The Boston Bruins may have suffered their first big loss of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs even though we are still several days away from the playoffs evening beginning.
According to a report from Boston Bruins insider Joe McDonald of The Athletic, Boston Bruins forward Sean Kuraly has suffered a significant injury and will be out for a significant length of time on top of that. McDonald reports that Kuraly has not only suffered a fracture in his right hand, but that he has been forced to undergo a surgical procedure to repair the damage in that hand. As a result of the surgery there is now an expectation that Kuraly will miss a month of action while recovering from the surgery, a time frame that will obviously have major playoff implications.
The four week recovery period will likely mean that Kuraly will miss the entire first round of the playoffs, a first round series that will pit the Boston Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what is expected to be one of the most high profile playoff rematches in quite some time. What makes matters even worse for the Bruins is that Kuraly has historically been pretty good against the Leafs, especially when it comes to facing off against them during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Additionally the issue for the Bruins here is that Kuraly was arguably playing the best hockey that he has played during the 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season and appeared to be poised to have another strong performance against the Leafs in the first round. Through his 71 games with the Bruins this season the fourth line center has 8 goals and 13 assists for a total of 21 points and has mainted a respectable plus minus rating of +6 on the season.
There is perhaps a very minor silver lining here for Boston in the fact that it will be Karson Kuhlman who will be getting the call up from the Bruins to replace Kuraly in the lineup. Kuhlman has developed a reputation as a gritty player with plenty of toughness and unsurprisingly that has appealed to a segment of the Bruins fan base. Obviously a healthy Kuraly would be the preferred option but at least the Bruin have serviceable depth to replace him.