Bruins DeBrusk Returns To Lineup As Club Gets Healthy For Playoff Run

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter @CSthinks

Jake DeBrusk made his return to the Bruins’ lineup on Saturday after missing five games due to a lower-body injury he sustained against Carolina. An injury that, after sustaining, DeBrusk played with en route to scoring a goal and setting up the overtime winner with an incredible pass to linemate David Krejci.

 

Until Saturday, the Bruins had gone 2-3-0 since DeBrusk’s injury and had lost three straight entering their tilt against Columbus. This was the second time that the Black and Gold squared off against the Jackets in less than a week, and Columbus had handled the B’s in their matchup on March 12th, with Boston reeling from injuries.

In their first meeting, the Bruins went down 5-1 fairly early in the contest and, despite a solid push to even the score, ended up falling 7-4. While the game displayed the amount of compete that lives within the walls of the Boston locker room, it unfortunately also showed how shorthanded they were. Their weakened offensive punch failed to measure up to a healthy Columbus team.

Saturday’s game was a different story. While it was certainly a game that featured many fewer goals and better team defense and goaltending, the impact that DeBrusk made on the game was palpable.

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

The Obvious Benefits

Quite frankly, Jake The Snake rejoining the lineup is a horrible sign for teams in the East. Not only because he alone makes the Bruins lineup more effective in myriad ways, but because his return is the first domino to fall (or stand up again) in a series of key players on the Bruins that are coming back from injury.

DeBrusk’s return to the first powerplay unit not only adds skill and finishing to said unit, but it also moves a skilled player in Heinen back to the second powerplay unit, improving PP2 as well.

DeBrusk’s return to the second line moves players that play a more natural bottom-six role down to the third line, which makes the Bruins deeper throughout their entire middle six.

DeBrusk’s presence on the forecheck puts significant pressure on defensemen and eliminates their ability to beat him with skating. He shuts down the opponent and has a knack to aggressively hunts down pucks.

DeBrusk’s ability to stretch the ice with his own speed opens up the neutral zone for the Bruins and facilitates offensive-zone entries with possession.

DeBrusk’s ability to handle the puck down low extends offensive zone possession time and wears down the opposition. This lightens the load of the makeshift third line that will then likely be playing against worn down opponents, thus mitigating the possible negatives of players that are unfamiliar with one another. More time in the O-zone means more rest for the Bruins’ defensemen. This means fresher legs and better d-zone coverage.

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( Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/ AP )

The Pending Danger

Yep. DeBrusk brings a ton to the Bruins’ lineup when he’s playing at full capacity. Look at the tear he was on before he got injured. Look at his playoff performance against the Leafs last year. The kid is an absolute gamer, and you can see the intensity with which he approaches each game in the celebrations that, without fail, follow all of his goals. I would say he is made of pure energy, but there’s quite a bit of skill thrown in there as well.

So the obvious benefits of him being back are beyond beneficial (great alliteration by me, don’t mention it). But the tacit implications of his return to the lineup stretch much farther than his own individual impact on hockey games.

As DeBrusk was one of 6 Bruins to be sidelined with injuries diagnosed with short-term recovery periods, his resurgence only indicates that there is more firepower making its way back to the Black and Gold lineup. Accompanying DeBrusk are 2 more top-six forwards, in David Pastrnak (PastrBack? I’ll see myself out) and Marcus Johansson. While admittedly these two don’t carry the same weight in their respective impact on the Bruins attack, when the Bruins’ top two lines are healthy they are among the most effective in the league. In my opinion, they are the deepest top-six in the league when fully healthy.

 

But also in the current short-term injury crew are Kevan Miller, Matt Grzelcyk, and Torey Krug. In other words, a tough and reliable yet strong skating stay at home defenseman in Miller; an expectation-exceeding, smooth skating puck mover (Grz); a powerplay quarterback who makes a strong first pass (Krug). These three defensemen are all entities that have proven just how effective they can be to a healthy Bruins lineup. DeBrusk’s return from injury only signals that they are all that much closer to coming back themselves.

When the Bruins’ forward unit is whole, and their D-core is similarly healthy, then they are deep enough up front to bring it to the best in the league, and solid enough on the back end to stifle explosive offenses. We were able to see glimpses of the team’s potential against San Jose and Tampa Bay before the B’s got bit by the injury bug.

With the return of DeBrusk, comes the depth that the Bruins’ roster has not benefitted from in many years. Opponents haven’t needed to ready themselves for a Bruins team so well-rounded, and it’s my expectation that few teams, if any, will be able to adequately match up.

