The Bruins will have to navigate their playoff opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs without a key piece on the third line. Still dealing with lingering effects of an ear laceration suffered last month, center Riley Nash will miss Game 1 Thursday at TD Garden.
The Bruins were holding out hope that Nash would be available for the start of the playoffs after being sidelined since March 31 when he was struck in the side of the head by a puck. The injury required more than 40 stitches. Coach Bruce Cassidy said Nash potentially could return by Saturday for Game 2, depending on how he progresses. Nash’s versatility made him a weapon on the third line with David Backes and Danton Heinen. He was valuable on the penalty kill and won 48.4 percent of the face-offs he took.
Cassidy will move third-year center Noel Acciari into Nash’s spot, and if need be, Acciari and Backes will split duties at center.
? Bruce Cassidy on Riley Nash being ruled out for Game 1: "He's an underrated guy that does a lot of little things well that we'll miss." pic.twitter.com/DA8R4Nb7MH
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 11, 2018