The Boston Bruins got some good news ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the New York Rangers as captain Patrice Bergeron will rejoin the team in New York ahead of Thursday night’s game against the New York Islanders.
Bergeron will practice with the team in New York on Wednesday and could be an option for a return on Thursday after missing the last three games with an upper body injury after awkwardly crashing backwards into the boards against the Penguins. The absence was never deemed to be due to a concussion and he returned to the practice ice in less than a week’s time following the odd collision with Sidney Crosby, but either way it’s good news that No. 37 is feeling good and on track for a short absence.
“He’s coming [to New York] tomorrow. We expect him to practice with us [on Wednesday]. If all goes well, [his return to the lineup] could be as early as Thursday,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
In other interesting news, Mike Reilly is slated to get a top pairing shot with Charlie McAvoy against the Blueshirts as the Boston Bruins continue to look for a permanent solution on the top pairing alongside their Norris Trophy contender. The expectation is that Reilly will end up back with Brandon Carlo on the second pairing, but maybe some time with McAvoy helps him reclaim the level of play he reached last season after arriving in trade from Ottawa.
“We talked to Mike a while ago and that he would like that opportunity. At the start of the year we wanted to look at a bigger body with [Derek] Forbort and then it was [Matt] Grzelcyk. I think their comfort level and the way they play together is very good, so we’ve deferred back to that,” said Cassidy. “But with Grzelcyk out, we gave Mike a chance [against Ottawa] because you never know how guys are going to compliment each other. Brandon and [Reilly] had a really tough game the game before [against Carolina] so it was a little bit of getting them apart too.
“My guess is it’s offensive situations for him. To drive them. Maybe if he gets more power play time. If it’s a high-active game we’d rather have Reilly on the kill and Gryz on the power play to balance off the [ice time] minutes, but I think in games where he sees the puck more [he has better performances]. It helps him when he gets to support the rush and touch [the puck] as it’s going into the offensive zone.”
Matt Grzelcyk (upper body) is ready to go after missing Saturday’s game against the Senators following a collision behind the Boston net in last week’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Grzelcyk’s presence means that Jack Ahcan is going to be back out of the lineup after he was clobbered by Auston Watson last weekend in the matinee win over the Ottawa Senators.
Here is the Boston Bruins projected lineup vs. the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden:
Hall – Haula – Pastrnak
Frederic – Coyle – Smith
DeBrusk – Studnicka – Foligno
Blidh – Nosek – Lazar
Reilly – McAvoy
Grzelcyk – Carlo
Forbort – Clifton