Despite the specter of last year's collapse, the Bruins haven't created too much reason for concern so far in their second-round series with the Flyers as they've built a 3-0 lead while outscoring Philadelphia 15-6.
But the one area that has caused a bit of consternation has been the depth on defense, which is currently being tested with injuries to Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer. McQuaid suffered a sprained neck after crashing into the boards on a missed check in Game 2 and did not play in game 3 on Wednesday.
McQuaid also did not practice on Thursday, but he remains day to day and is showing signs of improvement.
"Yeah, he is definitely getting better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "And I know we are still saying day to day but there is improvement in him and we are getting very optimistic things are going to happen quicker than later. Right now we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well and hopefully we will have better news here in the next few days."
There is already some better news on Kampfer. The rookie blueliner suffered a knee injury while with the club's AHL affiliate in Providence nearly a month ago. He only resumed skating this week and joined his teammates in practice for the first time on Thursday, though he's still a ways from being ready for game action.
"I think he just, right now he just started skating [Wednesday] for the first time," Julien said. "He felt good enough to skate with us [Thursday]. We had no contact in our drills so it was a good skate for him. So we're moving forward as we're being told by our medical staff and he's looking better every day so we just have to stay with it. But he's not ready."
That leaves veteran Shane Hnidy to continue to fill in. He played just four shifts lasting 2:38 with one hit in Game 3. He also played seven shifts for 4:13 with a fighting major against James Wisniewski in Game 2 against Montreal when he filled in for Zdeno Chara in the opening round. That came after playing just three games in the regular season as he suffered a shoulder injury in a training camp tryout with Phoenix and did not sign with the Bruins until late February.
Hnidy has familiarity with the Bruins system from his previous stint in Boston in 2008-09, but is still shaking the rust off his game from his extended layoff. If McQuaid remains out long, the Bruins will need to be able to use Hnidy more to prevent taxing the rest of the defense too much. Julien believes Hnidy is capable of contributing more.
"Sure he is," Julien said. "I mean this is just a situation, we never got in that position [Wednesday] night, where we had a lot of penalties to kill and certain guys getting overtaxed. But he was ready to go and he still is ready to go. And we definitely have confidence in him. We understand also the fact that he hasn't played much this year. But right now the guys we had in our lineup were capable of sharing our ice time [Wednesday] night. And having him as a sixth defenseman is certainly something that we are very comfortable with."
Even with his limited ice time, Hnidy made a positive impact on the game on Wednesday.
"He was great on the bench," fellow defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "He gave us words of wisdom when we came back. If we had a tough shift, he always kept us up and it was good to have him there. When he played, he played smart, he played defensive and he did the job for us."
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