2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chris Wagner’s Stanley Cup run might be over, but his efforts in Game 3 loom large on minds of Bruins teammates

(Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. —  It wasn’t a matter of if the Bruins were going to get a body in front of Justin Faulk’s slap shot in the closing minutes of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Rather, it was which B’s skater was going to put their body between biscuit and net first.

As the ‘Canes defenseman wound back to uncork a blast — looking for the equalizer in a 2-1 contest — Chris Wagner had the unlucky circumstance of being right in Faulk’s shooting lane, the lone piece of resistance from a clear look at Tuukka Rask.

Wagner, to the surprise of no one on Boston’s bench, did not move.

“That’s the name of the game right now,” Sean Kuraly said. “We’re going to push, they’re going to push. There’s no bad teams left anymore. Everyone is really good. Sometimes there’s going to be breakdowns. When it’s a shot, then you’ve got to get between it and the net.”

With a split-second to react, Wagner dropped to the ice to absorb the shot. He did not get back up in one piece.

Faulk’s blast struck the Bruins winger right on the arm, dropping him to the sheet in obvious pain. Gripping his arm and eventually skating over the B’s bench, Wagner spent a few agonizing minutes on the pine with team head athletic trainer Don DelNegro before a stoppage in play eventually allowed him to exit the game and head to the room for treatment.

Wagner’s willingness to put his body on the line helped Boston close out Game 3 against Carolina — putting the B’s just one win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

But it likely cost the Walpole native a chance to play on hockey’s biggest stage.