By: Ryan Duffy | Follow me on Twitter: @Rduffy26
Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno was forced out of Wednesday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers with an upper-body injury. Foligno sustained the injury in the second period with just under five minutes left when the Bruins were down 3-2. The Bruins left wing registered two shots on goal and one hit in just 8:37 of ice time.
“Upper body. He just pulled something,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy following the loss. “Hopefully, nothing serious. But [he] wasn’t able to return, so that’s never a good sign. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
It’s uncertain whether Foligno’s injury in Wednesday’s matchup is related to the back injury he had playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. The injury last season forced him out of the Maple Leaf’s lineup for some time, so it comes as concern whether Foligno will be ready to go for Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Since Foligno was unable to return to the lineup, this forced Cassidy’s hand to shuffle the Bruins lineup mid-game. As a result, Cassidy bumped up Karson Kuhlman from the fourth line to the third line right wing alongside Erik Haula and Jake DeBrusk. The trio finished the third period strong as they recorded five shots together as a line.
It’s unfortunate to see Foligno get hurt early this season since he seemed to be meshing in well with Haula and Debrusk. The three of them have seemingly developed solid chemistry between the preseason and the two regular-season games. If you play a bullish-style game as Foligno does, injuries are bound to happen.
If Foligno cannot return to the lineup on Friday, Cassidy will need to add a right-winger to either the third or fourth line. If Cassidy chooses to keep Kuhlman on the third line, he may slot Anton Blidh with Tomas Nosek and Trent Frederic on the fourth line. The issue with putting Blidh on the fourth line is that he has little time playing on the right side, let alone minimal NHL experience.
Since Curtis Lazar is still out with his upper-body injury, this may lead to the Bruins calling up Chris Wagner from the Providence Bruins. As Bruins fans know, Wagner was formerly on the Bruin’s fourth line before being placed on waivers and sent down to the minors in the AHL. Since being sent down to the AHL, Wagner has collected a goal in the Providence Bruins two games this season.
The Bruins could also call up Oscar Steen, Jesper Froden, or Jack Studnika to play on the right side of the third or fourth line. The Bruins staff have been adamant about playing Studnika only as a center, so it’s unlikely that the Bruins would use Studnika in this circumstance. The 22-year-old has collected a goal and an assist for Providence so far this season.
The Bruins management and coaching staff will further evaluate Foligno’s status ahead of Friday night’s game and decide the best decision for both him and the team. If Foligno is unable to play, they have a multitude of options to choose from in the system to substitute for the bottom-six right-wing position.