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Grzelcyk uncertain, Chara will play for Bruins in Game 6 of Cup Final

Acciari cleared for Boston, which looks to avoid losing series to Blues

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Grzelcyk remains in the concussion protocol, but the Boston Bruins hope the two-day break will help the defenseman be cleared to play in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Getting Grzelcyk back would be a much-needed boost for the Bruins, who are one loss from losing the best-of-7 Cup Final. 

"He has an opportunity to skate Saturday and play Sunday," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said after the Bruins arrived here Friday. "I can't speculate. We hope he's available and cleared by then as there is some time between now and the game."

 

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Grzelcyk, who has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games, has not played since being injured on a hit by St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist in Game 2 on May 29. Sundqvist received a boarding penalty and was suspended for Game 3.

The Bruins hoped Grzelcyk would be available to play in Game 5 at Boston on Thursday after he practiced Wednesday and participated in the optional morning skate Thursday, but he did not receive medical clearance. The Bruins lost 2-1.

"He's a very efficient puck-mover, skater, which is something that can be beneficial as far as breaking their forecheck," Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. "It's unfortunate that we haven't had him since [Game 2]. If we can get him back, it would be a huge lift for our club. But that being said, we've had that next-man-up attitude."

The positive for the Bruins was that captain Zdeno Chara was able to play in Game 5 after sustaining facial injuries when the defenseman was struck in the face with the puck in Game 4 on Monday. 

With the Bruins having seven defensemen in the lineup as a precaution, Chara played 25 shifts for 16:42 in ice time Thursday (down from his postseason average of 21:41), and Cassidy said he made it through the game OK physically other than some understandable soreness.

Cassidy said he is unsure if Chara will be able to handle more minutes in Game 6 with Boston's season on the line.

"I think some of the issue was he hadn't eaten much, so (it was) a strength issue, so you've got to be careful there," Cassidy said. "Now it's a matter of will the three extra days allow him to get stronger or will it go the other way. I don't know. I've never had that injury. That's something we'll discuss with [him] and come Sunday evening we'll probably have a much better idea of what he's able to handle and what he's not.

"We clearly hope we play well enough that you don't have to push him to the max, but it's an elimination game, so we'll make those decisions in game as need be."

Cassidy said forward Noel Acciari is OK after being pulled by the NHL concussion spotter in the third period Thursday. Acciari appeared to be shaken up when he was taken down by St. Louis center Tyler Bozak and did not play after that.

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