BRIGHTON, Mass – Just as the Boston Bruins were beginning to find consistency with their top six forwards, they may be without one of them for Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Bruins right winger Craig Smith is questionable for the home date against the Sabres after running into “a testing issue” with the NHL’s COVID Protocols.
The B’s are optimistic that things may clear up for Smith by tonight’s puck drop, but Jake DeBrusk skated in his place at Thursday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and would be poised to replace him in the lineup if the status quo remains.
“He had a testing issue, so he’s sorting through that,” said Bruce Cassidy, who clearly would like to keep the red-hot Smith in the lineup with his four goals and 13 points in 14 games during the month of April. “Hopefully, he’s here tonight and ready to go. Otherwise, it’s the same as the other night and Tuukka will go back in [at goaltender].”
Otherwise, it should be the same lineup with Tuukka Rask getting his second straight start after stopping 25-of-26 shots in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Otherwise, it should be the same lineup for the Black and Gold coming off a win.
In the good news department, Brandon Carlo skated without any restrictions at Thursday’s morning skate and could be available to play next week for the Boston Bruins following a week of getting back up to speed at practice. Kevan Miller was absent from Thursday’s morning skate as well, but that’s become standard operation procedure on game days for the hard-nosed defenseman to preserve his knees for game time.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Thursday’s morning skate: