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B's Will Be Shorthanded for New Year's Eve Tilt in Jersey

Krejci, McAvoy, Clifton ruled out; Krug returns to practice, but also won't play against Devils

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - The Bruins received some mixed news on the injury front on Monday as they prepared for a New Year's Eve tilt against the New Jersey Devils. David Krejci, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Clifton, and Torey Krug were all ruled out for Tuesday's matinee at Prudential Center, though Krug appears close to a return after skating as a full participant in practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

"I feel good," said Krug. "Obviously, anytime you get to be back on the ice with your teammates and back in a full practice, full contact, everything, you get excited and it gets you pumped up for the next possibility to come. Definitely feel good."

Krug has missed the last two games - and is on injured reserve - with an upper-body injury suffered against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 23. The blue liner was carrying the puck in the Caps' offensive zone when he was decked by Washington winger Tom Wilson with a heavy shoulder-to-shoulder hit.

Video: Torey Krug Speaks to Media After Practice on Monday

"I knew he was on the ice. I knew he was coming," said Krug. "I take a lot of pride in knowing where everyone is. I knew he was there, he just caught me a little bit quicker than I expected. It was a good, clean hit. He plays hard and he's very effective for his team, and I obviously have to be a little bit more aware.

"When we came out, jumped over the boards for the whistle, I knew he was on the ice. Always aware of the guys that can hit you and punish you in that regard. It was a good hit."

Krug is eligible to come off of injured reserve ahead of Tuesday's tilt with the Devils, but the team is being cautious with the blue liner as the Bruins hit the midpoint of the season.

"We're erring on the side of caution a little bit here as well," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He's very close, but would the extra couple days help him? We have to discuss that internally."

Video: Cassidy Speaks to Media Before The B's Fly To Jersey

Krejci suffered a lower-body injury during Sunday night's win over Buffalo and did not practice. The pivot played just 14:17, well below his season average of 17:26, and his second-lowest ice time of the season (he played 4:43 against Anaheim on Oct. 14 after exiting with injury). With Krejci out, Par Lindholm will return to the lineup and is expected to play between Jake DeBrusk and David Backes, per Cassidy.

Clifton, meanwhile, exited the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. McAvoy, who was placed on injured reserve on Monday, will miss his third straight contest with an undisclosed injury suffered on a hit from Washington forward T.J. Oshie late in the third period of the Bruins' 7-3 victory on Dec. 23.

With three regular defensemen sidelined, Boston recalled Jeremy Lauzon from Providence on an emergency basis. The 22-year-old has 10 points (goal, nine assists) and is a plus-16 in 35 games for the P-Bruins this season, his third full professional campaign.

"Really excited," said Lauzon. "I think since the beginning of the year my game has been strong. I feel really good and I've been waiting for that call since the beginning of the year, so it's nice to be back up here…I've been here, so I know what to expect. Just playing my game, playing my strengths and keep my game simple."

Video: Lauzon Joins The Bruins For First Time This Season

Lauzon suited up for 16 games with the big club last season, showing off the physicality and compete level that appealed to Boston when they selected him the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

"Hard game," said Cassidy. "I think with Jeremy it's always about, can he sustain a level of puck play at this level where he makes a good first pass a reasonable amount of the time? We're not going to ask him to go on the power play or anything like that. He's much more of a killer or a shutdown guy. We've seen him do that last year at the start of the year - I think it was Dallas or Arizona - did a great job.

"It's just, can he manage the puck night in, night out, and grow his game in that area? We know he likes to get up the ice, he has a good shot. He's willing to get involved, it's getting back on pucks and making the right decision. So that's his challenge and we'll see where he's at."

Bruins forward Karson Kuhlman, who has been out since Oct. 19 with a broken right tibia, also practiced in full and was assigned to Providence on Monday afternoon. Cassidy had stated over the weekend that it was likely that the winger would need to see some game action with the P-Bruins before returning to Boston's lineup given the lengthy layoff.

Brad Marchand did not practice on Monday, but Cassidy said the winger stayed off the ice for maintenance.

Video: Carlo Speaks To Media Following Monday's Practice

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