BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins weren’t sure if Noel Acciari would be able to play in Thursday night’s monumental clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning, after the winger lost two teeth on Tuesday night.
It’s a good thing Acciari is “OK with pain.” He took a puck to the face in Tuesday’s win over the Sharks, resulting in the two lost chiclets and cuts on both his upper and lower lip. It led to some extensive dental work ahead of Thursday night, but the swelling was so bad that dentists couldn’t complete the job. That turned out to be good luck for Acciari, because it meant he was cleared to play Thursday night. But not playing never entered his mind; he wasn’t going to let a crooked smile and a lot of hurting keep him off the ice against the best team on the planet.READ MORE: 'It's Peace Of Mind': Teachers Receive COVID Vaccine Booster Shots In Boston
The Rhode Island native wasn’t just back on the ice bringing his usual brand of hard-nosed hockey, but he netted the eventual game-winner in Boston’s 4-1 victory over the Lightning. The 27-year-old gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the third period, forcing a turnover on the forecheck before putting home Chris Wagner’s rebound with 11:47 to go. It was part of a three-goals-in-1:28 flurry by the Bruins in their biggest win of the season.
“They’re a fast team and we knew we had to play fast with them and limit our turnovers,” he said after the game. “We kept that in mind and just made sure we put pucks on the net, got some good scoring chances”READ MORE: Kim Janey Endorses Michelle Wu In Boston Mayoral Race
Acciari was sporting a full-shield bubble helmet to protect what is left of his smile, the same one Sean Kuraly had to wear in late-December, early-January. Kuraly joked with Acciari that it’s a lucky helmet, with the bubbles providing the good fortune.
“He said good things would come. He was right,” Acciari said after the win.
More dental work awaits, but as Acciari joked after the game, his new look is working for him right now.
“I’m OK with pain,” he said.MORE NEWS: Gov. Baker Calls For Action Towards Ending Nurses' Strike At St. Vincent Hospital
Given that he plays the sport of hockey, and didn’t let that pain slow him down against the best team in the league, it’s hard not to take Acciari’s word on that one.