Already without three top-six options up front and their bottom D pairing due to injuries, the Bruins’ task of clawing out of a recent two-game losing skid became even more arduous on Wednesday as Bruce Cassidy announced Torey Krug will miss Thursday’s matchup against the Winnipeg Jets due to an upper-body injury.
“Torey is day to day. … He got hit last night,” Cassidy said. “Not feeling great today. So we'll see how he is when we get back to Boston. He's not playing tomorrow, don't see that happening."
Krug had a night to forget on Tuesday in Boston’s 7-4 road loss against the Blue Jackets, as he was tagged as a minus-5 on the night in what stood as the Bruins' first set of back-to-back losses in regulation since back in late December.
Still, the loss of a puck-moving defenseman — a key weapon on the man advantage (29 power-play points this season) — is still a big hit for a Bruins’ blue line already forced to soldier on without Matt Grzelcyk (arm) and Kevan Miller (upper-body).
With Krug out, Charlie McAvoy will run the point on Boston’s first power-play unit on Thursday against the Jets, while Steven Kampfer and even Zdeno Chara could get looks on the second unit.
While McAvoy has continued to impress this season as a two-way defenseman who excels in the transition game, he’s only recorded one point on the man advantage this season — which came off a secondary assist during the club’s comeback win over the Panthers on March 7.
Even with a depleted D corps, Cassidy and his staff focused most of Wednesday's practice ironing out a number of disturbing trends in the team’s defensive structure as of late — especially when it comes to allowing unchecked skaters to pounce on loose pucks in the slot.
"Coverage from below the goal line,” Cassidy said of what was emphasized in practice. “We got beat to the net front a few times. So the D, knowing their responsibility and not chasing behind the net when you have no chance. Jamming the post, so pucks don't get by you. Wingers collapsing first to help in the slot and then worry about the points.
“We kind of went over it this morning, slot protection, net-front first and working from there. But that's predominantly what we did. Listen, we're down in numbers, you're on the road, we didn't want to get into too many different things, but that's one area last night, if we're better on, we might have come off with points."
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