The Boston Bruins might be without Matt Grzelcyk Monday night, and if so, Jack Ahcan will replace the defenseman. Urho Vaakanainen is also making progress with his injury, while Linus Ullmark will start for Boston vs. the Kings as the Bruins return home from a successful six-game, 12-day road trip where they went 5-1.
Ahcan has played three games for the Bruins this season and will play his fourth if Grzelcyk is not available.
“(Grzelcyk) has an upper-body (injury) so he’ll be a game-time decision,” said Boston’s head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We weren’t sure on the day off yesterday how he’d be today. So, if he can’t go then it’ll be Jack (Ahcan).”
Vaakanainen, who hasn’t played since February 19 vs. the Senators, was back out on the ice today for the pregame skate in a non-contact jersey. Cassidy says the defenseman could return either Thursday vs. the Blackhawks or Saturday vs. the Coyotes.
“He was back out today — he was non-contact, so that’s good,” Cassidy said. “Get him through today’s practice and then assuming there’s no setbacks we’ll start talking about whether it’s Thursday or Saturday.”
Linus Ullmark will start Monday against the Kings after Jeremy Swayman started Saturday against the Blue Jackets. Cassidy talked about the Swayman-Ullmark battle.
“Swayman’s had a good run here,” Bruce Cassidy said. “We’re getting to the point of the season where production matters maybe a little more than early on when you’re still sorting through who’s the better at any position. They both were gonna get marked for X amount of starts unless one completely failed and (the other) ran away from it.
“Now you’re starting to see Sway separate himself a little bit so now it’s up to Linus to accept that challenge,” Cassidy added.
The Bruins dismantled the Kings in the midst of the trip, beating them 7-0. Erik Haula, who has caught fire as of late, met with the media this morning as well. Haula says it’s important to come out hot, also calling the Bruins “a mature group.”
“It’s very important to come out of the gates hot,” said Haula. “We talked about it that, when you’re on the road for a long time, there’s different things that change when you come home, obviously, with families and all that.
“We’re a mature group, I think we’ll bounce back well and get off to a good start here. But just focused on that first period. I think that’s key. That will get us going and then the crowd will jump on our backs and help us.”
Bruins honoring first responder
A moment of silence will take place before tonight’s action to honor Massachusetts State Police Trooper Tamar Bucci, who passed away last week while in line of duty.
- Haula has a six-game point streak that spanned through the entire road trip, recording three goals and five assists during the road trip: “Things have fallen into place and things are going good as a team, so those things help,” said Haula. “Having production is awesome as well. Just overall, I’m happy with the little things in my game that’s helped me produce.”
- David Pastrnak, Haula’s linemate, also currently has an eight-game point streak including seven goals in five assists. The streak comes after a noticeable drought from the Bruins forward.
- Swayman is 7-0-1 in his last eight games, though Ullmark will get the start tonight for Boston
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