Boston Bruins

In what could be a sneaky-big loss for Jim Montgomery and the Bruins, Boston will find themselves down a fourth-line anchor for about a month at the very least, according to the latest medical update on Tomas Nosek.

“Tomas Nosek suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left foot during the team’s 3-1 win at the New York Rangers on Thursday, January 19,” a team-provided statement from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney read Saturday morning. “He will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks.”

Nosek, who has also been battling a lingering upper-body injury for close to a month now, finished Thursday’s contest with three blocked shots and two hits in 13:18 of time on ice.

  • Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) gets set for a face-off during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 25, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) gets set for a face-off during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • In action for 42 games this season, Nosek has tallied three goals and eight points on the year, and his 2:39 of shorthanded time on ice per game ranks second among all Boston penalty killers for a Black and Gold shorthanded crew currently ranked first in the NHL (87 percent).

    And it’s in the penalty-killing game where the Bruins will absolutely miss Nosek the most.

    One of 24 NHL forwards to log at least 100 shorthanded minutes this season, Nosek ranks second in on-ice shots against per 60 (45.99) and second in on-ice goals against per 60 (4.87). Nosek has also been on the ice for a league-low 16.23 high-danger chances against per 60 among that group of 24.

  • Dec 11, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) skates against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 11, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92) skates against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period at T-Mobile Arena. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

  • The 30-year-old Nosek has also been of huge help to the Bruins at the faceoff dot.

    With wins in 179 of 307 battles at the dot, Nosek’s 58.3 faceoff percentage ranks second on the Bruins behind Patrice Bergeron’s 62.7 percent. That 58.3 percent success rate is Nosek’s second-highest single-season career figure, trailing only 2018-19’s 62.1 percent mark in Las Vegas, which came with Nosek at the dot for just 132 faceoffs in total, so there’s an obvious sample size issue at play there.

    Given his own-zone acumen, Nosek has been primarily used as a defensive-zone faceoff specialist by Montgomery, and the results speak for themselves on that front.

    One of 88 skaters to take at least 150 faceoffs in their own zone this season, Nosek’s defensive faceoff success rate of 58.8 percent is the ninth-best among that group of 88. (Bergeron leads the NHL on that front, in case, you’re wondering, with an unfathomable 66.1 faceoff percentage in the defensive zone.)

    It is worth noting that Nosek has not taken a single faceoff in his last eight games, as his upper-body injury has prevented him from being able to take faceoffs comfortably, according to the team.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 12: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Seattle Kraken in his first NHL game during the first period at TD Garden on January 12, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 12: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Seattle Kraken in his first NHL game during the first period at TD Garden on January 12, 2023. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • With Nosek on the shelf, Joona Koppanen was once again recalled from Providence and is expected to fill in as Boston’s fourth-line center beginning with Sunday’s showdown with the Sharks.

    The 6-foot-5 Koppanen has appeared in two games to date with the Big B’s, and finished his last appearances, Wednesday against the Isles, with one block and five faceoff wins in 10:48 of time on ice. Overall, the lefty-shooting Koppanen has racked up two hits, one block, one shot, and won 10 of his 16 faceoffs with the Bruins.

    “I thought his first game was better than his second,” Montgomery said of Koppanen. “I thought his second [game], there’s things that happened in the game where he’s going to learn and get better from. I mean, it’s the NHL. You’re going to sometimes be in situations where you’re going to [say], ‘next time, I’m gonna be more aggressive’ or ‘next time I’m gonna do this.’ But he didn’t hurt us at all, he helped us win that game.

    “I think [Saturday] in practice is the best I’ve seen him look.”

  • ELMONT, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 18, 2023 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

    ELMONT, NEW YORK – JANUARY 18: Joona Koppanen #45 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena on January 18, 2023 in Elmont, New York. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

  • And though Koppanen will get a ‘softer’ landing with Sunday against San Jose and Tuesday in Montreal, the Bruins’ schedule will immediately ramp up with contests against the Lightning, Panthers, and Hurricanes.

    It’s a definite sort of sink-or-swim moment for the 24-year-old Koppanen, but it might be what exactly what he needs considering his obvious status as the current next lefty center up for the Bruins.

    “It’s good for him [and] it’s good for us to know [if] we have a guy who can do this daily, you know, and add to our playoff depth,” Montgomery said of the challenge in front of Koppanen. “Obviously, we’re looking at that for this year and we’re looking down the road for next year.”

    The good news is that the Bruins believe that this four-week breather for Nosek will not only test the Bruins’ depth — you always need in-season tests, but especially when you’ve been as good as the Bruins have been through the first 45 games of the season — but also allow that nagging upper-body injury to completely heal.