrusk, Torey Krug and Connor Clifton reported for work, but coach Bruce Cassidy said all are “day-to-day” in advance of Monday’s Game 3. The team offered no further word on their condition.
Krug, dumped into the boards by Jake Muzzin on Saturday, was “doing better,” Cassidy said Sunday afternoon at the team’s Brighton practice facility. DeBrusk was “feeling OK” after taking a Nazem Kadri cross-check to the side of the head. Neither they nor Clifton, who sustained an upper body injury on a Kadri hit, returned to play after taking those knocks.
The Bruins did not practice on Sunday before traveling. Cassidy may have decisions to make before Monday’s morning skate at Scotiabank Arena.
If DeBrusk cannot go, a healthy Marcus Johansson would be a sensible substitute. But Johansson, scratched from Game 2 because of an illness, was so ill Saturday and Sunday he was kept apart from his teammates. He was slated to travel to Toronto on his own.
“He could not be sick anymore, but weak,” Cassidy said, pondering the decision to play Johansson. “If it’s a 24-, 48-hour thing and he looks good and he’s flying around, I guess we’d consider more strongly putting him in.”
The Bruins have another left-shot winger, Paul Carey, on reserve after his recall from AHL Providence (22-11--33 in 30 games down there). Valuable depth forward Sean Kuraly, recovering from March 22 hand surgery, continues to work out and could be ready soon.
“Progressing well,” Cassidy said of Kuraly and defenseman John Moore, also yet to make his series debut. “Until they’re [practicing] with the team, it’s hard to say they’d go into the lineup. That’s typically the protocol this time of year. This time of year, we may have to skip a step.”
Krug, who could be heard on NBC’s broadcast saying, “That’s a headshot,” while on all fours following the Muzzin hit, was likely checked for a concussion. Muzzin’s initial bump knocked off his helmet, and sent him crashing into the boards by his back, shoulders and neck.
Moore, who took a check from behind by Tampa’s Adam Erne on March 25, would be the replacement for Krug if healthy.
Both are left shots. Krug’s absence would leave a sizable hole on the power play, where he is the quarterback of the No. 1 unit. Charlie McAvoy is his backup.
Clifton, a righty, would be replaced by Steven Kampfer. The Bruins also recalled lefty Jakub Zboril from Providence on Sunday as insurance. Jeremy Lauzon, who has shown well in brief stretches in Boston, and highly regarded prospect Urho Vaakanainen have dealt with injuries of late.
Reaping his reward
Charlie Coyle didn’t score in his Bruins playoff debut on Thursday, despite three Grade-A chances in a two-shift sequence. In Game 2, he made no mistake, sniping on Frederik Andersen for a 1-0 lead 4:44 in.
“You just want to do the right thing and play the right way and be as best you can for your team,” Coyle said. “It’s nice to get rewarded a little bit.”
The Weymouth product, whom Cassidy saw as the Bruins’ best player in the Game 1 loss, elevated his game again Saturday. The line of Coyle, Danton Heinen (goal) and David Backes (assist) was on the ice for two goals.
“He’s been really good,” Cassidy said. “We brought that line in together, Johansson and Heinen and Coyle, and that was our worry, that no one would shoot. They all like to pass first. He took it upon himself to shoot, and he dragged that into Game 2.”
Replacing the Johansson with Backes, who mirrors Coyle’s size (6-feet-3-inches, 220 pounds), gave the line more of a physical presence, but Coyle has been bringing that of late. Cassidy noted several Leafs bounced off the ex-Wild forward when he had the puck.
“That part of his game fit well with us,” Cassidy said.