A lower-body injury that ended his Game 1 after just two periods of play will keep second-line winger Craig Smith out of Game 2 against the Islanders, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Monday morning.
“He won’t play [Game 2],” Cassidy said. “We’ll list him as day-to-day [and] see how he does. Not sure we’d skate [Tuesday] anyway with an extra day between [games]. As we get closer to Game 3 I’ll let you know, but he won’t play [Game 2].”
One thing working in the Smith and the B’s favor here, and alluded to by Cassidy, is an extra day of rest between Games 2 and 3. Opposed to the normal every-other-day schedule, the Bruins will have a two-day break before returning to the ice for Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night. That, if Smith’s injury is indeed day-to-day, could provide a drastic difference.
But in the now, the Bruins will look to re-energize Jake DeBrusk, who finished Game 1 skating with David Krejci and Taylor Hall, by keeping him with that duo for tonight’s contest.
“We want to give Jake the opportunity to play with [Krejci] again,” said Cassidy. “He’s done that before. I know he looks up to Taylor Hall, so maybe that will spur him on a little more. Certainly a guy that has played in the top six.”
With DeBrusk promotion’s to the second line sticking for the start of tonight’s contest, Karson Kuhlman will jump into the lineup and skate on the right wing of a third line with Nick Ritchie and Charlie Coyle.
Cassidy admitted that moving Kuhlman, who totaled two goals in 20 games this year and three points in 13 career playoff games, up to Krejci’s line would’ve been the “easiest move.” But with the Bruins’ desire to get DeBrusk going, and Coyle’s growing familiarity with a speed player on his right, beginning the night with Kuhlman as the puck-hounding presence with the B’s bigger bodies will be play out of the gate.
“Just gotta go out and play your own game no matter what line you’re on,” said Cassidy. “But that’s the way we’re gonna start, see how it ends up. Like every game, we might have to make some moves in-game if we don’t like what we see, but hopefully it’s a good fit for everybody.”
In other injury news, Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss his third straight game after suffering a concussion in Boston’s first-round Game 4 win over the Capitals.
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.