 

Simply put, DeReturn of DeBrusk is a big one for DeBruins.

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Pastrnak, Grzelcyk Among Other Returnees To Bruins Practice

david-pastrnak-010118-getty-ftrjpg_d8sgjt3htlw016pc8gyan44q9Photo Courtesy Of Sporting News

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced a bevy of updates at practice this morning, including the possible return of David Pastrnak who has been out since February 10th due to surgery on his injured thumb. The B’s have posted a record of 12-3-1 in his absence.

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Cassidy also announced that defenseman Torey Krug will travel with the team on their upcoming four game road trip after suffering an upper body injury during the B’s last road trip. Marcus Johansson and Matt Grzelcyk could potentially play on the road trip as well. Grzelcyk has been out for the last week after suffering an arm injury against the Penguins last Sunday night. Johansson has been out for the last two weeks since suffering a lung contusion against the Hurricanes on March 5th.

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Kevan Miller is unlikely to travel with the team this week and remains out since February 23rd. Tuukka Rask will start tomorrow night in New York when the Bruins face the Islanders. Cassidy expects Pastrnak to return to the first line when he comes back to the lineup. The B’s have been waiting to get healthy for nearly the entire season and today looked like a good sign that the team is getting close to being fully healthy.

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Spin Zone: The Bruins’ Injuries Might Be The Best Thing For Them

( Photo Credit: Winslow Towson/ USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

 

There are no typos in that title. I typed all of those words on purpose.

David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller, Marcus Johansson, and most recently Matt Grzelcyk have been sidelined with injuries during the Bruins’ impressive stretch of hockey over the last month and a half. While thankfully none of these injuries are all that severe, they did leave the Bruins shorthanded.

Certainly, many human beings with brains will look at the short term impacts that these injuries have on the roster and say it made the Black and Gold a weaker team. To those people, I offer this: Duh. But as a Bruins homer and a semi-rationally-thinking hockey fan, these injuries have been a blessing. They are perfect injuries, and I love them.

“But Cam, tell us why! We want to know!”

Relax. I’m getting to that. Don’t interrupt me.

As I was saying, I am truly proud of the Bruins’ ability to get injured in just the right ways. When compared to the severity of injuries that Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug underwent in the tail end of last season, the Bruins’ have learned from their mistakes and are getting injured in a much smarter way.

All of the Bruins that have been injured in the last month or so have done so in a way that only sidelines them for at most a month. The use of the expression “at most” is misplaced here, but I really enjoy the expression. Obviously, David Pastrnak has been out for a month already so he might have singlehandedly (nice) voided the credibility of my use of the expression. But he’ll be back soon, so I’ll allow it.

Here are the three reasons why these injuries, to important pieces of the Bruins lineup, are crucial to the team’s playoff success.

1. Secondary Scoring/Depth

David Pastrnak’s injury in the second week of February effectively removed the Bruins’ leading scorer at the time. For a team that had been plagued by a lack of depth until recently, this loss might have seemed more grave at the time than it ended up being. Pastrnak’s absence (his Pastrnabsence, if you will) thrust the responsibility of scoring onto the rest of the lineup. And the rest of the B’s, since his injury, has not only added key deadline pieces to address their secondary scoring but have answered the bell and then some (see: ridiculous point streak). A team that can survive, and even thrive without debatably their most lethal offensive threat, will only be that much stronger when they get him back. Very nice (Borat voice).

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

2. Saving Legs

While the injuries come to key cogs in the machine that is the Bruins’ lineup, their ability to keep the machine running effectively in the absence of these cogs has been impressive. The aspect of so many key players being out for brief hiatuses is that despite being injured, they are also saving their legs for the playoff stretch. While some rust can certainly be expected from each Bruin upon their respective returns, they will have just enough time to dust off the cobwebs and get back to midseason form come postseason time.

The timing of this “rest” is auspicious given that it is coming in the dog days of the season when the Bruins begin a stretch where they essentially play every other day for a month. If the team can keep winning while some of your top dogs lick their wounds, then expect to win more when they rejoin the pack (I got really into dog metaphors for a minute).

3. Accountability

Undoubtedly, injuries bring added pressure to the regulars in the lineup, as they are subsequently tasked with shouldering the load that their fallen comrade might have been expected to carry. This is true of any team. But what Bruce Cassidy has done in the absence of Pastrnak, DeBrusk, Johansson, Miller, and now Grzelcyk has been interesting—he’s shortened the bench even more.

