Bruised Bruins: With Krug hurt, Boston recalls AHL defensemen (Updated)

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Boston’s thinned-out blueline suffered another hit on Tuesday night, prompting a quick response Wednesday morning.

After Torey Krug was hurt late in yesterday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota, the B’s recalled a pair of defensemen from AHL Providence today: Joe Morrow and David Warsofsky, per the Providence Journal.

UPDATE: The Bruins have made the moves official, along with news that Krug will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a broken finger.

More, from CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:

Krug finished the Wild game with a whopping 24:07 TOI, but wasn’t out in the final moments when the B’s pulled Tuukka Rask for an extra skater while looking for the equalizing goal. The 24-year-old leads all Boston d-men in scoring this season, with six points in 11 games.

The Bruins are already without the services of Zdeno Chara — sidelined 4-6 weeks with a torn PCL in his knee — and Kevan Miller (dislocated shoulder); they also traded away Johnny Boychuk just prior to the start of the regular season due to a salary cap crunch.

The result is that Boston could now head into Thursday’s game in Buffalo with a top-six defense of Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Matt Bartkowski and either one of Warsofsky or Morrow.

Wild’s big third leads them past Bruins

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The Boston Bruins led for most of tonight’s game against Minnesota, but the Wild stormed back in the third period to earn a 4-3 victory.

With Minnesota down 3-1 heading into the final frame, Zach Parise shifted the game’s momentum by taking advantage of a centering pass from Mikael Granlund.

That started a run of three unanswered goals from the Wild that culminated in Marco Scandella blasting the game-winner past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Rask faced more than his fair share of work in this one as he was peppered with 18 shots on goal in the third period alone.

Those last 20 minutes spoiled some impressive individual efforts from the Bruins. Milan Lucic had a goal and an assist for Boston while 21-year-old forward Seth Griffith had two goals and an assist, including this gem in the second period:

Dougie Hamilton also logged an incredible 28:32 minutes as the Bruins try to get by without Zdeno Chara.

Boston is now 5-6-0 this season while the Wild have improved to 5-3-0.

Video: Bruins adjusting to life without injured Chara

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Throughout his tenure in Boston, defenseman Zdeno Chara has been one of the team’s most reliable players, both because of his consistency on the ice and his health. Now the Bruins are in unfamiliar territory as he’s sidelined with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The good news is that Boston does have some effective young defensemen it can fall back on in Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug. The presence of Dennis Seidenberg, who was limited to 34 contests last season, also makes competing without Chara much less painful. Plus, the Bruins have one of the league’s top goaltender Tuukka Rask, although he’s off to a less than ideal start with a 2.63 GAA and .897 save percentage in seven games.

All the same, any team that loses a player of Chara’s caliber will have to make adjustments.

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones looked into the Bruins’ situation and you can see their take below:

WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Boston Bruins

Boston won its first game without defenseman Zdeno Chara (PCL) on Saturday, but the Bruins have a long road ahead of them before he’ll be back. They will continue that journey tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. ET and you can watch it on NBCSN or via NBC Sports’ Live Extra stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

While you wait for the game to start, here is some relevant reading material:

Wild make flurry of moves, Haula out tonight

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Wild try to find their footing

Trotman and Morrow era set to begin in Boston

Bruins cruise against Bernier, Leafs

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Wild try to find their footing

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Minnesota Wild at the TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s unlikely that many pundits picked the Boston Bruins to face the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final – at least not against each other – yet both teams came into 2014-15 with high hopes. They’re currently hitting some bumps in the road early on, though.

For the Bruins, it’s a time of opportunities and challenges.

With Zdeno Chara on the mend for at least a month, rising defensemen Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton gain the chance to prove that the B’s future isn’t so grim without “The Big Z.” Krug, for one, told CSNNE.com that he’s eager to show that he can handle increased minutes and responsibilities.

“When your name is called you do whatever you can to help the team win. The goal is always to build trust between me and the coaching staff,” Krug said. “I think they’re definitely starting to show a little more trust in me, and it’s a challenge that I really enjoy.

“We understand that we’ve got guys in here that can play those big minutes and fill the void. A game like [the win vs. the Leafs] shows that we can do it, but it’s about everybody stepping up rather than just one or two guys.”

It’s probably accurate to say that Hamilton stepped up the most in Boston’s first post-Chara game (a 4-1 win against Toronto), scoring a goal and two assists.

Deep down, scoring has been the biggest issue for the Bruins so far in their 5-5-0 start. While Chara’s absence leaves a crater behind on defense, Claude Julien is still searching for answers, including finding the right fit for the David Krejci – Milan Lucic line.

The Wild try to pick themselves up after a tough loss

Before Monday’s third period meltdown against the New York Rangers, Darcy Kuemper only allowed more than one goal in a single period in 2014-15. The Wild’s late-game struggles spotlight the perils of assuming too much from the first few weeks of any season, as despite a massive +12 goal differential, Minnesota’s record is just 4-3-0.

Despite boasting an enviable array of offensive threats including Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu, the Wild haven’t been able to notch a single power-play goal so far this season. They’re a pitiful 0-for-24 so far, which is a number that would be even more troubling if the team hasn’t been so dominant in other areas. In these past seven games, the Wild have only allowed one power-play goal, one shorthanded tally and nine even-strength goals.

The two teams don’t have the deepest histories, yet Niklas Backstrom has been a Bruins buster.

As NHL.com notes, Backstrom is 4-0-1 with great individual stats (.969 save percentage, .98 GAA) in five career games against Boston. Considering Kuemper’s tough night and the back-to-back games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Finn possibly face off against fellow countryman Tuukka Rask tonight. The question is: could Backstrom start to push Kuemper for reps with a strong performance?

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Considering the two teams’ recent histories, Wild – Bruins hints at a grinding, low-scoring battle … on paper. These two teams are just starting to carve out their identities in 2014-15, though.