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McAvoy Sidelined; Carlo Slides Up to Top Pair

Rask also misses practice with lower-body injury

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy did not have much of an update on Charlie McAvoy following the team's practice on Monday morning at TD Garden.

The rookie blue liner missed the session because of a lower-body injury he suffered on his first shift against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. McAvoy left just 37 seconds into the game and did not return after falling awkwardly over Brendan Gallagher's stick.

"Nothing new to report," said Cassidy. "He's getting evaluated this afternoon and will not play tomorrow. We'll go from there."

For now, Brandon Carlo will be reunited with Zdeno Chara on Boston's top pairing. The other pairings for Monday's practice were Torey Krug with Kevan Miller and a rotation of Nick Holden, Adam McQuaid, and Matt Grzelcyk.

"We can go different directions," said Cassidy. "Carlo's an easy one to slot back in with Zee, they've played together. Krug was with Miller; Grizz has been with Miller if he goes back in. We're going to keep Holden in, he can play left or right. That's something we're gonna sort through.

"We had all seven out there working and we'll make a decision in the morning…it's not set in stone what the six are gonna be."

Carlo and Chara teamed up to form one of the league's best shutdown duos last season and played together during McAvoy's four-game absence following a heat ablation procedure earlier this year. Carlo knows that moving up to play with The Captain brings with it added responsibility.

"You're matched up against certain lines when you're with the big man, so it's an extra challenge and I look forward to challenging myself in this league," said Carlo. "Ultimately, I feel like it will help me to continue to get better overall."

"I feel comfortable with whoever I play [with]," added Chara. "We have good enough players to fill the spots. Obviously Charlie can only play like Charlie and Brandon can play only like Brandon, and so on. But whatever it is, I'm comfortable [enough] to play with him."

Video: Rask misses practice, Carlo moves to top pair

Rask Banged Up

Tuukka Rask also missed Monday's practice with what is being termed as a nagging lower-body injury. Cassidy initially believed that the Bruins' ace netminder would be ready to go on Tuesday against Detroit, though it appears now that Anton Khudobin will get the start.

"Nursing a minor injury...we'll keep an eye on that one," said Cassidy. "Not having skated now for three days, doesn't look like he'll be able to go tomorrow...probably wants to get in a little work before he goes back in the net."

Cassidy said the team will know more on Tuesday morning and will decide then if Rask is healthy enough to back up.

"We have a very capable back-up, so that one we'll judge a little bit more tomorrow morning and see how [Rask's] feeling," said Cassidy. "If he cannot backup then we would have to reach out from Providence and go from there."

Opposing View

The Bruins host the Red Wings on Tuesday night in the teams' final meeting of the season. Boston has won all three previous matchups this season - two of which have been decided by one goal, including an overtime winner (courtesy of Brad Marchand) in mid-December.

"They have been very good against us," said Cassidy. "I think we've found a way to make that one play. I think the game here at Christmas, I thought we were not very good early - I know we weren't very good early. We found our game going into the break.

"Then up there, the overtime game we had a slow start, we made a play late to tie it with the goalie out. One play in most of these games has been the difference. And I imagine tomorrow will be more of the same, they're healthy, they're competing hard."

Detroit has lost three straight and sits 9 points out of a playoff spot.

Wait, There's More

Cassidy confirmed that both Grzelcyk and Tommy Wingels are healthy enough to play, though they have been given some time to rest small bumps and bruises. Boston's bench boss reaffirmed the importance of the team's depth over the season's final five weeks.

"What we've got is 13 forwards for 12 spots," Cassidy said of his forward group. "There's always going to be seven or eight in every night, but some of the other ones we can rotate and let them nurse it a little bit, get a guy in or out. We plan on doing that.

"We don't want guys sitting for extended periods right now - it might happen, but for the most part we're going to try to use everybody. That's why we have our depth and take advantage of it, especially with the intensity of our schedule."

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