While the injuries to the aforementioned Bruins already shorten what would be a healthy bench, Cassidy went even further in a few games by sitting players like Peter Cehlarik, Charlie Coyle, and John Moore.  While none of them had been playing all that poorly, Cassidy sent a clear message that if players weren’t putting their best effort or product on the ice, then they were no longer going to see the ice. Fortunately, it seemed like these instances of Cassidy sitting guys down paid off, and the Bruins found ways to win with their shortened bench.

While there is certainly a school of thought that might scrutinize players having too short of a leash, Cassidy has proven time and again that he knows how to get the best out of his players. The heightened responsibility created by the Bruins injuries has placed many of the remaining healthy B’s under the microscope. The focus on their play in the absence of important players has only worked to make them more accountable as a unit and as individuals.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images )

So there’s your spin zone. Obviously, most players will play better in the short term if their lungs aren’t bruised, or their hands aren’t broken, blah blah blah. And a healthy team will be better in the short term with healthier players. But in the case of the Bruins, I think it’s reasonable to expect that this most recent period of success combined with adversity will be looked back on as a turning point in the season.

All the teams in movies have one.

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Bruins Recall Lee Stempniak On Emergency Basis

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By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has called wing Lee Stempniak up from their AHL affiliate in Providence. Stempniak has practiced with the NHL squad all season, earned himself a PTO (professional tryout) with Providence, and officially began his second tour of duty with the Bruins when they signed him on February 24.

Presumably, the 36-year-old Stempniak has been called up due to injuries to wings Marcus Johansson (lung contusion) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body). Johansson will be re-evaluated next week, and DeBrusk is reportedly nursing a very minor injury, but now it looks like he may be missing his second consecutive game.

Since playing in the AHL for Providence, Stempniak has scored two goals and notched three assists for a total of five points in seven AHL contests since re-signing. The Seneca, NY native has thirteen NHL seasons seasons under his belt, and is known as a journeyman, as he has played for ten teams, which is tied for second most in league history.

The versatile forward has played 909 NHL games, had scored 203 goals, and has assisted on 266, for a total of 469 points. If inserted into the Bruins’ lineup, Stempniak will likely be skating alongside David Krejci and Slovak rookie Peter Cehlarik. The veteran wing can still be an effective player in the National Hockey League, and will be able to help the Black and Gold if he is in the lineup. Judging from his time in Providence, Stempniak has not lost his scoring touch, and is eager to return to NHL action.

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Bruins DeBrusk Out With Undisclosed Injury

NHL: Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins

( Photo: Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images )

By: Thomas Nyström | Follow Me On Twitter @nahstrom

Boston Bruins F Jake DeBrusk was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot after yesterday’s practice and was also noticeably uncomfortable while running drills with the team Wednesday. It is unclear at this point what exactly DeBrusk may be battling but this is obviously a concern to the red-hot Bruins who are currently on a 17-game point streak.

The injury has yet to be announced and would appear that DeBrusk would be considered day-to-day at this point. We last saw DeBrusk with his brilliant steal and assist on the David Krejci game winner in OT on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Unless he was injured in that sequence it would be logical to assume that whatever is hampering him either happened or was aggravated in an off-ice incident.

As for tonight’s game with the Florida Panthers, DeBrusk was not on the ice for warm-ups and the Providence call up Karson Kuhlman will get the nod.

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Bruins’ Johansson Sustains Lung Contusion

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photo credit: Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins announced this evening that Bruins forward Marcus Johansson has sustained a lung contusion. Tuesday night in Boston, the newly acquired Johansson was injured during the first period of a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Johansson collided with Hurricanes wing Micheal Ferland immediately after dishing the puck to linemate Jake DeBrusk. Johansson would not return to the game after the hit.

As it turns out, Johansson was brought to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was admitted and stayed overnight for observation. The 28-year-old Swede suffered a lung contusion and will be re-evaluated by specialists in a week’s time. Cross your fingers, Bruins fans.

Johansson being sidelined for an extended period would be quite the blow against the Bruins’ postseason aspirations, but given the timeline announced by the team, that likely will not happen. MoJo has a history of concussions — one of them thanks to the antics of new teammate Brad Marchand — so there is almost definitely a feeling of relief in regard to today’s diagnosis.

As for the Bruins’ lineup in Johansson’s absence, expect Slovak wing Peter Cehlarik to continue to play right wing on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Cehlarik did an admirable job filling in for the injured Johansson for the remainder of the game against Carolina and is the best choice out of the options the Bruins have (Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes) to slide into Johansson’s roster spot.

