BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins played most of Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers without the services of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who left the game in the first period with a lower body injury, and are now looking at a very thin blue line for remainder of the week.
Head coach Claude Julien did not have an update after the game but said Seidenberg will be re-evaluated back in Boston on Wednesday.
We all know how important Seidenberg is to the Bruins. He’s one of the key cogs on Boston’s defensive unit and his presence is a big part of why the team leads the league in goals allowed per game 20 games into the season. Losing him for any amount of time would be a big blow, but that loss would be magnified even more by the now-thin depth on the Boston blue line.
With Adam McQuaid still recovering from a right leg injury, the Bruins were forced to play with just five defenseman on Tuesday after Seidenberg went down — the third time that has happened this season. Zdeno Chara played over 31 minutes in New York, something Boston was looking to avoid this season in hopes of conserving the captain’s minutes. Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk both played roughly 24 minutes, while Matt Bartkoswki (who left briefly with a leg injury) played just over 21 minutes, and Torey Krug hit the ice for 15:44.
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Julien praised the work of his healthy defensemen after the win, noting how difficult it was for them to play those extended and taxing minutes on the second leg of a back-to-back.
“It says a lot,” Julien said. “This is not just a game, it’s a back-to-back game with travel, so I thought they did a good job. Zdeno, at the end, was strong and poised and getting pucks out of our own end. There wasn’t much panic and overall, all of those guys, as you know three young players of that group are basically first-year players. We handled it well.”
They indeed handled it well, helping Tuukka Rask keep all but one of the Rangers’ 44 shots out of the net. But keeping that up won’t be easy if reinforcements don’t arrive.
Julien didn’t sound too confident that McQuaid would be back Thursday when the Bruins host the St. Louis Blues at the TD Garden (though he wouldn’t rule out a weekend return), as the defenseman continues to skate on his own in hopes of returning from the leg injury that has kept him out of the last five games. Add Seidenberg to the list of wounded, and the B’s could have to make an emergency call to Providence for David Warsofsky.
Heading into the season, the Bruins had an embarrassment of riches when it came to young defensemen in Hamilton, Krug and Bartkowski. Each player has been impressive so far when they’ve had their chances on the ice (with mistakes along the way, of course), but now could truly be tested with some more responsibility in the coming days in wake of Boston’s recent rash of injuries on the blue line.
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