While the Boston Bruins are healthier now than when they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 6, they are not exactly 100 percent.
Noel Acciari took a puck to the mouth in the third period of the B’s dominant 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, and after a spending a few hours in the dentist’s chair Wednesday, he is questionable for tonight’s home tilt against the NHL-leading Bolts.
“Noel had extensive dental work done this morning, so that will be determined by the dentist and how much time he needs off, and comfort level with the pain, obviously,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I don’t believe there’s anything wrong long-term with the jaw being broken or anything. But there are some teeth that are all over the place, so we’ll see how he is in the morning.”
Acciari’s absence would be significant. He’s been centering the so-called fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, which has played a major role in the B’s 14-game point streak.
If Acciari can’t play, Cassidy expects to use Joakim Nordstrom on the left wing of that line with Kuraly in the middle and Wagner on the right. Peter Cehlarik, recalled on an emergency basis along with Karson Kuhlman, would jump in on the left wing of the third line with Charlie Coyle and David Backes.
Cassidy added if Acciari can play, the third line will remain Nordstrom-Coyle-Backes.
“(Nordstrom) did his job (Tuesday),” the coach said.
Miller likely out
Kevan Miller, who missed Tuesday’s game because of an upper-body injury, also did not practice on Wednesday and is doubtful for Thursday night.
“It’s probably a minor thing that hasn’t become a major thing, but it’s stretched out a day or two more than we thought. I suspect he’ll skate (this morning), but without being on the ice, I don’t now if he’d be ready to go (tonight),” Cassidy said. “I wouldn’t rule him out, but he’s doubtful.”
Patrice Bergeron did not practice Wednesday, but Cassidy said he’ll be ready to go. In Tuesday’s win, Bergeron was having his hand looked at on the bench, though it’s not clear if there’s an actual injury. He did win 16-of-19 draws against the Sharks. Kuhlman took Bergeron’s place on the top line with Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen. ...
Cassidy on the Bolts’ mammoth lead in the standings:
“Double digits ahead of everybody? That’s impressive,” he said. “So is it the rest of us that need to get our (butts) in gear, or is it just that they’re doing so well? But it is impressive, whatever side of the coin you want to put that on. We saw it last year. We were there firsthand, so we know how good they can be. There are certainly no weaknesses. The fact they’re No. 1 on the power play and penalty-kill, goals for ... that’s special. Usually you have deficiencies somewhere, but it doesn’t look like they do. And we’re going to find out (tonight).”