David Krejci questionable as Bruins matchups with Lightning, Leafs loom

Matt Kalman
October 16, 2019 - 3:36 pm

The Bruins' schedule is finally getting tougher, but they’re getting less healthy.

It’s not a perfect scenario.

The 5-1-0 Bruins will host the defending Atlantic Division champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, then they'll play consecutive games against the archrival Toronto Maple Leafs, Saturday at Toronto and Tuesday at TD Garden.

But they might have to start this stretch of games without center David Krejci, who sustained an upper-body injury in the 4-2 win against Anaheim on Monday and didn’t play after the second period. The Bruins were off Tuesday, and then Krejci only participated in part of practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday.

“He’s nursing an upper-body injury. So he skated half the practice, tomorrow he’ll see how he is. I put him as day-to-day, I’m not going to rule him out, I’m not going to say he’s definitely in,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.

After Krejci left, Charlie Coyle centered Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, while Par Lindholm, a healthy scratch the past four games, centered Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman. Those could be the second and third lines against the Lightning.

The Bruins have yet to face a divisional opponent, and just one (New Jersey) of their six foes has come from the Eastern Conference. The Lightning will visit Boston with a 3-2-1 record after beating Montreal 3-1 on the road Tuesday.

Tampa Bay, of course, tied the NHL record for wins in the regular season (62) but the Bruins didn’t get to see them in the Stanley Cup playoffs because Columbus took the Lightning out in four straight games in the first round. Nonetheless, the Lightning are still the most talented team in the league and one that should provide the Bruins their stiffest test yet.

“We’re playing pretty well right now and I think both teams would like to have better starts then they have, so I think we both just want to line up and go punch for punch and see how we stand at the end of the night. So it’s an exciting matchup,” defenseman Torey Krug said.

Coyle said: “Yeah, I mean it is early on and teams are still kind of finding their groove, and I don’t think teams really hit their groove until a little while more in here. But yeah we want to see how we measure up against these guys, and how they play and how we play. I think it’s going to be a great test.”

*Although Krejci could play, defenseman Kevan Miller remains a ways away from returning from two knee surgeries he had in the spring. But Miller was on the ice before the Bruins practiced and he’s progressing.

“He’s on a schedule, I don’t know if it’s two on, one off, what they got him on. Until he’s with the team, it’s hard to project,” Cassidy said. “Let’s get him with the team, let’s get him in a normal sweater, get some contact and we’ll probably have a better timeline when he can return.”