Medical report holds clues to Senators-Bruins opener
OTTAWA — One day before the start of the first-round playoff series, the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators were waiting for team doctors to help them finalize their rosters.
Already expected to be without injured defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo as well as fourth liner Noel Acciari, the Bruins practiced minus centers David Krejci and Dominic Moore on Tuesday.
“I do expect them (to play), but I guess we’ll have a better idea tomorrow morning,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told CSNNE.com. “There’s some maintenance work going on with them, so we’ll see where they’re at tomorrow.”
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In Ottawa, veteran defenseman Marc Methot practiced for the first time since having have the tip of his ring finger on his left hand severed by a Sidney Crosby slash March 23.
“He could play tomorrow,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “But it’s a little tight. Every day makes a huge difference for him. A huge difference. We might wait a few days, but we might not, but everybody else is good to go.”
Methot, the usual blue line partner for Erik Karlsson, admitted he is still experiencing pain.
“I really want to be able to contribute and I really want to play,” Methot said. “This is the best time of the year to be playing hockey. You’re not coming to the rink in a Canada Goose jacket anymore, you’re able to come in your suit and play.
“The weather is great, the fans are all in and everyone’s pumped. I’m trying to get to that point.”
The Bruins signed 19-year-old first-round draft pick Charlie McAvoy earlier this week and are contemplating playing him alongside 40-year-old captain Zdeno Chara in his NHL debut Wednesday.
“We like the young guys with Zee,” Cassidy told NHL.com. “Zee likes to be the big brother. He relishes that role, I think.”
The Senators were 4-0-0 against the Bruins this season, but each game was a close one that could have gone either way.
“It won’t be easy, we know that,” Senators winger Alex Burrows said. “We’re preparing for a seven-game series, a few overtimes. It’s going to be a grind.”
The Senators improved by 13 points from last season to grab home-ice advantage with three more points than the Bruins. The secret to their success was a neutral-zone trap employed by Boucher that saw a reduction in goals against by 33.
“They’re very defensive,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand told The Boston Globe. “They don’t give up a lot. They always have five guys back and give up very few odd-man rushes. Anything your get, you really have to work for.”
The Bruins hold a distinct edge in special teams, with a penalty-killing unit that was the best in the league and a power play that ranked seventh. Ottawa’s power play was 23red and its penalty killing ranked 22nd.
“Special teams are going to be huge in this series,” Marchand said to The Globe. “We’re really going to have to play low and work down there. That’s going to be our focus.”