Kadri drama overshadows growing list of damaged Bruins blueliners

During To the Point, Brian Burke spoke on Mike Smith’s historic start to the playoffs, Nazem Kadri and his cross-check on Jake DeBrusk and what type of suspension he might receive.

TORONTO – Understandably lost in the nasty drama that unfolded between Nazem Kadri and Jake DeBrusk is the toll Game 2’s rampant physicality took on the Boston Bruins’ defence corps.

Kadri most certainly has removed himself from the series with his undisciplined cross-check to DeBrusk’s face — a severe blow to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ centre depth and physical pushback, no doubt — but the Bruins could now be staring at an equally uncomfortable roster reshuffling.

During second-period action of Saturday’s 4-1 Bruins victory, rugged Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin laid a stiff shoulder into a speeding Torey Krug a half beat after he’d dished off the puck in the Leafs’ zone.

Watch the play:

The clean check popped Krug’s helmet off his head and sent the top-four blueliner crashing to the ice.

Down on all fours for a concerning amount of time, Krug tried crawling to his bench and eventually left to the dressing room on his own power. He never returned, and details regarding the severity of his injury remain vague. He is listed as day-to-day and did travel to Toronto.

It was Krug’s Game 7 goal, we’ll remind you, that kick-started the Bruins’ emotional comeback in the 2018 playoff showdown between these teams. This could be the third straight post-season in which he’ll be forced to miss games to injury.

The offensive-minded Krug, the club’s top-paid and highest-scoring (53 points) defender, suffered a concussion only 32 days ago.

"I don’t think you should assume he’s concussed," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We don’t know that yet."

There’s more.

Third-pair defender Connor Clifton, a rookie who’s endeared himself to Cassidy through his physical play and penalty-killing skills, also left Game 2 late. Clifton’s Game 3 status, too, is now in question.

Both players travelled with the club to Toronto.

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Once a source of depth, Boston’s blue line has become a crowded sick bay. It’s arguable that Krug, who quarterbacks the Bruins’ lethal power-play and logged more ice time on average (21:18) than anyone on the team, would be a greater loss than Kadri.

Off-season acquisition John Moore (upper body) has yet to enter the series. He participated in Sunday’s optional practice, ditching his red, non-contact sweater for the first time in a week.

Kevan Miller (lower body) is farther behind in his recovery and suffered "additional swelling," per GM Don Sweeney, that makes a return less imminent.

A dip into the farm system may be required, opening an opportunity for the Leafs’ high-powered offence to pounce on some inexperience.

Jakub Zboril has been recalled and will be on hand if needed for games 3 and 4. The 22-year-old has all of two NHL appearances. He put up 19 points in 56 games in the AHL this season.

"We have Steven Kampfer," Cassidy said of the next man up. "Obviously, [we will] draw him into the lineup if necessary. He’s done a good job for us. And if we’re down two guys, we have to look at Providence. Is Johnny Moore ready?"

Kampfer, a 30-year-old journeyman, appeared in 35 games this season, registering three goals, three assists, 22 penalty minutes and minus-6 rating.

The Bruins are also awaiting the return of fourth-line forward Sean Kuraly (fractured right hand), who is hopeful for Friday’s Game 5.

Jake DeBrusk is "doing better" after the Kadri cross-check, per Cassidy, and is listed as day-to-day.

While the Maple Leafs are going to miss Kadri, Toronto can take some solace in icing the healthier the lineup.

An opportunity to seize upon Boston’s banged-up back end has presented itself.

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