One-third of the Boston Bruins’ rearguard is sitting in the infirmary at the moment thanks to two separate incidents (Grzelcyk’s in Game 2, Chara’s in Game 4). In both of Boston’s losses in this best-of-seven-turned-best-of-three after the St. Louis Blues evened proceedings with a 4-2 win on Monday, the Bruins have been forced to play with five defensemen for a good chunk of the game.
Grzelcyk’s injury happened in the first period after he was walloped from behind by Oskar Sundqvist. Chara’s, meanwhile, took place in the second after a puck drilled him in the face, rendering his night over.
It doesn’t make the road easy.
“Definitely,” said fellow d-man Brendan Carlo. “Two games with five D haven’t been easy. But it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We have to pick up the slack a little bit there, do our part to fill the void.”
The Bruins filled that void to the tune of a 7-2 win in Game 3. Even in Game 4 and down Chara, Carlo felt the Bruins didn’t let up.
“I think we were pushing through it pretty well,” he said. “It’s nothing I don’t think we could have handled. I think that game could have gone either way, honestly.”
Injuries are part of the postseason. It’s the adversity that makes hoisting the Stanley Cup at the end of it all that much more rewarding.
“It is what it is,” Tuukka Rask said. “We’ve just got to battle. I think guys battled hard did what they could.”
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t have an update on his big defensemen on Tuesday morning, only telling reporters that if Chara couldn’t go, they may have to roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Given the magnitude of Game 5, it’s likely going to take a lot for Chara to miss it. But Boston is confident that whoever comes in — likely Steven Kampfer — can plug the leak.
“It’ll be next man up again,” forward David Backes said. “Whoever our next guy up is will have to fill that role admirably—and they’re big feet to fill.”
Game 5 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday (stream here).