By Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
The Boston Bruins may be without top-six forward Jake DeBrusk in the team’s home opener Saturday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes after Debrusk suffered an upper-body injury in the first game of the season.
Early in the second, DeBrusk was digging for the puck in the corner when Washinton defenseman Erik Gustafsson landed a hit that forced DeBrusk to land awkwardly on his right side. DeBrusk left the ice favoring his arm and played three more shifts in the period before remaining on the bench to finish the middle frame. DeBrusk did not return for the third, which caused Coach Jim Montgomery to double-shift some of the other forwards. The Bruins defeated the Capitals 5-2 in the road opener.
Without any update as of Friday morning on DeBrusk, the questions begin of who will move to the right wing on the Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall line. First, the easy solution would be to move Craig Smith off the third line and then look to fill the hole on the AJ Greer, Charlie Coyle line.
Montgomery could choose to move Jakub Lauko up to fill Smith’s role, activate Chris Wagner, or we could see fan-favorite Marc McLaughlin called up from Providence to play on either the third or fourth lines.
The 22-year-old winger made his debut against Washington Wednesday night and gave the team, coach, and fans just a glimpse of what he has to offer to the black and gold. He finished the game with 11:36 of ice time, three hits, and drew two penalties.
“That’s why we want him in the lineup,” Montgomery said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Not just his ability to draw penalties but his speed and take pucks to hard areas. I thought that fourth line got us going right away in the first shift of the game. … Really pleased.”
The veteran winger spent last season in Providence and managed to clear waivers two days before the season opener this year. He brings good hockey IQ, grit, and energy to the line up and if he were to slot in with Greer and Coyle, it could be a formidable checking line with a burst of speed and offensive skills. In his three preseason appearances, Wagner registered 21 hits and averaged over 15 minutes of ice time each game.
The Bilerica native became a fan favorite last season when he played 11 games for Boston. That energy he displayed in those games transcended to training camp and the preseason with McLaughlin playing solid minutes in four games and potting two goals. Bruins fans were shocked when McLaughlin was sent to Providence prior to Don Sweeney submitting the 23-man roster to the NHL. Sweeney released the AHL roster last night which included McLaughlin and Providence opens their season tonight at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Rhode Island. The trip up Route 95 is not that long so McLaughlin could still get the call.
Of course, this is all mute if DeBrusk can go. Let’s hope the speedy right-winger recovers quickly and doesn’t miss too much time.