Patrice Bergeron banged up, shorthanded Bruins get set for Toronto showdown

Matt Kalman
October 18, 2019 - 1:05 pm

The Bruins are going to open their home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday shorthanded.

Center David Krejci, who missed the 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday with an upper-body injury, and forward Joakim Nordstrom, who sustained an upper-body injury against the Lightning, did not practice Friday and did not travel with the Bruins to Toronto.

Center Patrice Bergeron did not practice because of a lower-body injury he sustained blocking a shot against Tampa Bay. But he was scheduled to go with the Bruins to Toronto.

Coach Bruce Cassidy said all the injured players are day-to-day for now, although he later added that Krejci’s injury turned out to be “worse than we thought.”

Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Torey Krug did not practice, but those absences were classified as maintenance days by Cassidy.

David Backes will probably return to the lineup to replace Nordstrom, but there is a chance the Bruins will make a call-up from Providence (AHL) in case Bergeron can’t play against the Maple Leafs. Cassidy mentioned wings Anders Bjork and Peter Cehlarik, and center Brendan Gaunce as possibilities. The P-Bruins are on a road trip and play in Laval on Friday.

Praise for Bjork

Although the Bruins hadn’t made a call-up prior to him speaking Friday, Cassidy was of course asked about Bjork. When a top prospect has six points (three goals, three assists) in his first five games of the AHL season, there’s going to be a clamoring to bring him up.

The Bruins wanted Bjork to get some seasoning, and Cassidy wasn’t sure if bringing him to Toronto would be pushing up his schedule too quickly.

“Well we wanted him to go down there and find his offensive game, and he has. Is it enough of a sample size to say he’s ready to play in the NHL? Until we bring him up, that’s a hard question to answer,” Cassidy said. “We wanted it to be a prolonged amount of time, whether that was one month, 10 days, two months. Like I said five games is probably a short sample supply, but he’s certainly passing the test down there if we decided to go that route.”

The Bruins want to keep Bjork on the left wing. With Nordstrom out, there’s kind of an opening there. Cassidy also mentioned Danton Heinen moving to the right if necessary. Heinen played right wing in the third period against Tampa Bay.