Defensive depth hasn’t been easy for the Boston Bruins to maintain this season. Unfortunately, that was an understatement Sunday.
The team was victim to their injury report without blueliners Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller, and the Bruins fell 8-1 to the Washington Capitals at TD Garden.
“I don’t think these games are helpful to anybody be honest with you,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters during his postgame video press conference, despite younger players getting some time and experience.
“We’re obviously a team trying to play through a stretch here of a lot of hockey against some new people in the lineup. Some young goaltenders, the last thing they need is eight on them. Trust me, we thought about putting (Jeremy) Swayman in and he’s played three games already this week, he played yesterday back-to-back. You know it was a tough one for Dan (Vladar) but, you know, in a sense, I guess the message for him is he just had to battle through it, and our guys in front of them could have done a better job helping them get through it. Some of them are battling through not being in the league that long either.”
Patrice Bergeron shared a similar mindset after the game. The captain said instead of making excuses about playing shorthanded, the Bruins needed to step up to support and guide the younger guys getting more opporunity.
“There’s all sorts of experiences in that in that locker room and I think it’s on us to find a way, you know and support those young guys are coming in and help them out,” Bergeron said. “Yesterday’s adversity, you know, we’re also realistic of that and we see it. But at the same time when we step on the ice whoever’s putting on that jersey, we expect to do the job.”
Well, with the NHL trade deadline on Monday, the team shared some new defensemen will be putting on the B’s sweater.
Here are some notes from Washington’s win over Boston:
— It looks like reinforcements may have arrived. Before TD Garden even emptied out, probably, the Bruins announced they’d acquired defenseman Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Of course, it wasn’t revealed before Cassidy’s media availability.
— Speaking of Cassidy, the head coach provided a few updates on the depleted defense postgame.
Miller, who was out Sunday for maintenance on the second game of a back-to-back, should be back Tuesday. He’ll miss one game of Boston’s second back-to-back later this week, either Thursday or Friday against the New York Islanders.
“Charlie (McAvoy), he skated, so that’s a positive,” Cassidy added. “Again, with tomorrow being an off day we’ll have to see where he’s at for Tuesday. (Grzelcyk), day-to-day, Brandon is week-to-week. He’s not with us so he won’t be available for Tuesday, and I don’t want to get any farther ahead of that. Yeah, that’s that’s how those four guys are right now.”
— Tuukka Rask skated Sunday and will skate again Monday on the Bruins’ day off. He’ll be a full go in their workout on Friday, Cassidy said.
It’s up to the medical team when he’ll be ready to return to game action, but being cleared for full practice with no setbacks makes this next week look good.
“He’s obviously getting closer, but I can’t tell you if it’s going to be Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday,” Cassidy said.
“The guy’s played well for us, our number one goalie. So we’d like him back as healthy. What we don’t want is what happened last time. That he came back in, re-injured himself, you’re starting from square one. So we have to guard against that.”
— Craig Smith scored the lone goal for the Bruins in the third period Sunday to prevent the shutout. That puts him at 13 points in his last 12 games.
— Former Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played in front of actual Boston fans for the first time since signing with the Capitals. Naturally, that called for one more video ceremony.
— Tuesday is another day, and one that the Bruins probably look forward to in an attempt to flip the script on Sunday.
Up next? The Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET.