(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Nathan Strauss | Follow him on Twitter @NathanPStrauss

Help is on the way. The Bruins have been playing shorthanded over the course of the last week while being hamstrung due to a Covid shutdown in Providence which limited their ability to bring in reinforcements. Oskar Steen and Jack Ahcan have joined the Bruins as they prepare for a daunting game against the Lightning tonight before the team embarks on a Western Canadian tour beginning Wednesday in Vancouver.

Oskar Steen has been tearing up the AHL level this year, averaging over a point per game. With seven goals and six assists in 12 games, he leads Providence in points despite only playing in two-thirds of their games. The former sixth-round selection picked up his first NHL point earlier this year with an assist for Jake DeBrusk. Steen has only skated in five NHL games, but his dominant play in Providence means he has earned the chance for many more. Steen can slot in at center or on the wing, making him a helpful utility piece for Boston on a long road trip.

With two goals and eight assists, Jack Ahcan has been the most productive defenseman for Providence this season. The former St. Cloud State Husky made his NHL debut last year against Buffalo, where despite only clocking in at 5 feet, 8 inches, he did not look overmatched. He has played first-pair minutes in Providence this year while also quarterbacking the power play, making him a dynamic option.

Amongst the players, the Black ‘n’ Gold have been missing is Brad Marchand, who is serving the third game of his three-game suspension tonight against Tampa. Marchand’s absence was acutely felt in Tuesday’s loss to the Red Wings, and while legitimate questions can be raised surrounding the nature of his punishment, his return to the lineup for the Canadian road trip which is coming is a certainty. The Bruins have also been without Anton Blidh, whose bottom-six presence was influential in the game against the Canucks last weekend before he was injured after being boarded.

In Thursday’s dominant win against Nashville, Jakub Zboril took an uncomfortable hit into the boards, hurting his knee in the process. He did not return after that lower-body injury. Prior to exiting against Nashville, Zboril drew heavy praise for his game over the last handful of weeks. After showing flashes of his potential in the past, Zboril looked every bit the role of an NHL defenseman, with a good eye for the puck and a two-way presence which his game had lacked in some of his previous Bruins stints.

Amidst the injuries came the news that former first-round pick Jake DeBrusk has asked for a trade. Under normal situations, when such a request is made public, the player would not be inserted into the lineup to protect their value and to guard against potential injuries, but due to the suspension and injuries, DeBrusk played – and scored – at Nashville. Based on that performance, DeBrusk would appear to be in the lineup again tonight.

Per The Athletic‘s Fluto Shinzawa, Jack Ahcan took part in the morning skate while Charlie McAvoy and Zboril missed out. Jake DeBrusk is in the projected lineup as well, with Steen as an extra but not in the lineup. Regardless, the Bruins are in desperate need of bodies, and these recent call-ups are a welcome sight.