As seen in last night’s game, Colin Miller took knee-on-knee contact with Ottawa’ Mark Borowiecki, writhing on the ice in pain. After being helped off by John-Michael Liles and Riley Nash, Chiller tried (valiantly) to take another shift at the end of the period, but once again, trudged his way back to the locker room, not to be seen for the rest of the game. This Bruins blue line is absolutely depleted, there’s no questions to be made about it. No Torey Krug, no Brandon Carlo, and without Colin Miller, that’s half of the regular season mainstays out with injury. Even with the excellent play of Charlie McAvoy last night, it’s still a harrowing thought to think a rookie has to take so many minutes in his first NHL start. So what can Bruce Cassidy do to make his lineup stand up until his missing defensemen get healthy?
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
John-Michael Liles–Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller
You can only imagine the types of things McAvoy will be able to learn playing next to Zee. It’s one thing to talk and work at practice, but it’s an entirely different matter to play next to him in-game, learning on the fly next to a veteran leader. It worked with Carlo, as we saw for most of the season, he played excellently with Chara. McAvoy helps with the pair by taking even more of the skating load off of Chara than Carlo could. Despite Carlo’s size and long strides, McAvoy is an excellent skater, both along the blue line in the zone and getting back into position (when he doesn’t pinch too far down the wall). That lets Zee play more of a position game and with his size, he fills a lot of holes just by being in the right place.
As far as the second and third line goes, Liles hasn’t looked bad lately and could stand to play with a stand-at-home guy like McQuaid in order to open up more of his puck moving skills. Joe Morrow has to slide into the lineup as the sixth guy with Kevan Miller. They will call up someone as the seventh defenseman, maybe Tommy Cross, but that’s speculation as to who it could be. They just need someone to be there just in case yet another blue-liner goes down. Cassidy certainly has his work cut out for him and needs to find more help as soon as possible to keep winning in the playoffs.