On the ice just once in the last week, the Boston Bruins were relying on a Thursday morning skate to give them a clearer idea as to the health status of more than a couple players working their way back from various injuries.
But a scheduling conflict at Warrior Ice Arena — the Bruins showed up at the facility only to find out that the NWHL’s on-ice adjustments to Warrior’s sheet in preparation for the Isobel Cup playoffs was an all-day project (or going to bleed into their scheduled 11 a.m. skate at their practice facility at the very least) — forced the Bruins to scrap their skate all together. And though the Bruins could’ve made a last-second dash to TD Garden to get that morning skate in and on the books, the logistical headaches of such a trek simply weren’t worth it in the eyes of Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
It’s a cancellation that won’t lead to any deviations from the original best-case-scenario plan in net, however, with Tuukka Rask set to make his first start since Mar. 7 in tonight’s head-to-head with the East-best Islanders.
“We would have liked to see him get a few more pucks today, but he feels that he’s ready to go to,” Cassidy said.
Injured in the closing moments of that Mar. 7 start against the Devils, Rask comes into tonight’s contest with an 8-4-2 record and .906 save percentage in 14 games this season, and remains in search of his 300th career victory. Rask has allowed five goals on 59 shots in two starts against the Isles in 2021.
In front of Rask, 6-foot-6 defenseman Jarred Tinordi is considered probable for tonight’s contest just nine days after taking a brutal-looking hit from the Penguins’ Brandon Tanev. Tinordi was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, which is always an encouraging sign, but the Bruins will make their call on Tinordi following tonight’s pregame warmup.
Up front, Trent Frederic, who was an early departure from last Thursday’s win over the Sabres after a blocked shot left him in some discomfort (and required X-rays), will also take the warmup and go from there.
Jack Ahcan and Jack Studnicka will both skate in the warmup as potential backup options for Tinordi and Frederic.
Up front, the Bruins will be down Jake DeBrusk and Sean Kuraly due to COVID protocols, while Zach Senyshyn and Ondrej Kase will also remain out of action with upper-body injuries. And with Oskar Steen returned to Providence, Karson Kuhlman will move to the right side of Boston’s third line with Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle.
Defensemen Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, and John Moore all remain out of action as well.
The Bruins come into tonight’s contest 0-3-1 against the Islanders this season.