Bruce Cassidy confirmed to reporters on Thursday that both Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk will be out for the next two games for the Bruins with upper-body injuries.
Chara will sit out for the first time this season through at least the next two contests, against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. He's one of only four Bruins (David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, and Tim Schaller being the others) who played in all 68 games to start the season.
DeBrusk, meanwhile, catches the injury bug at an unfortunate time for the 21-year-old rookie. He'd scored 9 points in as many games since the Bruins added Rick Nash to his line with David Krejci.
The B's called up forward Anton Blidh and defenseman Paul Postma on an emergency basis on Thursday to account for the injuries. They could also be without Krug, who will be a game-time decision against Florida on Thursday.
Here's how the lines looked at practice:
#NHLBruins line rushes at pregame skate:
Marchand - Riley Nash - Pastrnak
Heinen - Krejci - Rick Nash
Wingels - Backes - Gionta
Schaller - Kuraly - Acciari
Holden - Miller
Krug/Postma - McQuaid
Grzelcyk - Carlo
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 15, 2018
So the Bruins, who already had to play without Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy, now have to play without Chara, DeBrusk, and possibly Krug as well. But amazingly, as long as Brad Marchand is on the ice you feel like The B's have a chance to win. It's just that it'll be as hard as any point in the season to play their best hockey, as they take on Florida missing multiple irreplaceable pieces.
Across The Bench...
Here's what to know about the Panthers as they take on the Bruins in their first game of the season without Chara:
-- The Panthers are solidly in the playoff hunt after a recent hot streak. Though they've lost two of their last four games, they're 11-3-1 in their last 15. And they need the two points more than the Bruins do, so this should be an energized Panthers team giving the B's a tough challenge tonight.
-- Aleksander Barkov is having a career year. The 22-year-old half-Russian-half-Finnish center is really starting to live up to his draft status; he went second overall to the Panthers in 2013, behind only the Avs' Nathan MacKinnon. He's on pace for 31 goals and 85 points this season. As a big, skilled center with a 200-foot game, he's become one of the most dangerous forwards in the league and one of the Bruins' biggest tests of the season.
-- The line led by Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau has been key to the Panthers' recent winning ways. Trocheck has 16 points in his last 15 games, while Huberdeau has 12. The latter has scored four goals in his last five games and will be tough for the Bruins' shorthanded defense to contain.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].