Two of the best teams in hockey, the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets, are both in action today and will both see changes to their lineups due to injury. The Bruins take on the Minnesota Wild with a chance to climb within two points of the Atlantic-leading Tampa Bay Lightning while still holding a game in hand. The Jets need a win over the Central leading Predators to clinch a playoff spot with their own efforts, but could also get in today with at least one point and an Anaheim Ducks loss. However, the Jets will have to do so tonight and going forward down a man, whereas it seems like the Bruins task is about to get easier as their mountain of injuries is shrinking.
The Winnipeg Jets have a tough situation on their hands, but it could be worse. The team announced today that veteran defenseman Toby Enstrom will be shut down for the remainder of the regular season. Head coach Paul Maurice told TSN’s Brian Munz that Enstrom will not play again over the final two weeks as he nurses a lower-body injury. However, the important distinction is that this was the team’s choice and that it only includes the regular season. The team seems optimistic that some time off will give Enstrom a better chance of being ready to go in the postseason. With Dmitry Kulikov all but done for the year, the Jets could really use a healthy Enstrom if they want to make waves in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Bruins also have their eye on the Cup and have somehow stayed on course through mounting injuries over the past month. Boston’s last two games in particular have lacked Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, Zdeno Chara, Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, Rick Nash, and Torey Krug, yet the Bruins picked up a combined three points against the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars. Overall, the Bruins are shockingly 9-2-2 since Bergeron went down in late February, with McAvoy out since March 3rd and Chara and DeBrusk having missed the last two weeks. Now, the team is getting healthier, announcing that Bergeron and Krug are set to return to the lineup tonight and adding that Chara, McAvoy, and Backes are making their way back as well. That just leaves DeBrusk and Nash without an update and neither injury was reported to be overly serious when they first occurred, which means that Boston could be back at full strength before the start of the playoffs. Given the emergence of Ryan Donato and the strong play of Brian Gionta, Nick Holden, and others, that begs the question posed by beat writer Joe Haggerty today: who will start for the Bruins if everyone is healthy?