ST. LOUIS - The last thing John Moore wanted was to see one of his fellow blue liners go down with an injury in the Stanley Cup Final. But with Matt Grzelcyk doubtful to suit up for Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues after taking a heavy hit from behind in Game 2, the veteran defenseman may be getting his chance to re-enter the lineup.
"I really [wish] that Grizz was still here and I wasn't even talking to you guys," Moore said following practice at Enterprise Center on Friday afternoon. "It's terrible to see a teammate go down like that…this is why you train, why you prepare, why you take care of yourself.
"When you're called upon, it's time to do your job. That's kind of the mentality we've had all year - next man up. Now it's my turn, I'm ready to go"
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy did not have a further update on Grzelcyk's condition on Friday, saying only that the 25-year-old is doubtful to play on Saturday night as he remains in protocol following the blow he took from Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the first period of Boston's Game 2 loss. Sundqvist was suspended for one game by the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety on Thursday night.
"We can certainly draw inspiration for Matt," said Moore. "He's such a tough guy, he's been getting the job done all year, so for sure it lights a fire under us."
Video: John Moore talks about potential lineup return
Cassidy did not officially confirm that Moore will in fact be in the lineup for Game 3, but all indications are that 28-year-old will get the nod over Steven Kampfer because of his left shot.
"Will probably be Johnny Moore," said Cassidy. "He's a left stick, keeps everything simple in terms of pairs and staying on strong sides. But we'll make that decision for sure in the morning, but that's the way we're leaning."
During Friday's practice, Moore also skated in Grzelcyk's spot alongside Connor Clifton on the Bruins' third pairing.
"He's had a great postseason," Moore said of Clifton. "He's certainly gotten better each and every game. It's been fun to watch him on such a big stage really rise to the occasion. I'm excited if I am in to be with him. He's a great player and I think our game will complement each other well."
Clifton, who notched a goal in Game 1 of the Final, concurred.
"It won't be our first game together," said the rookie. "It will be fine, he'll jump right in…[Moore and Grzelcyk are] both elite skaters. I think Grizz is a little bit more offensive, not that Johnny isn't because he's gonna make his plays in the O-zone - I think it will be an easy transition for us. We're gonna be loud, we're gonna played fast. I think it's just as easy as that."
Video: Cassidy gives update on Grzelcyk, Bergeron
Should Moore suit up, he'll be bringing some Cup Final experience with him, as the Illinois native played four games for the New York Rangers during the 2014 Final against the Los Angeles Kings.
"It's here and now, I'm not really focused on what's happened in the past," said Moore. "But it's definitely one of those things that you can take a deep breath, make sure you're focused. There's a lot of distractions at this stage of the playoffs. If anything, I feel like I'm more mature to handle that and be focused on my job."
It also won't be Moore's first go-around this postseason. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has played in five games, the last coming in Boston's Eastern Conference-clinching victory against Carolina with Zdeno Chara sidelined by injury. As such, Cassidy is confident in Moore's ability rise to the occasion.
"Whoever goes in tomorrow is gonna have some level of nerves, but Johnny Moore and Steve Kampfer have both played in the playoffs," said Cassidy. "Steve Kampfer went in with [Charlie] McAvoy's suspension and scored a big goal for us five minutes into the game. J
"Johnny Moore's been in, he's played playoff hockey. Either one of them will be fine, just got to get our legs under us and get a feel for St. Louis."
Video: Rask chats about Grzelcyk, Game 3
With Grzelcyk not traveling, rookie blue liner Urho Vaakanainen got the call to skate with the group during Friday's practice. The 20-year-old, who played two games with Boston this season before suffering a concussion in Ottawa, has been practicing with the Black Aces.
"We wanted eight in our group and it's good for Vaak to get around this time of year, be involved," said Cassidy. "It's a little more about filling out practice and him getting a taste of what it's like this time of year. He's part of our future, could be our immediate future if we get more injuries - or down the road."
Video: Updates from St. Louis as the B's ready for Game 3
Maintenance for Bergy
In addition to Grzelcyk and Chris Wagner (arm), Patrice Bergeron was not on the ice for practice on Friday afternoon. Per Cassidy, the center was given a maintenance day and will be in the lineup for Game 3 on Saturday night. Here are how the lines looked for the session at Enterprise Center:
Brad Marchand - Karson Kuhlman - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Backes
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Connor Clifton
Urho Vaakanainen - Steven Kampfer
Video: St. Louis Blues talk about series shifting