The Boston Bruins will once again be without center David Krejci and forward Joakim Nordstrom Tuesday night when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to TD Garden for the first time since eliminating them in Game 7 of the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Krejci and forward Karson Kuhlman did not practice Monday and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy also told the media Monday that Kuhlman, who took a Jake DeBrusk shot off his leg in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs Saturday, is questionable for the rematch with the Leafs Tuesday night. Nordstrom and Par Lindholm wore non-contact jerseys in practice on Monday but Cassidy was confident Lindholm would be good to go.
“Kuhlman is day-to-day and we’ll see how he responds [on Tuesday]. So that we’ll determine in the morning,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Lindholm looks good to go. Nordstrom probably not as far along as [Lindholm] as far as being good to go, but that’s a decision we’ll make tomorrow. Krejci won’t play [on Tuesday] and we’ll see how it works out for later in the week.”
Krejci (upper-body) will be missing his third straight game and Nordstrom (foot) will be out for his second straight contest. This means that the Bruins will have a mishmash lineup again and if Kuhlman can’t go, Cassidy and general manager Don Sweeney may have to call on some reinforcements from their American Hockey League club in Providence. The likely candidate would be winger Anders Bjork, who has three goals and five assists in seven games with the P-Bruins. Cassidy however, is on record as saying the Bruins may be a bit hesitant to rush Bjork back to the NHL because he would be forced to play his off-wing with the logjam of left wingers in Boston.
“We wanted him to go down and find his offensive game and he has,” Cassidy told the media Friday. “Is it enough of a sample size to say he’s ready to play in the NHL? Until we bring him up that’s a hard question to answer. We wanted it to be a prolonged amount of time, whether that was one month, 10 days, two months. Five games is probably a little bit of a short sample supply, but he certainly has passed the test down there if we decide to go that way.
That’s the other thing. We’d like him to go in on the left side where he’s been playing, where he played in camp. Ideally, to bring him up and then put him in a position to not succeed is not something we would want to do in a perfect world. But Danton [Heinen] could move over. Nordy’s not traveling, so there’s an opportunity, we’d just have to drop some guys down.”
If Kuhlman is a go though, the lineup would be the same as it was Saturday in Toronto, with the lone exception being that Tuukka Rask would be between the pipes and not Jaro Halak.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen – Par Lindholm – Brett Ritchie
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton