Blanked for the first time this season, 3-0, Tuesday night in Columbus, the Bruins are back in the grinder Thursday night, facing the red-hot Penguins (8-1-1 in their last 10) at the Garden.
We already know that the lineup will have at least a couple of different looks when the puck goes down at 7:08 p.m.
Bruins morning practice had a number of different faces on the ice at the club’s Brighton practice facility.
■ Tuukka Rask was concussed in the opening minutes of the loss in Cannonland. The Bruins announced Thursday morning that he has been placed on injured reserve.
■ Dan Vladar, the No. 75 pick in the 2015 draft, will fill Rask’s spot on the roster. Will he get the start vs. the Pens? We’ll find out when Bruce Cassidy addresses media around noon. His line in Providence: 6-5-0, with a .935 save pct and 1.84 GAA.
■ His cracked tibia fully healed, scrappy winger Karson Kuhlman is back from the WannaB’s, for whom he posted a 2-1—3 line in his four-game conditioning stint. He likely will ride on the Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci No. 2 line.
■ David Krejci, dealing with a niggling injury, skated only briefly in the morning workout. He will be a game-time decision. If he suits up, look for him to pivot Jake DeBrusk (LW) and Kuhlman (RW).
■ Matt Grzelcyk, a scratch (coach’s decision) Tuesday in Columbus, will draw back into the lineup and pair with John Moore. Steven Kampfer will be scratched.
■ Anton Blidh is on the ice, but the Bruins made no official announcement as to his status.
■ Underperforming right winger Brett Ritchie (27 games: 2-4—6) was placed on waivers Wednesday, after he again showed little moxie in the CBJ tilt. Unlikely anyone else in the Original 31 puts in a claim on the 26-year-old Jimmy Hayes Redux. As of early-afternoon, he should officially be on his way to AHL Providence.
■ Cassidy will go with Jaro Halak in net. Halak has been solid this season, in his second year as Rask’s backup, but his last two outings, a start Monday in Philly (a 5-2 lead that turned into a 6-5 OT loss) and then the relief role in Columbus, were very spotty. Rebounds and overall puck management were challenges.
■ Pens superstar Sidney Crosby, hindered by injury much of the first half, returned to the other Black-and-Gold lineup Tuesday night vs. the Wild and collected, oh, four points. Now with 29 wins, ranked third overall behind Washington (31) and St. Louis (30), the Pens are within four points of tying the Caps for the Metro lead.
■ Now in concussion protocol, Rask likely won’t be seen again until Jan. 31 at the earliest. The Bruins go on their extended bye break after Tuesday’s tilt here against the Vegas Golden Knights, and won’t reappear until a Jan. 31 face-off in Winnipeg. Rask already had declined his All-Star Game invite, forcing him to be suspended for either the Jan. 21 or Jan. 31 game. It’s possible his injury status will alter the mandated one-game suspension.
■ Tampa Bay now has more wins (28) than the Bruins (27) and has two games in hand, with Boston’s points lead trimmed to 66-60 over the Bolts. It’s getting tight and likely will get even tighter.
■ Reached early Thursday morning for comment, Karma said count on the Bruins and Leafs again to meet in Round 1 of the Cup playoffs. “Enjoy the Hortons coffee,” added the ever-caustic Karma.