Chris Wagner played his first game with the Boston Bruins since last year’s Game 6 loss to the New York Islanders in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And he made the most of the opportunity in front of him.
“I thought he played very well,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, per team-provided video. “He played to his strengths. He finished every check, was around the front of the net and he had a few looks around the front of the net.”
Salary-cap issues were the primary reason for Wagner never playing a game with the Black and Gold this year, despite injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak, but the forward could provide some depth for the Bruins as they prepare for their first-round Stanley Cup playoffs matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“We kept Marc (McLaughlin) around for a while here as a young guy and gave him some looks, and he responded early on. So a little of that was evaluating where he was in his pro career. It’s a big ask to go into the playoffs, but he was here to get experience,” Cassidy said. “Wags has played in those situations before, so we have that in the back of our mind. We’ll make those calls in the next couple of days, but I certainly think he was one of our better players tonight in terms of playing a complete 200-foot game.”
The Bruins will begin their quest for the Stanley Cup on Monday night on the road. While it’s unclear if Wagner will be part of the team, Cassidy does expect his starters to be fully healthy.