Matt Grzelcyk is day to day in the NHL concussion protocol and will not travel with the Boston Bruins for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
The defenseman was boarded by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist at 17:54 of the first period of the Bruins' 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2 at TD Garden on Wednesday. Grzelcyk skated off the ice with assistance from teammates David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk after he was attended to by trainers. Sundqvist received a two-minute penalty for boarding and was suspended for Game 3 by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Thursday.
Grzelcyk was taken to the hospital for tests.
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"When we have a further update, we'll give it to you," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday, one day after the Blues evened the best-of-7 series.
"We've been through it before. [Grzelcyk] is a heck of a hockey player and does a lot of great things for this team," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "He can kind change the dynamic back there for us. … So he's a great player, obviously we miss him.
"But that being said, you know we've been that before. I think we did OK, we can always do better. We didn't wind up winning the game, so obviously there's things we need to correct. Definitely [losing Grzelcyk] that early definitely compounded things."
The Bruins managed to not overtax their defensemen despite being down to five. Charlie McAvoy played 27:00, Krug played 26:00, Zdeno Chara played 25:45, Brandon Carlo played 22:58, and Connor Clifton played 16:47 (he spent six minutes in the penalty box).
The Bruins have been through this situation before in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Chara didn't play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes because of injury, and Boston won. McAvoy was suspended for Game 1 of that series, and Boston won.
"It's a lot of work but nothing we can't get through," Carlo said. "We've had that happen throughout the year, so just got to adjust and continue to play on no matter what adversity you face. You've just got to keep going."
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Grzelcyk's absence was too difficult to overcome Wednesday.
"Losing the 16 minutes of Grzelcyk's time, good puck-mover, guys that can break down a forecheck when he's on, and that was clearly a strength of theirs tonight and a weakness of ours breaking pucks out," Cassidy said. "So that's where we missed him the most I felt like. Getting back on pucks, he's pretty good at quick skate moves, a good clean pass, get our forwards going through the neutral zone is a strength of our game. So we lost some of that element and I think it showed."
John Moore, a left-handed shot like Grzelcyk, filled in well for Chara against the Hurricanes but has no points in five games in the playoffs. Steven Kampfer, a right-handed shot, scored in one of his two playoff games.
A decision on whether Moore or Kampfer will play will be made closer to Game 3, Cassidy said.
"I'm not worried about them coming in," he said. "They've played the playoffs, helped us win games. I'm more concerned with Grzelcyk's health right now. ... Next man up, we've done in a lot this year. I hate to lose a guy, but if that ends up being the case, then one of those two goes in."
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