OTTAWA â€” The NHL playoffs are all about opportunity, and the Ottawa Senators will try to take advantage of one as they face a depleted Boston Bruins line-up Saturday afternoon for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Already without defencemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo it appears the Bruins, who lead the best-of-seven series 1-0, will also be missing Colin Miller and veteran forward David Krejci.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Krejci, who is dealing with an upper body injury, would likely be unavailable.
“We were hoping he’d skate and it didn’t happen so not playing for four days it’s going to be difficult so he’s still day-to-day,” Cassidy said. “We hope he’ll come around, but I guess I should say not looking good for (Saturday).”
Miller was injured in the second period of Wednesday’s game. He skated briefly Friday but Joe Morrow is expected to take his place Saturday.
“He went out and wasn’t feeling great so he left the ice which leads me to believe, that again he’s day-to-day as well, but we’re preparing to put Joe in there right now,” said Cassidy. “That could change in the morning.”
Morrow has appeared in just 17 games this season and hasn’t played since Jan. 22.
The Senators could have some lineup changes of its own. Guy Boucher hasn’t ruled out altering his forward lines, and a decision on Marc Methot will likely be made after the warm-up.
The veteran defenceman has been sidelined with a hand injury to his left pinky finger as a result of a Sidney Crosby slash March 23, but says he continues improving.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Methot said after practice Friday. “At this point, we’re just going to have to wait until (Saturday) morning and see what happens and discuss everything with the coaches and trainers.
“There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on, but at the end of the day, I just want to be an effective player when I am coming back in and not hurting anybody by coming back prematurely. When I get to that point, I’ll know â€” whether it be (Saturday) or the next game or whenever. We’ll deal with it.”
The only hesitation for Boucher is Methot’s ability to handle the puck.
“He was ready to go last game, so we’re obviously getting closer and closer,” Boucher said. “For me, it’s can he shoot? Can he, under pressure, give us a good shot when he needs to? We’re getting really, really close, that’s sure.”
While an extra day between games in the playoffs isn’t always ideal, it was beneficial for Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson who appeared to still be bothered by a lower-body injury in Game 1.
Karlsson skated briefly Friday morning and said he feels better. While he felt his performance in Game 1 was “decent,” he’s hopeful everyone, including himself, can play a little bit better Saturday afternoon.
“We knew we weren’t going to win every game, that’s how it’s always going to be,” said Karlsson. “Whether it’s the first or it’s the fourth or the fifth you’ve got to regroup. It’s the same thing when you win; you’ve got to regroup. Saturday’s going to be a completely different game. We’re going to take care of our part, we’re going to try and do the things that we didn’t do good enough and do them better and keep the good things the way that we did. You can’t let it get to you because we lost a game.”
Boucher says he will count on his veteran players with playoff experience to help with post-season pressure, as he attributed the team’s third period breakdown Wednesday to being “mentally scared to lose the game.”
“We’ve got to learn fast and I think those guys are instrumental for us in being able to manage it on the mental side. We’ll be better (Saturday) at managing that I’m sure. Our players have grown real fast this year.”
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press