With any luck, this will only be a temporary setback for Johansson and the Bruins. Acquiring him was a smart trade deadline move on Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s part, and he certainly has a lot to offer.  Let’s hope for a smooth recovery and return to the lineup.

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Why Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy Should Be In Conversation For Coach of the Year

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins have been on a roll lately and are currently on a 14 game point streak as of their February 28th matchup with the NHL’s best Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is feeling it right now, and season-long confidence from Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff has fueled this team to a top team in the league. Bruce Cassidy should be in the conversation with NHL’s elite coaches.

Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins have skyrocketed to the top of the Eastern Conference and the NHL’s overall standings. As of Thursday, they sit at 83 points which is second in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and Third place in the overall league standings. They even came in second in the NHL’s weekly power rankings. Just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, every point down the stretch is still critical for Boston and their playoff positioning.

At the forefront of every good hockey team is obviously good players. But, accompanying high-end talent on the ice, is high-end talent behind the bench. The Bruins have that in Bruce Cassidy. Bruce Cassidy was hired as interim head coach on February 07, 2017 after the firing of Claude Julien who coached the Bruins for 10 seasons and is the winningest coach in Boston Bruins franchise history. He then became the 28th head coach on April 26, 2017.

Bruce Cassidy undoubtedly has big shoes to fill. Throughout extensive injuries last year and this year, the Bruins under Bruce Cassidy have the second best record in the league since he was hired in February of 2017. Bruce Cassidy is currently 105-44-22 in parts of 3 seasons in Boston. He just recently became the second fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins when his team defeated Chicago 6-3 on February 12, 2019. With 100 wins in 166 games, only Tom Johnson was quicker in the 1971-1972 season when it took him 138 games to get to 100.

It is evident that Bruce Cassidy’s system is working in Boston and in my opinion, has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. They continue to win games, and his voice in the locker room is strong. Bruce Cassidy has lost many players for parts of this season to injuries like David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, and many others. As a result, he has shown a lot of confidence in the young players stepping into the lineup or into new line roles like Heinen, DeBrusk, Cehlarik, Kuhlman, Frederic, Vaakanainen and others. But despite these man-games lost, the Bruins are still climbing the NHL standings and solidifying their spot in the 2019 playoffs.

As the Bruins have battled their injuries this season, Cassidy has had to balance a lineup that has seen a lot of youngsters from Providence fill in for the injured B’s and has taken a lot of criticism for his line pairs. However, I think Cassidy has done his best with the lineup, and his system has worked. Thanks to their second-best powerplay percentage at 26.4%, strong leadership, experience, trade deadline help and consistent contribution up and down the lineup, the Bruins have emerged as a strong Stanley Cup contender from the East.

Wins speak volumes with whoever is in the lineup for the Bruins. Regardless of who has stepped in for Boston this season, the Bruins continue to win under Bruce Cassidy. Along with the likes of Bill Peters in Calgary, Barry Trotz with the Islanders and John Cooper with the Lightning, Bruce Cassidy has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year.

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Bruins Update: Pastrnak Out Two More Weeks

 

Image result for david pastrnak(Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins announced an update this afternoon on right-winger David Pastrnak in regards to his recent thumb surgery. General Manager Don Sweeney stated that the 22-year-old Czech-native will be in a cast for two more weeks, at which time he’ll be re-evaluated. If all goes well, Pastrnak is expected to be fitted with a splint and “it will be a matter of comfort” for a return tot he lineup.

“He’ll be in a cast for two more weeks. An then after that-he started skating today-after that he’ll be fitted for a splint and it’s just a matter of comfort, when he’s able to be most comfortable. He won’t have any restricitons at that point and time”

-General Manager Don Sweeney

At this morning rushes, Pastrnak skated for the first time without holding a stick. Team doctors have been pleased with the progression and it was previously reported that Pastrnak has been in good spirits following the surgery.

With their top scorer out of the line-up, the team had to adopt a  “next man up” attitude. Boston has seen a recent surge of offensive plays from their second-year players such as Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen. The Bruins have closed out a very successful western trip and enjoyed a seven-game winning streak. Boston luckily has not lost their step without number 88. Without Pastrnak, the Bruins have seen their scoring go from 2.88 goals per game to 3.66. The boys in Black and Gold have also posted a 5-0-1 record sans Pasta and are on a 13-game point streak.

