The Bruins were dealt a significant blow before their six-game win streak came to an end Friday night, with captain and top-line center Patrice Bergeron ruled out of action half an hour before puck drop in a 6-4 loss to the Sabres.
Speaking after the game, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy kept it simple when it came to Bergeron’s status.
“Lower body,” Cassidy said. “He’ll be day-to-day until we hear differently, obviously.”
With lower body as specific as the B’s would get, it was safe to assume that Bergeron was dealing with some after effects of a blocked shot that went off his left foot just moments into Thursday’s victory over the Sabres. Bergeron hobbled to the bench after that blocked shot, but finished the game without any noticeable issues.
A look at the play from last night where Patrice Bergeron might have been injured. pic.twitter.com/2MRxJXNCYh— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 23, 2021
And with Bergeron out on Friday, the Bruins moved Charlie Coyle to the middle of Boston’s first line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the wings, while Sean Kuraly moved into Coyle’s spot between Jake DeBrusk and Nick Ritchie. That created a vacancy on the left side of the B’s fourth line, which was ultimately filled by Anton Blidh.
But the Bruins failed to get much out of those changes, especially on the first line with Coyle asked to fill-in for Bergeron. Given a downright golden opportunity to break out of his funk by skating with two of the best wingers in all of hockey, Coyle, who has now gone 26 straight games without a goal, was a non-factor at five-on-five and finished without a shot on goal and a minus-2 in 16:48 of time on ice.
Even with the quiet night from his typically-superhuman first line, Cassidy didn’t want to put this loss on the fact that the Bruins were asked to skate without their do-it-all center on the second leg of a back-to-back.
“[Bergeron]’s our No. 1 center, so we missed him in a lot of situations,” Cassidy acknowledged. “But we’re a pretty good team, we’ve got depth. In the past, we’ve won games without him in the lineup. We’re fortunate this year. We haven’t had to play without him. He’s been healthy. But I’m not going to say we lost the game because Bergy wasn’t playing. I mean, as I just said, he’s a big part of every facet of our game, but there’s other guys certainly capable.
“I don’t think he had any effect on guys not being hard enough on pucks or or playing a more determined game. That’s on the individual and me to get it out of them. So we missed him, but certainly not the cause for defeat tonight.”
The Bruins will have Saturday off before returning to the ice Sunday afternoon against the Penguins.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.