Following Game One against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy announced that center David Krejci was considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury suffered during the contest. Krejci was the recipient of a big hit from former teammate Riley Nash and left the game shortly after, followed by concern for his availability for the rest of the series. Yet, the Bruins were quick to announce this morning that Krejci is on the ice for morning skate, as well as participating in his regular spots on the second line and second power play unit. Officially, he remains a game time decision, but a successful skate would indicate that the veteran pivot should be ready to go for tonight’s game. Krejci has a modest five points in eight games for the Boston in this postseason, but has proven to be a potent playoff producer in the past and will be a key part to the Bruins’ continued run. Krejci has twice led the NHL in playoff scoring (2011, 2013) and just last year posted ten points in twelve games. If he can stay healthy, the Bruins hope to see numbers like that this year as well.
- Line rushes at morning skate also revealed that Cassidy has shaken up his top-six, which has failed to produce through each of the team’s past two games. The switch comes at left wing, where David Pastrnak is back up to the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Danton Heinen slides down to play on Krejci’s line. Pastrnak may have six points thus far in these playoffs, tied for second on the Bruins, but has largely been held in check. Both the Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs did a good job of suffocating the dynamic winger, playing tight, physical defense and not allowing him the space to play to his strengths. The result has been long periods of invisible play, as well as frequent turnovers and poor passes. Cassidy clearly feels that time has come for a change and Boston will go back to stacking their top line with their three best forwards, hoping the group can find the same success as they did in the regular season. For what it’s worth, Heinen has been the Bruins’ best player this postseason from an analytics perspective, so there may not be a major drop-off on the second line as a result of the move.
- The AHL’s Providence Bruins saw their season come to a close last night as they were eliminated in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs by the Charlotte Checkers, affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes – a possible opponent for Boston in the next round. The next step for several of Providence’s top players will be to report to Boston as playoff reinforcements. This is not inconsequential, as the likes of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, and Jeremy Lauzon all played meaningful roles for the Bruins at times over this season, while veterans like Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey were specifically brought in to provide experienced depth in case of emergency in the postseason. It would not be a surprise to see one or more of these players potentially draw in if the Bruins’ current lineup doesn’t get the results they want or runs into injury issues. The more exciting story line would be for top prospects Jack Studnicka and Urho Vaakanainen to find their way into the lineup, but that seems more likely to happen next season.