Pastrnak has missed six games with the team since his thumb surgery on February 22nd-an injury stemming from an accidental slip after an event. Pastrnak still leads the team with 31 goals and is second in points (66) behind Brad Marchand (who has 71 points). Boston is second in the Atlantic Division with three points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

david-pastrnak-101318-getty-ftr.jpg(Photo Credits: The Sporting News/Getty Images)

As far as when Pastrnak is looking to get back on the ice, Sweeney had this to say to the media:

“I mean clearly he’s going to be working with a splint or brace, so it’ll be a level of difficulty. But he’s a tough kid that wants to play hockey and you aleady saw him skating today. And first thing he said to me is, ‘I’ll be back sooner than what anybody expects.’ I think he’ll be perfectly fine. It’ll be different because he’s had a procedure done. But he’ll get past that, he’ll be fine. I spoke to the doctors today and he feels good about where David’s at.”

As he continues to recover from surgery,  today’s acquisition of New Jersey Devils’ forward Marcus Johansson will hopefully add some more production to the top-lines.

“…I think for us Marcus represents a lot of versality and production in a top-nine role, and thats something that we felt coming down the stretch that we still could use that.”

-General Manager Don Sweeney

The Bruins end February at home when they face the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have dominated the league with an unprecedented 98 points, so far. With 20 games left to the season, the Bruins will hopefully see the return of their star-winger sooner rather than later.

Enjoy some “Pasta” highlights:

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Bruins Give Update On David Pastrnak

David-PastrnakPhoto Courtesy Of NESN.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Tuesday morning Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that forward David Pastrnak had successful thumb surgery after a fall following a team event and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

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The 21-year-old has skated in every game for the Bruins this season and leads the team in goals (31) and points (66). Pastrnak also has 35 assists which is good for second on the team. Last month, Pastrnak was selected to his first career All-Star game as the lone B’s representative. Pastrnak had five points in his five previous games before the injury.

The Havirov, Czech Republic native was drafted in the first round (25th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. Pastrnak made his NHL debut on November 24th, 2014 and scored his first career goal on January 10th, 2015, scoring twice in Philadelphia against the Flyers. This injury comes at a interesting time for the Bruins as they have recently found some offense with the recent line changes. However, losing a player of Pastrnak’s caliber is a big blow and with this team struggling to score all season long, an injury like this is never good.

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The good news for the B’s is that this injury isn’t too serious and Pastrnak should be back relatively soon. Also, this opens up the door for some players to get more opportunities to play higher in the lineup. Look for Jake DeBrusk and David Backes to get opportunities to play on the second line in Pastrnak’s absence.

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Bruins Place G Tuukka Rask On Retroactive IR, Recall G McIntyre

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Associated Press)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Off the hands of the All-Star Weekend in San Jose, the Boston Bruins have announced some roster moves ahead of their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, January 29th. In addition to some forward breaking news that can be found on blackngoldhockey.com, the Bruins announced today that goaltender Tuukka Rask has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to January 19th and goaltender Zane McIntyre has been called up from the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

In the final game before the nine-day break, goaltender Tuukka Rask was involved in a scary collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil, resulting in Rask leaving the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Jaroslav Halak replaced Rask in the game and the Bruins went on to lose 3-2 the final score.

The extended break for the Bruins may have been the best thing possible for Rask and the organization. It has been confirmed today that Rask has indeed suffered a concussion from the collision and in today’s NHL, concussions are taken quite seriously as they should be. The time off has allowed the Bruins doctors and trainers to properly diagnose Rask and Rask has not had to miss any games in the meantime.

While the Bruins have ruled Rask out of the game against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, they have not ruled out a possible return for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The retroactive injured reserve placement means Rask can return to the Bruins lineup whenever he feels that he is ready. To replace him against the Jets, Boston has called up goalie Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis.

McIntyre has played in twenty-seven games with the Providence Bruins, compiling a record of 16-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.74 and a save percentage of .887%. The 165th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins has made eight NHL appearances, going 0-4-1 in that time span along with a 3.93 goals-against-average and a .858 save percentage.

In my opinion, Boston will go with Halak against the Jets, as he is the better goaltender and has done well this season. McIntrye will most likely serve as a backup goaltender for the inevitable future but the possibility is there for him to get his first National Hockey League start in goal in the 2018-19 season.

Returning from the All-Star festivities, it is now crunch time for the B’s as we enter the final stretch of the ’18/’19 regular season. Boston currently sits in the first wild-card position, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division, but the Bruins do have two games in hand. Boston also has a five-point lead on the Buffalo Sabres who are the best team that is currently outside of the playoffs. Every game from this point on has its consequences and the healthy return of Tuukka Rask is needed to make that push for the post-season.

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