WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins will take on a team familiar with injuries when Pittsburgh comes to town on Saturday with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin among the Penguins out of action.
But the Bruins found out Friday that they will be without some key players of their own. Already without Marc Savard (concussion) for the season and Andrew Ference (lower body) for another week, the Bruins learned they have lost defenseman Steven Kampfer for at least a week with a concussion and leading scorer Patrice Bergeron will also be unavailable.
"He's been diagnosed with a mild concussion," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Kampfer. "So they figure [he'll be out] about a week."
Kampfer was injured on a hit in the second period of Thursday's 2-1 win over the Lightning and did not play in the third. That came after he scored his first goal in 18 games earlier in the second to tie the game at 1-1.
Kampfer's game was getting back on track after some struggles led to his being a healthy scratch three times in a six-game span before Ference's injury gave him an opportunity to return to the lineup. The Bruins hope that Kampfer won't be out long and will be ready to build off of Thursday's effort soon.
"It's a mild concussion," Julien said. "We're hoping that in a week from now he should be pretty close to being back. He's got to go through the protocol and can't play for a week."
In the meantime, with Ference also sidelined and Shane Hnidy not yet cleared to play, the Bruins will have to recall a defenseman from Providence before Saturday's game. Matt Bartkowksi is the leading candidate. If recalled, it will be the third time this year the Pittsburgh native will have been summoned to play against his hometown team. He has never played an NHL game against any team other than Pittsburgh. New addition Boris Valibik, who was acquired along with Rich Peverley in a trade for Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler and immediately assigned to Providence, could be another possibility
Hnidy did participate in practice on Friday, but has not been cleared for full contact as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.
"He had a little more contact today," Julien said. "I think he's pretty close to that [full contact], but at the same time because of the surgery he can't come back for probably another two and a half weeks."
Ference is expected to start skating Sunday or Monday, hoping to return sometime next week.
Bergeron's absence is not injury related, and he is not currently with the club to attend to a personal matter.
"Personal reasons, and he won't be with us [Saturday] either," Julien said.
Unlike the defense, the Bruins have enough bodies up front so they will not have to recall a forward. Tyler Seguin was the healthy scratch on Thursday, and will return to the lineup against Pittsburgh.
"We had Seguin sitting out [Thursday], so we're still good up front," Julien said.
Julien also stated that he was likely to open the game with the line combinations used in Friday's practice. Those drills had Peverley in Bergeron's spot between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Seguin skated on the wing on the third line with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder. The first line of David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton and fourth line of Greg Campbell flanked by Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton remained unchanged.
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