BOSTON - The Bruins will be facing their first bit of adversity on Saturday night in Toronto as they get set to take on the Maple Leafs down some pieces up front.
David Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom, both battling upper-body injuries, did not travel with the team, while Patrice Bergeron's status appears in question after the center blocked a shot in Thursday's shootout loss to Tampa.
None of them practiced on Friday morning, though Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy appeared less concerned about Bergeron, who was expected to fly with his teammates to Toronto.
"I don't believe there is," Cassidy said when asked if there was a chance that Bergeron would not play against the Leafs. "But he didn't go out [for practice], so I'd better make sure."
Krejci, whose injury turned out to be worse than initially thought according to Cassidy, missed the Tampa game after playing just 4:43 against Anaheim on Monday. Nordstrom, meanwhile, was felled late in Thursday night's loss. Both are considered day-to-day.
With both players ruled out for Saturday night - and Bergeron a question mark - the Bruins may have to summon reinforcements from Providence. It is likely that David Backes, a healthy scratch for the last three games, will slot back in, but a call up from the P-Bruins may also be needed.
"We have Backes as an extra that sat out," said Cassidy. "With Nordy being out, he could slide in there [on the fourth line]. We may decide to get someone from Providence to get a different look there. [Anders] Bjork's been playing well down there, [Brendan] Gaunce has been playing well down there, [Peter] Cehlarik.
"Those are the names I heard, amongst others. They could be potential guys. I'll talk to [general manager Don Sweeney] about that now."
Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak all took maintenance days on Friday after playing heavy minutes against the Lightning. Jaroslav Halak will start between the pipes on Saturday night.
Video: Cassidy talks with media after Friday's practice
Getting His Chance?
The most intriguing name among the potential Providence call-ups that Cassidy mentioned is Bjork, who was among the last cuts during training camp. The 23-year-old winger was assigned to the P-Bruins just before the start of the regular season with the idea that he build up some confidence - particularly in his scoring touch - after missing large chunks of the last two seasons because of shoulder surgeries.
Bjork appears to be doing just that through the P-Bruins first five games, notching three goals and six points to pace Providence. His six points also rank second in the AHL.
"We wanted him to go down and find his offensive game and he has," said Cassidy. "Is it enough of a sample size to say he's ready to play in the NHL? Until we bring him up that's a hard question to answer. We wanted it to be a prolonged amount of time, whether that was one month, 10 days, two months.
"Five games is probably a little bit of a short sample supply, but he certainly has passed the test down there if we decide to go that way."
In addition to injuries, the Bruins' lack of secondary scoring could also prompt them to summon Bjork from Providence. Boston, however, must determine where he fits into the lineup, given the team's depth on the left side, which is where Bjork has spent the majority of his time thus far.
"That's the other thing. We'd like him to go in on the left side where he's been playing, where he played in camp," said Cassidy. "Ideally, to bring him up and then put him in a position to not succeed is not something we would want to do in a perfect world.
"But Danton [Heinen] could move over. Nordy's not traveling, so there's an opportunity, we'd just have to drop some guys down."
It has not been the smoothest of starts to the season for Jake DeBrusk. With just one assist through seven games - and a goal and an assist wiped off the board in Colorado - the winger has been doing his best not to get frustrated. A failed shootout attempt that ended Thursday's loss to the Lightning in the fourth round certainly did not help.
"It's a tough balance. Obviously as things keep going along, it's tougher and tougher to stay patient, so you do try different things, whether it's superstitions and things like that," said DeBrusk. "You try to stay patient and positive as much as possible, but it kind of gets to a certain point where you just understand that you know you can do it. It's just a matter of getting that first one and then usually things start going really well."
Despite his offensive struggles, DeBrusk has tried to put in the work away from the puck to ensure that he is still contributing in other ways. He did just that during a strong overtime shift on Thursday night, when he surged back into the Bruins' end to break up a Lightning odd-man rush.
"That's more my style. That was my last shift of that game," said DeBrusk. "That shift, I got my legs skating. For the first time this year, I pretty much went full speed. To feel those muscles and feel like that was good.
"You see a 2-on-1 going the other way with [Steven Stamkos] and I think it was [Ondrej] Palat, it's pretty dangerous. Knew I had to give it my all and that's what I'm expecting now, maybe attacking with that speed."
Video: DeBrusk talks about patience, balance