Hockey gods give Matthews a gift: Bruins top-4 D out for series

Ryan Smitheram
April 23, 2024  (1:40 PM)

Andrew Peeke is out for the remainder of the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs
Photo credit: Hannah Foslien-USA TODAY Sports

Auston Matthews could find it easier to produce with the news that the Bruins will be without top-four defenseman Andrew Peeke for the remainder of the series.

Peeke left Game 2 in the second period after blocking a shot on a penalty kill. Reportedly, Peeke blocked the shot with his hand, which means he could be in for a lengthy absence, similar to Calle Jarnkrok after he broke a knuckle blocking a shot in practice earlier this season.
According to Bruins reporter Fluto Shinzawa, Parker Wotherspoon is first in line to replace Andrew Peeke, but the Bruins have also recalled Mason Lohrei. Wotherspoon is best known by Leaf fans as the guy that Tyler Bertuzzi absolutely dummied in a fight during a regular season meeting between the two clubs.
The Bruins made it a point to have Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo out against Auston Matthews whenever possible, and it worked for the most part. The pair limited Matthews to just two assists through the first five periods.
Once Peeke left and Boston was forced to use five defensemen, they had no choice but to break up the pairing and it eventually led to Matthews scoring the game-winning goal in the third.
The Bruins could choose to keep the pair together for Games 3 and 4 in Toronto, but given the lack of playoff experience replacing Peeke, they are more likely to keep them separated, giving Matthews an opportunity to take complete control of every shift.
The hard-hitting Peeke didn't see a lot of Auston Matthews in Games 1 and 2, but with the Leafs controlling the matchups for Games 3 and 4 getting the last change on home ice, it's likely that Sheldon Keefe would have tried to get Matthews out against that 2nd or 3rd pair early and often. Now, with Peeke sidelined, the matchups may become even more favourable.
APRIL 23   |   384 ANSWERS
Hockey gods give Matthews a gift: Bruins top-4 D out for series

Will Matthews dominate the rest of the series if the Bruins are forced to break up their top pairing?

Absolutely28875 %
Nope, he always struggles in the playoffs9625 %
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