The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have both announced new additions to the COVID protocol today, obviously affecting their lineup for tonight’s action.
In Vancouver, it’s captain Bo Horvat that is now unavailable to the club, as they look to try and put another dash in the win column this evening. Horvat was a huge part of the team’s win Sunday night against the Washington Capitals, scoring the game-winning goal and registering an assist in more than 20 minutes of ice time. Those two points took his season total to 23 in 38 games, good for fourth on the team and third among forwards.
His absence will be felt all over the ice but perhaps most in the faceoff dot, where he takes more than twice as many draws as anyone else on the Canucks roster. In fact, Horvat leads all NHL players in faceoffs this season, taking 891 through 38 games so far. His 503 wins sit just barely behind Patrice Bergeron for the league lead; the Bruins captain has an incredible 63% win rate this season.
Boston meanwhile will be without Mike Reilly, who enters the protocol after playing more than 21 minutes on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators (Nashville will face Vancouver tonight). The 28-year-old defenseman has found a home with the Bruins, where he has seen more ice time than anywhere else on his NHL journey and contributes in all situations. While he has just nine points in 32 games this season, Reilly’s puck-moving ability is an important piece of the puzzle for Boston.
Luckily, Matt Grzelcyk is set to return after his own stint on the COVID protocol, meaning the Bruins won’t really miss a beat. Urho Vaakanainen will also be afforded a bit more time with the big club, something he has taken advantage of in recent days. The young defenseman will skate beside Charlie McAvoy and very well could break the 20-minute mark for the fourth consecutive game.