BOSTON (CBS) – The Bruins fell Thursday night in Winnipeg to the Jets in a 2-1 shootout after Evander Kane forced overtime in the final minutes of the third period.
Despite the loss the B’s still gained a point, which makes 115 on the 2013-14 season. Their point total with two games left to go puts them firmly in the driver’s seat for the Presidents’ Trophy.
With the Eastern Conference already locked up, head coach Claude Julien is rightfully resting his key players. Jarome Iginla was back in action Thursday night after missing Tuesday’s game in Minnesota nursing an injury, and against the Jets it was Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask’s turn to sit.
Another inactive player Thursday night was Chris Kelly. Kelly left the Wild game early in the third period with back spasms and hasn’t played or practiced since.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones spoke with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers following the Winnipeg game, and if the Kelly injury persists all three agree the Bruins could have a real problem on their hands.
“Claude Julien did not expect [Kelly] to be out this long,” said Beers in the postgame wrap up. “Hopefully that’s something that can go away and he’s able to get himself back.”
At the trade deadline most were in agreement that the Bruins’ biggest need was on defense, but when a third line center in Kelly goes out for a period of time the lack of depth at forward is glaring.
Bob Beers goes through some scenarios in the event of Chris Kelly being sidelined for an extended period.
“Hypothetically, if he’s not able to go for the start of the playoffs, now they’ve got a decision to make. Whether you go with Ryan Spooner and move Carl Soderberg over to the wing, or do you call somebody else up from Providence to play [third line] wing so Soderberg can stay in the middle? Do you use Jordan Caron on that fourth line wing and bump Daniel Paille up?”
Chris Kelly aside, the injuries will undoubtedly come in the playoffs whether to him or somebody else. The games are more intense and a lot more is at stake. The hometown team’s ability to advance deeper and deeper in the postseason will be largely predicated on how they bounce back and respond to these injuries.
“That would be a dilemma for the Bruins. [Injuries] are going to happen. It’s going to be inevitable that it happens at some point here in the playoffs. … How much are you weakened because of it? You can bring up some guys to plug holes, and the Bruins are a deep team so that’s to their advantage, but if you have to start bumping guys around that will weaken their team.”
Play-by-play man Dave Goucher is in agreement that the Cup-hopeful Bruins can ill-afford to sustain any key injuries.
“That will be a concern if it ever does come to it. No question about it. If they lose somebody up front, and I’m not even talking about somebody on their top six forwards, but even if somebody like Chris Kelly who’s in their top nine goes out, that will be problematic for them.”
Listen below for the full postgame recap: