A ‘dumb’ night in Philadelphia got dumber for Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy with the loss of third-line winger Nick Foligno in the second period.
Out for the final few minutes of the middle frame, the 33-year-old Foligno did not rejoin the Bruins for the third, and was officially ruled out for the remainder of the evening with an upper-body ailment. The diagnosis was confirmed by Cassidy following the loss, but with a seemingly glass half-full approach to Foligno’s status.
“He just pulled something,” Cassidy offered. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious. But [he] wasn’t able to return, so that’s never a good sign. We’ll see how he is [Thursday].”
Now, the worrisome part of Foligno’s injury should it be anything that keeps him beyond Wednesday’s loss is that the veteran dealt with a ‘debilitating’ back injury during his brief run with the Maple Leafs. The injury caused some nerve damage, and left Foligno reeling significantly throughout Toronto’s first-round postseason run.
The natural hope is that the ‘pull’ is not related to that.
With Foligno out, the Bruins promoted Karson Kuhlman to the third line with Jake DeBrusk and Erik Haula, and the trio finished with a 5-to-1 shot advantage in over three minutes of five-on-five play together.
Should that remain the case for Friday’s game in Buffalo, the Bruins would need a winger to plug into action in Kuhlman’s spot with Trent Frederic and Tomas Nosek. Anton Blidh has been with the Bruins as the team’s 13th forward to begin the year, but he has little to no experience playing right wing (why the Bruins went with Kuhlman over him in the first place), which may force the Bruins to reach into the AHL ranks for a fourth-line replacement.
Chris Wagner, who was waived and assigned to Providence before the start of the season, could be the best fit given the fact that he does not need to pass through waivers should the Bruins want to bring him back up for the weekend.
Wagner, who has embraced his trip down to the minors, has one goal in two games with the P-Bruins.
Other options could include Oskar Steen and Jesper Froden. Jack Studnicka could also be an option for the Bruins, but the Bruins seem rather adamant that Studnicka plays in a top-nine center role or not at all for the Big B’s.
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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.