The Bruins will be without two regulars on their backend Thursday night against the Devils, with both Matt Grzelcyk and Jakub Zboril ruled out by B’s coach Bruce Cassidy.
The decision on both defenders came after yet another missed practice day Wednesday, and it seems likely that both players will miss more than just Thursday’s contest barring a sudden turnaround.
“It’ll be tough to say they would have a chance to play [Sunday] if they don’t get on the ice pretty soon,” Cassidy, whose team will travel to Lake Tahoe for an outdoor game with the Flyers after Thursday’s contest, admitted. “That’s a long way to go for one game.”
There’s also a break after Tahoe that could be beneficial to getting each player back to 100 percent.
“Then you start thinking, we don’t play again until the next Thursday on Long Island, so [maybe] we’re better off not taking them with us and just letting them get prepared,” Cassidy wondered. “That will have to be a discussion we have internally about those two. Let’s see where they are [Thursday].”
The 5-foot-9 Grzelcyk has missed the last two games due to a lower-body injury, and has been injured in four of his six appearances to date this season.
Zboril, meanwhile, was injured in the first period of last Saturday’s meeting with the Islanders. The Bruins have termed his injury to be an upper-body one, but noted that it was not related to the heavy hit he took from the Rangers’ Jacob Trouba in last Friday’s meeting at Madison Square Garden.
With Grzelcyk and Zboril out of action, Connor Clifton and John Moore are expected to jump into action, while Steven Kampfer remains with the club as a taxi squad option.
The Bruins enter Thursday’s contest with a 10-2-2 record, including a 4-0-0 mark at home, in 2021.