The Boston Bruins will be without top scorer Brad Marchand when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon.
Marchand, who was tied for 10th in the NHL with 43 points heading into play Friday, leads the Bruins in both goals (20) and assists (23) but left Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals in the second period after appearing to injure his right shoulder on a hit along the boards by Garnet Hathaway.
Fourth-line left winger Anton Blidh also will miss the game with an upper-body injury that came on a crunching mid-ice check by Tom Wilson.
“They’ll both be out (Saturday),” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said during a Zoom call with reporters Friday. “We’ll see how they are next week. I’ll probably give you a better idea after a couple of days, but neither one will play (Saturday).”
Marchand was seen wincing while trying to raise his right arm on the bench after what Cassidy called “a cheap hit.”
“It seems we’ve always had that next man up mentality,” forward Nick Foligno said. “We’re going to need that to replace a guy like Brad for I’m sure won’t be too long with the way his mindset is.”
The injuries to Marchand and Blidh marred what was an impressive bounce-back win for the Bruins after an ugly 7-1 home loss to Carolina on Tuesday. Boston has won nine of its last 11 games.
“I thought we were ready to play,” Cassidy said. “Much more prepared than Tuesday night (when Boston fell behind 5-1 in the first period). Not surprised by this group being ready to go. I thought we had a good and efficient working practice (Wednesday). I was pleased start to finish. I thought we dug in and played hard.”
“Today was a big character win for us,” added right wing David Pastrnak, who scored twice to give him 18 goals for the season and 10 over the last nine games. “Coming off a tough game the other day it was a good opportunity for us to bounce back, and that was our main focus. Washington’s a really good team and we knew it was going to be a good challenge, so our main focus was to get back to work and obviously get back on a winning streak.”
Next up for the Bruins is Winnipeg on Saturday. The Jets will be looking for their own bounce-back win after losing at Nashville 5-2 on Thursday. It’s the third game of a four-game road trip for the Jets, who finish the back-to-back with a Sunday afternoon contest at Pittsburgh.
Winnipeg is four points behind San Jose for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference but has five games in hand. The Jets are 4-2-1 over their last seven games.
Much like Boston’s loss to Carolina, Winnipeg can blame a poor first period for its loss as the Predators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes. The Jets never got closer than two goals after that, closing to 4-2 on Mark Scheifele’s 10th goal of the season just 25 seconds into the third period before Tanner Jeannot sealed the win with an empty-netter.
“It’s tough to get yourself out of a hole like that,” said Scheifele.
“We showed resiliency in the third, made it a hockey game,” added defenseman Josh Morrissey, who had two assists. “If it wasn’t for our start there, I like the way we played for a lot of the rest of that game.”
–Field Level Media