Aside from Torey Krug’s ankle injury, the Boston Bruins have been fortunate to avoid the injury bug during the first month of the 2018-19 season. That all changed hours before their contest against the Canucks.
Both Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller will miss the Bruins’ tilt in Vancouver. The former isn’t “feeling right” per head coach Bruce Cassidy and is on his way back to Boston while the latter is dealing with an upper-body issue sustained during the B’s 3-2 overtime loss in Edmonton Thursday night.
Even with 2017 first rounder Elias Petterson in concussion protocol, the Bruins’ back end will have their hands full — without three regular blue-liners in their lineup — against Brock Boeser and the rest of the rebuilding Canucks.
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
John Moore-Steven Kampfer
Matt Grzelcyk-Urho Vaakanainen
Canucks projected lines
Nikolai Goldobin-Bo Horvat-Brock Boeser
Sven Baertschi-Adam Gaudette-Jake Virtanen
Antoine Roussel-Brandon Sutter-Loui Eriksson
Tim Schaller-Markus Granlund-Tyler Motte
Alex Edler-Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton-Erik Gudbranson
Derrick Pouliot-Troy Stecher
Urho Vaakanainen will make his NHL debut during Saturday’s Bruins-Canucks tilt. (Angela Spagna/Bruins Daily)
– McAvoy and Miller’s injuries gives Cassidy just two right shot defensemen at his disposal. Brandon Carlo moves up to McAvoy’s spot with Zdeno Chara on the top defensive pairing with Steven Kampfer as the other right shot blue-liner. Kampfer is on his second tour with the Bruins after coming over from the Rangers in the Adam McQuaid trade. The former Michigan Wolverine showed glimpses of potential during his first go-around in Boston, but is better served as an extra defenseman who can be valuable when called upon at this point of his career.
– Speaking of potential, Urho Vaakaninen will join the Bruins for his first career callup. The 2017 first rounder was not at the morning skate but will be in the lineup upon his arrival. The Finnish blue-liner had a very solid training camp and played his way into a roster spot for opening night, but sat the first two games of the regular season before being sent to Providence. The long trip and his ongoing adjustments to the North American game make for intriguing storylines surrounding Vaakaninen’s NHL debut.
– The goaltending carousel continues as Jaroslav Halak gets his second straight start between the pipes. The journeyman netminder is giving the Bruins a strong performance in each of his first three starts, while Tuukka Rask’s early roller coaster ride isn’t endearing himself to his growing list of detractors. Cassidy isn’t afraid to ride the hot hand as seen with Anton Khudobin last season. Another strong performance from Halak may lead to a third straight start to close out the four-game road trip in Ottawa on Tuesday night.
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