BOSTON – It looks more and more as if the Bruins are going to be short a few bodies headed into the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings. Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille were absent from the on-ice portion of practice at TD Garden again on Thursday morning and both have to be considered major question marks for Game 1 on Friday night.
Paille hasn’t been on the ice since getting rocked by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe last weekend. It’s possible he’s being held out the mandatory week per NHL concussion protocol. That would mean he’s out for Game 1 and probably in question for Game 2.
Kelly is a little tougher to gauge as he hasn’t been on the ice since an April 8 loss to the Minnesota Wild, where he sustained a back injury. He missed the final three games of the regular season. The fact he hasn’t skated in almost 10 days with Game 1 a little more than 24 hours away also puts the third-line forward’s availability into doubt.
Matt Bartkowski was also missing from practice again on Thursday, likely with flu-related symptoms. He did finished the regular season appearing in the final game against the New Jersey Devils. He’s missed three straight days of skating and the Bruins have a decision to make about starting Bartkowski or Andrej Meszaros in the left side second pairing D-man spot to start the postseason.
Kevan Miller returned to practice on Thursday after missing the past couple of days with the flu bug and appeared to be at full strength.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Thursday practice: