The Boston Bruins left most of their regular lineup back in Boston for a meaningless regular season finale against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
They did it ostensibly to avoid any potentially damaging injuries ahead of this weekend’s playoff opener against the very same Capitals team on Saturday night at Capital One Arena, and that mission was accomplished. But the Bruins did appear to suffer at least one injury as young defenseman Jakub Zboril was knocked out in the first period of a 2-1 loss to the Capitals with an upper body injury.
The 24-year-old defenseman appeared to catch a heavy hit against the boards early in the game and lasted for just 5:23 of ice time after entering the game in a top pairing role playing with young P-Bruins heavy roster against the Capitals.
It was just the second time in the month of April that Zboril has cracked the lineup for the Bruins after a solid 18:03 of work in a shutout win over the New Jersey Devils a week ago.
The good news: Zboril was going to be a reserve defenseman to start the postseason and wasn’t going to crack the top-6 as long as the Boston Bruins remain healthy on the back end. So, the injury doesn’t impact the Bruins in any real debilitating way while preparing for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
The bad news, though, is that injuries to players like Zboril carve into Boston’s depth before they even get started with the Stanley Cup playoffs. Smaller defensemen Matt Grzelcyk and Mike Reilly are undoubtedly going to be targets for hard-hitting opponents like the Washington Capitals, and the shaky status of Kevan Miller’s knees gives the Bruins several question marks on their back end headed into the first-round matchup.
Both Zboril and right wing Ondrej Kase (upper body) are banged up physically as the Bruins head into a couple off-days prior to the start of their playoff series against the Capitals this weekend.