The Boston Bruins could be without a member of their fourth line Saturday, as Noel Acciari missed Saturday’s morning skate with an undisclosed injury. Chris Wagner skated in his place and looks like a candidate to replace him if Acciari can’t go, according to NBC Sports Joe Haggerty. “We gave Noel the morning off,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy, “He’ll be a game-time decision for tonight. Chris Wagner will go in for him if he can’t go.”
It’s a significant loss for the Bruins for a crucial Game 5, as the hard-hitting winger has 38 hits so far in the playoffs over the course of 11 games. Wagner, who doubled his career-high in goals this season with the Bruins with 12 goals, has been held scoreless in seven playoff games. He played in the first game of the series against the Blue Jackets, but was a healthy scratch for the past three games. Wagner had missed the last two games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, but that was not the reason that Cassidy used when he replaced Wagner in the lineup with Karson Kuhlman, who Cassidy said brought more energy to the team.
- Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to make one lineup change. Russian defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov will make his NHL debut, giving Columbus seven defensemen, while rookie winger Alexandre Texier will be a scratch. Gavrikov, who signed with Columbus back on April 13th out of the KHL, could add some physicality for the Blue Jackets. The 6-foot-3 had two points and 60 penalty minutes in 60 games for SKA St. Petersburg. He also has five years of KHL experience as well as 57 games of playoff experience he can call on.
- NHL.com’s Mark Stepneski reports the Dallas Stars could have an interesting decision to make on defense for Sunday’s Game 6, as defensemen Jamie Oleksiak and Joel Hanley are not expected to be ready. That leaves three potential options for Dallas to add a third-pair defenseman, including Taylor Fedun, Gavin Bayreuther and Dillon Heatherington. Fedun, however, is questionable with an injury as well.
- BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater reports that head coach Jared Bednar said there could be some changes in Game 5 on Saturday. Dater writes that he believes that winger Sven Andrighetto is likely to return to the lineup and likely to replace Derick Brassard. Andrighetto has only appeared in four playoff games so far this year and hasn’t broken the 10-minute mark in any of them. He had seven goals and 17 points in 64 games this year. Brassard has been held scoreless in six playoffs games this year and also found himself playing under 10 minutes in two of the last three games.