After a travel day Thursday, the Boston Bruins were back practicing in St. Louis Friday, and as expected, there was no Matt Grzelcyk on the ice after the defenseman didn’t travel with his team on Thursday. What was more noticeable but maybe not so surprising was the absence of star center Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron was clearly laboring in Game 2 as the usually dominant faceoff man, was owned by Blues center Ryan O’Reilly at the dot with O’Reilly winning 65-percent of their faceoffs. He didn’t take his last three potential faceoffs of the game either. Then prior to overtime, Bergeron was testing something and grimacing as he came out and skated before his teammates did for the extra frame.
On Friday though, head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media his top center will be in the lineup Saturday night for Game 3.
“Bergy’s a maintenance day, I fully expect he’ll be in the lineup. …well, he will be in the lineup,” Cassidy said.
As for who will slot in on the blue line and replace the injured Matt Grzelcyk?
“Will probably be Johnny Moore,” said Cassidy. “He’s a left stick, keeps everything simple in terms of pairs and staying on strong sides. But we’ll make that decision for sure in the morning, but that’s the way we’re leaning.”
Moore skated with rookie Connor Clifton and had nothing but praise for the undrafted rookie that now finds himself playing in the Stanley Cup Final.
“He’s had a great postseason,” Moore said. “He’s certainly gotten better each and every game. It’s been fun to watch him on such a big stage really rise to the occasion. I’m excited if I am in to be with him. He’s a great player and I think our game will complement each other well.”
While Moore did note that he was obviously thrilled to be playing in his first Stanley Cup Final as well, he expressed his sympathy for the injured Grzelcyk. He’s also ready to do his best for Grzelcyk and all his teammates.
“I really wish that Grizz was still here and I wasn’t even talking to you guys,” Moore told reporters. “It’s terrible to see a teammate go down like that…this is why you train, why you prepare, why you take care of yourself. When you’re called upon, it’s time to do your job. That’s kind of the mentality we’ve had all year – next man up. Now it’s my turn, I’m ready to go”
Also of note on Friday was the fact that rookie Urho Vaakanainen skated during the regular practice and not with the Black Aces as he has for the majority of the playoffs.
“We wanted eight in our group and it’s good for Vaak to get around this time of year, be involved,” Cassidy said. “It’s a little more about filling out practice and him getting a taste of what it’s like this time of year. He’s part of our future, could be our immediate future if we get more injuries – or down the road.”
Here’s what the Bruins lineup looked like Friday at practice:
Marchand – Kuhlman – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes
Johansson – Coyle – Heinen
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Moore – Clifton
Vaakanainen – Kampfer
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