Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Bortuzzo to replace Edmundson for Game 5; Chara not practicing, 
not ruled out; Grzelcyk could return for Bruins; Thomas still not skating

BOSTON -- It looks like the Blues will alter their blue line for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final when they insert Robert Bortuzzo back in and make Joel Edmundson a healthy scratch on Thursday.

Bortuzzo, who was scratched for Game 4 when Vince Dunn returned from a six-game hiatus with a broken jaw, played in line rushes at practice Wednesday on the third pairing with Dunn, and Edmundson was with Michael Del Zotto as the extras.

Edmundson played just 7 minutes 24 seconds in Game 4 and had two hits and two giveaways, including one that got the ire of coach Craig Berube when the lefty got to the bench.

The Blues have interchangeable parts on their blue line and will go with the best six they feel can get the job done.

Bortuzzo scored a key goal in Game 2 of the series, a 3-2 win by the Blues in overtime. The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"It's been very good competition," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "I think again, we use everybody, and that's what you need to do in the playoffs. I think that it's a good competition. All the guys realize it. They care about each other. When somebody goes in and somebody goes out, they're on the same page and they're good about it, and that's important. You don't have to be happy about it, but you still got to be a good teammate and they have been very good that way. It's great to have the depth."

"It keeps guys fresh, but within games too, it's interchangeable," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "It gives us a break when guys are out there for special teams. It's just chemistry, camaraderie, reading off each other, having been together for a while. It definitely makes things easier too. We do it up front more often than people realize and keeping guys fresh throughout a game.

"Everybody wants to be in this situation. Everybody wants to be playing."

Edmundson has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games; Bortuzzo has two goals in 15 games.

"We've got a lot of good players on the back end," Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said. "Even guys who are sitting out some games, they all kind of bring a different dynamic and our back end's very deep a big reason why we're here. They make our job easy as far as on the backcheck and getting pucks out to us out of the d-zone, so they've been great for us."

* Chara doesn't skate, not ruled out -- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who has what has been reported as a broken jaw stemming from the wrist shot he took from Brayden Schenn early in the second period of the Blues' 4-2 win in Game 4.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy wouldn't confirm any reports, only saying Chara has a "facial injury" and that his loss would be a blow but one Boston would have to overcome.

"Our mentality will be fine in terms of being able to win without certain players now if we're talking about 'Zee' because we've done it," Cassidy said. "We've been there, we've done it; not in the finals of the Stanley Cup but we did it against Carolina in the clinching game. Now, we were up 3-0 so maybe there's a little more going on there. We did it without [Charlie] McAvoy Game 1 against Carolina. We've done it without 'Bergy' [Patrice Bergeron] this year, different guys. So I think our guys are good that way knowing that the team will pull together. It's just tough when you lose [Chara]. He is your captain and he plays some valuable minutes in this particular series. Against a heavier team, that's where you miss the actual what he brings to the table. But in terms of the mentality, I think this team will be OK. And we don't know 'Zee' if he misses one game, if he wouldn't be available for the next one if that's the case, either. We don't really know right now. There's a little bit of that hope factor for us as well."

What's good about the Blues is they don't care or worry about who's in or who's out on the other side. They've maintained sole focus on their own locker room and will keep it that way.

"It doesn't switch our game plan much," Schwartz said. "We've got to focus on us and worry about executing our game plan and getting to our game as quick as we can. We can't really worry too much about who's in for them and who's not."

Forward Pat Maroon said Berube gives the team reminders of what to worry/not worry about.

"We just focus on what we need to do," Maroon said. "I think Chief does a good job reminding us that it’s not them, it’s about us. We can’t focus on who’s in or who’s out of their lineup. We don’t even look at the lineup sheets. We just go in and play."

The Bruins could get a boost from the return of defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has missed the past three games from concussion protocol stemming from a check from Oskar Sundqvist, who was suspended for Game 3.

* Thomas still not skating -- Blues forward Robert Thomas did not participate in practice again and is not expected to play in Game 5, the fourth straight game Thomas will miss.

He's been nursing a wrist injury since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks and has not played since he was the recipient of a hard check from Bruins defenseman Torey Krug in Game 1.

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