Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

How Kuraly, Wagner have stuck their noses out for Bruins

Matt Kalman
December 11, 2018 - 1:29 pm

Bruins forward Chris Wagner has had his nose busted a couple times this season already, and it’s just Dec. 11.

But Wagner hasn’t suffered any breaks in his nose, so he’s quick to point at Sean Kuraly with sympathy for what his linemate is going through.

Kuraly broke a couple bones in his nose as a result of a punch from Ottawa defenseman Ben Harpur during a fight Sunday.

“I wasn’t planning on taking an upper cut, honestly,” Kuraly said. “But I guess that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I didn’t really have a good grab on him, but I guess you learn.”

Kuraly, who returned to the game against the Senators, heads into the Bruins’ game against Arizona at TD Garden on Tuesday with the nasal injury and a purple mouse under his left eye. The rugged center, however, has played through ailments in the past and if he needs more advice on surviving them he can turn to Wagner.

Since he had his nose bloodied by teammate David Backes’ errant high stick during an aggressive two-man forecheck Nov. 23, Wagner also took a high hit from Detroit’s Thomas Vanek a week later (that bloodied Wagner a bit) and had a couple other close calls, including when his visor has been knocked into his nose on some hits. He figures he’s had around 20 stitches in the past five home games, none more painful than the ones holding the cut from Backes’ stick that are in his nose’s external ridge (the dorsum of the nose) just below the bridge.

“I don’t know, it is what it is. It’s annoying but ... getting stiches here hurts [points to stitches in the external ridge of his nose] because they put the needle in, there’s no give or anything, it’s like almost your bone,” Wagner said. “But yeah, it’s just part of it.”

Wagner has continued to play hard and hasn’t shied away from fighting, which he had to do after his hit on Toronto’s Morgan Rielly on Saturday caused Ron Hainsey to challenge Wagner. (Wagner said his face went untouched).

It’s been open season on the Bruins’ team toughness, or perceived lack thereof, from the chattering class the past several weeks. But the Bruins proved over the weekend, in the form of a few fights and a lot of heavy body contact, that they can hold their own even when they’re a little bit damaged.

And Kuraly’s busted nose wasn’t wasted by the Bruins, who scored a crucial goal in Ottawa during the ensuing power play.

“I ended up helping the team, which is always a positive,” Kuraly said.

No one should question the toughness of the Bruins players meant to bring that element of the game.

Rask in net

Tuukka Rask will make his second straight start in net after beating Ottawa on Sunday. He’s 3-2-2- since returning from November leave of absence.

Injury ward

Zdeno Chara (knee) and Patrice Bergeron (ribs/collarbone) have resumed skating but aren’t close to returning to the lineup. Wednesday will be four weeks since Chara’s injury; Friday will be four weeks for Bergeron. ... Jake DeBrusk will miss his third straight game with a possible concussion. Coach Bruce Cassidy said DeBrusk was seeing a specialist. ... Urho Vaakanainen’s return from a concussion has been slowed by the flu, Cassidy said.

Related: avoided