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Bruins sorta healthy scratch Spooner for Game 5

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After appearing in all four of Boston’s playoff games thus far, Ryan Spooner is taking a seat for tonight’s potentially season-ending tilt in Ottawa.

Spooner is technically a healthy scratch, being replaced by Sean Kuraly. But the “healthy scratch” part wasn’t initially clear. In explaining the situation, B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy first told reporters Spooner isn’t feeling 100 percent, which led to speculation of an injury-related swap.

But then Cassidy explained Spooner is healthy enough to play. Which means the Kuraly move is a coach’s decision.

Watch Bruins vs Senators Game 5

Overall, Spooner’s numbers reflect a decent series. He has two points — one off the team lead — through four games, while averaging over 13 minutes per night. But he was a virtual non-factor in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss, going pointless with a minus-1 rating and just one shot on goal in 9:34 TOI.

Kuraly, who hasn’t played since Saturday’s 4-3 OT loss, skated on a line with Frank Vatrano and Tim Schaller this morning.

Boston is facing elimination tonight, so dropping Spooner from the lineup is a fairly significant message. The club’s second-round pick (45th overall) in 2010, Spooner has shown flashes of real offensive talent — including a career-high 49 points in ’15-16 — but has underwhelmed at times, and wasn’t a favorite of former head coach Claude Julien.

When Cassidy first took over, Spooner’s production spiked. But the 25-year-old struggled down the stretch, scoring just one point in his last eight regular-season games, and is now a healthy scratch.

No help coming for Bruins’ battered blue line

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No reinforcements are coming for the Bruins’ battered defense.

Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said this morning that he doesn’t expect injured d-men Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, or Brandon Carlo to return for Game 5.

If the Bruins lose tomorrow in Ottawa, their season is over.

In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine a team racking up more injuries on the back end in such a short time. Krug was injured in the Bruins’ second-to-last game of the regular season, and Carlo was forced to leave their final game. Then the playoffs started. Colin Miller went down in Game 1, and McQuaid was lost early in Game 2.

Though Miller returned last night, he’s had to battle all season to just stay in the lineup. Ditto for Joe Morrow, who’s been unexpectedly forced into action. The B’s even had to insert Tommy Cross into Game 3, and he hadn’t played an NHL game in over a year.

Granted, young Charlie McAvoy has shown well. But he’s also a minus-2 in four games, still with a lot to learn.

Credit to the Senators, of course. Especially Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, and head coach Guy Boucher’s suffocating system.

But throw David Krejci‘s injury into the equation and the Bruins will likely look back on this series and wonder what could’ve been if they were healthy.

It’s not over yet, though.

“We look at it like we have to win one game in a row three times,” Cassidy told reporters. “We’ll take it one game at a time. That’s how we’ve done it here.”

Bruins pairings in Game 4

Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy
Joe Morrow — Kevan Miller
John-Michael Liles — Colin Miller

More Ryan, Karlsson heroics as Senators take 3-1 series lead over Bruins

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The margin of error has been small, so virtually every big play and big call has been magnified in this Boston Bruins – Ottawa Senators series.

And it sure seems like a lot of the bounces are going the Senators’ way … but give them credit. They’re absolutely seizing the day when given the chance.

Bobby Ryan ranks as one of the biggest stories. After occasionally being in Guy Boucher’s doghouse in 2016-17, Ryan now has the game-winning goal in consecutive games. He followed up the OT-winner in Game 3 with Game 4’s only goal in a 1-0 win.

With that, the Senators now have a commanding 3-1 series lead after – narrowly – taking both games in Boston.

Of course, Ryan wasn’t the only star, and he probably wasn’t the biggest catalyst.

Erik Karlsson continues to be the motor for the Senators’ machine, so it’s no surprise that he grabbed an assist on that game-winner. The splendid Swede’s critics seem to be getting quieter and quieter with each great performance.

Craig Anderson was also on task in Game 4, stopping all 22 shots for a shutout. Granted, there are also those aforementioned bounces: this contest may have been very different if a Bruins would-be 1-0 goal wasn’t called offside.

The Senators won two games in overtime and this 1-0 game. Combine some luck with the Bruins’ injuries and you can understand if Boston fans feel slighted in seeing their team head to Ottawa down 3-1.

Then again, that’s the story of the playoffs at times. The difference between agony and ecstasy can be razor-thin, which could be really intense when you don’t have Ryan on your side.

Sens’ Pyatt won’t return after hard hit by Bruins’ Miller (Video)

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The Ottawa Senators are a healthier team than the Boston Bruins, but the Sens did lose a player in Game 4.

A hard Kevan Miller hit prompted Tom Pyatt to leave the ice and the Senators announced that the forward will not return on Wednesday. They’re labeling it an upper-body injury.

The 30-year-old hasn’t been able to generate much offense in the playoffs so far. He did have nine goals and 23 points in 82 games in 2016-17.

Here’s an alternate angle on the hit:

WATCH LIVE: Game 4 – Capitals-Leafs, Sens-Bruins, Wild-Blues, Ducks-Flames

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There are four games on the schedule tonight. The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will look to tie things up, while the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild try to stay alive.

Here’s what you need to know to watch each contest:

Washington Capitals vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: USA Network (Stream online here)

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Anaheim Ducks vs. Calgary Flames

Time: 10:00 p.m. ET

Network: USA Network (Stream online here)