RALEIGH, N.C. — The Bruins got a goal from Chris Wagner in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night, but he didn’t get to finish the night celebrating.
Wagner, who opened the scoring in Boston’s 2-1 victory, blocked a shot with his right arm, seemingly in the back of the forearm, late in the third period and left the game.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said Wagner, the hard-hitting right wing from Walpole, Mass., and part of the Bruins’ stellar fourth line, was not in good shape after absorbing a slapper from Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk with 5:04 remaining and the Hurricanes gunning for the tying goal. Afterward, Wagner was spotted wearing a sling outside the visitors’ dressing room.
“He’s not good right now,” Cassidy said of Wagner. “Obviously in a lot of pain. Probably have [an update] for you tomorrow.”
Fellow fourth-liner Sean Kuraly felt for his pal.
“I hope he’s OK,” Kuraly said. “He’s a tough kid. I’m sure he will be eventually. I don’t know what the medical report is.”
Cassidy described Wagner’s play as “terrific,” and praised the Joakim Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner trio for scoring by “playing the right way” when they connected 1:21 into the second period. Off a turnover thanks to Wagner’s forechecking, Kuraly held the zone and fed Nordstrom, who slid it through defenseman Brett Pesce to a wide-open Wagner.
“Pursuing pucks,” Cassidy said. “If our first two [forecheckers] get beat, their D tends to want to get going. Our high forward, Kuraly, is in a great spot to keep a puck alive. Then you make some plays, right? They’re fourth-liners. You don’t expect them to make a tic-tac-toe play, but they did.”
Good news for Boston: Forward Noel Acciari (upper-body injury) was cleared to play in Game 3, but Cassidy opted to employ the same lineup for the sixth game in a row, his team on a winning streak. Acciari could rejoin the lineup Thursday if Wagner is unavailable.
Taking a trip
Elsewhere on the injury front: Defenseman Kevan Miller, who has not played this postseason because of a knee injury, traveled with the team and worked out before the morning skate. Miller has not skated since crashing knee-first into the boards April 4 in Minnesota. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, speaking in advance of the Carolina series, would not rule out Miller from returning . . . Fellow blue liner Steven Kampfer did not take part in the morning skate. The reason was unclear . . . The Bruins won 57 percent of drops, including a 17-of-28 (61 percent) night from Patrice Bergeron . . . Zdeno Chara logged a monstrous 5:26 on the penalty kill. Bergeron recorded 4:04 . . . Wagner doled out a team-high four hits . . . Kuraly landed a game-high seven shots (nine attempts).