PHILADELPHIA - Matt Grzelcyk took the ice for an optional practice on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center feeling that he might have dodged a bullet after taking a slash to the leg in Saturday's win over the New York Islanders.
Early in the first period - on just his second shift of the game - Grzelcyk was whacked in the back of the left leg by Islanders forward Derick Brassard. The 26-year-old blue liner dropped to one knee in front of the Boston net, struggling to put much weight on his left leg.
Grzelcyk eventually retreated to the dressing room and did not return. But some 18 hours later, the Charlestown native was on the ice to test things out ahead of Monday's night's tilt against the Flyers.
"Kind of weird, thought it was gonna be one of those stingers, but didn't really go away for a while," said Grzelcyk. "Couldn't really move out there, so there wasn't much I was gonna be able to bring to the table…just kind of an awkward play. Wasn't really expecting it, just how the play happened. It's hockey, it is what is."
Grzelcyk, whose X-rays on the leg came back negative, noted that he would likely be a game-time decision against Philadelphia.
"Just an awkward spot in my leg, so I really didn't have much mobility, tried it out in between periods and wasn't able to put much weight on it," said Grzelcyk. "Felt it was best to give it some time and hopefully be ready for tomorrow…felt a lot better than expected this morning, so it was nice to get out there and test it."
Video: Grzelcyk talks health, Chara
With Grzelcyk sidelined, Charlie McAvoy took on some extra minutes during the B's overtime win over the Islanders, playing a game-high 28:43 in a monster showing from the top-pairing blue liner. It was one of McAvoy's best all-around efforts (assist, four blocks, five hits) of the season and while he still remains without a goal, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy is just fine with what he's seen from the third-year defenseman.
"I do believe [the goals] will come, he's around the puck too much making plays," said Cassidy. "Hasn't had much puck luck around the net, obviously. Starting to shoot more, but he's right now more valuable to us with his shutdown responsibilities…first pass, all that stuff.
"We'd like the offense, not gonna kid you. We're not losing sleep over it, hopefully he's not. Young guys sometimes let themselves worry. He seems to be fine. Hopefully he continues to play hard, heavy, top-line assignment type of games with good offense instincts.
"Think he's pushing the pace, getting through the neutral zone. He did a good job last night on the first goal, had a couple other rushes where I think he was creating and it resulted in goals, good for him."
Video: Cassidy gives update on Grzelcyk, talks Bjork's play
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is expected to suit up for his 1,000th game in Black & Gold on Monday night in Philadelphia. He will become just the sixth player in Bruins history to accomplish that feat, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Patrice Bergeron, Don Sweeney, and Wayne Cashman.
"A ton," Grzelcyk said when asked what Chara has meant to his development. "He treats his body so well on and off the ice, kind of showing the road for the D, no matter how big or small you are. He's always very vocal with us, on the bench pointing things out that we can do better and just watching him lead by example. It's been an honor to call him my teammate."
Video: Kuraly goes one on one in Philadelphia