Following up yesterday’s Western Conference injury update, today we check in on the Eastern Conference.
Riley Nash – Missed Tuesday’s practice, which makes it less likely he’ll be in the lineup on Thursday when the Bruins open up their series against the Leafs. He missed the end of the regular season (last five games) after taking a shot to the side of the head, needing 40 stitches to close the resulting gash! As of right now, the main concern seems to be swelling and discomfort of wearing a helmet – nothing concussion related. Nash finished the regular season with 41 points in 76 games, and is an important part of the Bruins’ depth scoring. Riley doesn’t typically play huge minutes (15:25), but he does leave a hole down the middle for the Bruins. While he hasn’t officially been ruled out for game one, if he doesn’t play, Noel Acciari should take his spot on the third line.
Rick Nash – Was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice, which makes it likely he’ll be in the lineup for Game 1. Keep in mind he’s recovering from a concussion, so there’s a chance he’s not yet at a 100% (head injuries are unpredictable). Nash had six points in 11 games with the Bruins and 34 points in 71 games overall. He wasn’t even the best R. Nash on the team! In all seriousness, Nash did seem to boost the second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, his return will certainly be welcome.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno – Practiced on Monday and should be in the lineup when the Capitals host the Blue Jackets on Thursday. It wasn’t Foligno’s best season offensively as he totalled just 33 points in 72 games. However, it’s always nice to have your captain in the lineup for the playoffs.
New Jersey Devils
Marcus Johansson – While he has been cleared to practice with contact, he still hasn’t been cleared to play in a game. That might seem a bit confusing, but I guess there’s a substantial difference between how hard your opponents will hit you and how hard your teammates will hit you. Johansson’s season was really hindered by head injuries – he appeared in just 29 regular season games. I get the feeling Johansson will see some playoff action this season, just not in the early stages of round one.
Michal Neuvirth – Did some work on the ice Tuesday, but I don’t expect him to seem much playoff action if any. Right now it seems like Brian Elliott is the guy, with Petr Mrazek waiting in the wings if Elliott were to falter.
Derick Brassard – Has been a full participant in practice recently. While he hasn’t been confirmed for Wednesday’s lineup, all signs point to him being ready. He had eight points in 14 games with the Penguins during the regular season.
Carter Rowney – Didn’t practice Tuesday, so I wouldn’t expect him to be available for game one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return at some point during the playoffs. Has been out since mid-March with an upper-body injury that was supposed to keep him out long-term.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos – Has been feeling good and hopes to play in Game 1. He was a full participant in Monday’s practice on a line with Nikita Kucherov and JT Miller. I’d expect him to be in the lineup on Thursday when the Lightning open their series against the Devils. Tampa’s captain tallied 86 points in 78 regular season games – expectations will be high for the playoffs.
Adam Erne – Still out indefinitely with a lower body injury. The Lightning have their fair share of offensive firepower, so don’t expect him to be rushed back for the postseason. The 22-year-old should have a bigger role in future years.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Jay Beagle – Skated by himself on Tuesday, and is questionable for Thursday’s playoff opener against the Blue Jackets. At this point, he should be considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Beagle play a big role on the penalty kill for the Caps, so they’ll be hoping for a speedy recovery. Considering he hasn’t had a chance to practice with his teammates recently, I’d be surprised if he was in the lineup for Game 1.