RALEIGH, N.C. – The Bruins are going to have to probably go it the rest of the way without one of their fourth liners who had been playing exceptionally well.
Chris Wagner has already been flown back to Boston for additional testing after blocking a Justin Faulk point blast with his right arm in the waning moments of Boston's 2-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday night at PNC Arena. Wagner had scored the first goal of the game amidst a great night for the fourth line, but now he's out indefinitely and could be out for the rest of the playoffs based on the sling and the X-rays that awaited him following the game.
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"Once we get to Boston we'll give you a further update down the road," said Cassidy, who said that Wagner was obviously out for Game 4 on Thursday night. "He's a good energy guy. You know what you're going to get out of him. We'll miss him."
Clearly a broken bone in his right arm/hand is the feared diagnosis in a play that now takes on a lot of parallels to Gregory Campbell breaking his leg blocking a shot during the 2013 conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The one good news in all this is that fellow fourth-liner Noel Acciari was cleared to return from his own injury ahead of Game 3, but there was no spot for him in a B's lineup that was winning playoff games consecutively. Now Acciari will slide back into the fourth-line right-wing spot opened up by Wagner's injury and do his best to play at the elevated level put forth by Boston's fourth line during the last few rounds of the postseason.
"I'm excited to get back with those guys," said Acciari, who has a goal and two points in 11 games during the playoffs thus far. "Wagner was having a great couple of games there with big goals and we're definitely going to miss him. But I'm going to do my best to kind of pick up where he left off and keep it going."
Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings for Game 4 vs. Carolina based on Wednesday off-day practice on the PNC Arena ice: