The Bruins never officially ruled fourth-line winger Chris Wagner out for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
Injured in Game 3 of the Black and Gold’s third-round sweep of the Hurricanes, the upper-body ailment that sent Wagner back to Boston before the Bruins officially won the Prince of Wales Trophy was believed to be season-ending.
But there the Walpole, Mass. native — The Mayor of Walpole, as he’s been dubbed, actually — was out there on the ice and in a regular jersey for Boston’s final off-day practice before Wednesday’s winner-take-all Game 7 on TD Garden ice.
Skating with David Backes as Boston’s two extra forwards throughout the skate, Wagner’s return to the ice on Tuesday could have Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy rethinking what he said on Monday’s off-day when he seemed to suggest that he was not going to make any changes to his forward grouping.
“[Karson] Kuhlman did a good job, so he’ll probably stay in,” Cassidy said on Monday. “I don’t have any injury reports on any of the other forwards. That’s good news. Something could happen obviously.”
Well, Wagner’s full participation happened.
It will be interesting to see if it’s enough to push No. 14 back into action on Wednesday, too, as you could make the case that the fourth line was at its best this postseason when it had Wagner riding to the right of Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom. Noel Acciari has skated in Wagner’s place since the injury in round three, with one goal, one assist, 33 hits, and nine shots in seven games.
The 28-year-old Wagner has two goals in 12 games this postseason.