BOSTON, MA - Following Monday’s off day with no practice, the Bruins were back together at TD Garden on Tuesday morning for a hard-working, methodical practice prior to facing off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night in Game 1.
The morning started with goaltending coach Bob Essensa spending time on the ice with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, as Rask shifts into playoff mode.
Joining the B’s on the ice was Nathan Horton, who had been out day-to-day with an upper-body injury since leaving the April 21st game against Pittsburgh. Horton was reunited with Milan Lucic and David Krejci in white.
Jaromir Jagr also rejoined the Bruins after missing Friday’s practice with flu-like symptoms and subsequently, not being available for the games on Saturday or Sunday. He was sporting the grey jersey today, alongside Chris Kelly and Kaspars Daugavins, who had an impressive showing Sunday night vs Ottawa skating mostly alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci, earning his first assist as a Bruin and putting up three shots on goal, including a prime scoring opportunity after showing strong stickhandling in close.
There wasn’t too much extracurricular activity or joking around for the group during practice, who ran through their paces for nearly 40 minutes, before scrimmaging and taking part in battling five-on-five drills down low. With Jagr back on the ice, he also rejoined the power-play drills.
Captain Zdeno Chara led the team’s center-ice stretch prior to practice wrapping up; once the sticks taps to end stretch ensued, the B’s lightened up a bit, with their hard work nearly completed for the day.
Lines in practice:
Defensive pairings used mostly throughout practice reflected those from the past two games:
Following practice, Coach Julien said that Jagr is okay and should be good to go tomorrow, while Horton is still day-to-day and they’ll “wait to see how he is tomorrow to make that decision” whether he’s in the lineup.
Horton said he feels good and has been skating on his own for four or five days now. “I’ve been working hard and it was great to be out there.”
Coach also noted that tomorrow’s lineup is not finalized yet and wants “everybody ready” to go. “We had line combinations today, but that doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to be,” he said.
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com and to Twitter @NHLBruins ^CS for more postpractice updates…
WILMINGTON, MA - The “good feeling” has made its way back into the Bruins’ dressing room. Thursday night, following the ousting by Philadelphia, was the start of three games in four days, and a chance for the B’s to start “feeling good about their game,” as voiced by veteran Chris Kelly and his teammates.
They did just that, putting together a close to full-60 effort, in their 2-0 shutout of Tampa who, despite not making the playoffs, are always loaded with offensive talent.
So at practice on Friday at Ristuccia Arena, a jovial group of Bruins moved quickly from drill to drill, hollering at teammates whose pucks found their way past the goalies, and joking amongst themselves in the locker room.
“If you have ever questioned our team chemistry…” said Coach Julien jokingly to reporters as the voices of the B’s filled the room.
“There’s no doubt there’s a better feeling all around in the dressing room. Obviously, we’re hoping our fans liked our game a lot better. That’s what you need, but you need to build on that,” said Julien following practice.
“Feeling better gives you a more energetic practice too, our guys seemed to be in the right frame of mind. We understand that Washington’s been a tough team for us in the past.”
“It’s been a tough building for us to play in as well, so we’ve got a good challenge – I say a good challenge because that’s the kind of thing we need right now is a good challenge and we have to respond properly tomorrow.”
The only B’s not on the ice for practice were Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr and Matt Bartkowski.
BOSTON, MA - Following an off day with no practice Wednesday, the Bruins were back together Thursday morning at TD Garden for a longer pregame skate prior to hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at 7:30 ET (NESNplus, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Tonight marks the first of a stretch of three games in four days for the Bruins, before heading into the playoffs. The B’s would have originally had only Saturday’s game in D.C. left on the schedule, but two postponed games leave them with the compact end to the season.
Boston was set to play Tampa on February 9 before the blizzard hit, forcing the third and final meeting between the two teams to take place tonight. The Bolts may be out of the playoff picture, but their offense still excite, as Steven Stamkos sits just two goals back (29) of the Rocket Richard, while Marty St. Louis leads the NHL scoring race with 58 points.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are looking for a wake-up call, coming off a 5-2 ousting by Philadelphia on Tuesday, as they correct their game heading into the postseason.
PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Bruins held morning skate at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia this morning, prior to facing off against the Flyers in their third and final meeting on the season.
While Philly has been eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, they are coming off a 5-3 win over Carolina and have won three of their past four games. While the Flyers are a team with nothing to lose, the Bruins are in a battle with Montreal for the top of the Northeast Division and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
Hence, the B’s are not looking ahead to the postseason just yet.
Morning skate saw the following line rushes and D pairings that can be expected for tonight.
Anton Khudobin was the first goaltender off the ice during the pregame skate. Tuukka Raak started back-to-back games for the B’s on Saturday and Sunday.
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com and Twitter @NHLBruins for more updates and locker room thoughts prior to tonight’s match-up with the Flyers…
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins snapped a four-game skid on Sunday afternoon with a 3-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers, featuring solid goaltending, stronger defense and a touch of their “edge” and physicality that has made them such a tough team to play against in recent years.
It’s not quite near the level they want it to be, but the theme around the locker room seems to be that they’re “heading in the right direction.”
“I don’t know where exactly we did, but we really turned a corner when you start not just focusing on the results but you do focus on the positives and how we were playing and working towards things,” said blueliner Andrew Ference following Sunday’s win at TD Garden.
“And [we] have kind of the bigger picture in mind of what we’re getting ready for and what we’re gearing up for, so it’s going the right direction for sure.”
BOSTON, MA - Nearly 48 hours after Monday’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon, the Bruins are hoping they can bring, if even for a few hours tonight, some relief to the people of Boston when they face off against the Buffalo Sabres in the first major sporting event since the tragedy.
“The one thing that I sense from our team is that we have the ability to maybe help people heal and find some reason to smile again, by giving them that, by representing our city properly,” said Coach Julien following pregame skate at TD Garden.
“To me, this is a time where you are proud to be associated with a professional team, even the NHL and all professional sports. When you look at the support this city has had from rivals and everything else, that are giving us support at this time, it’s amazing.”
“We have an opportunity here to make our city proud. I think we’re all in for it and hopefully we can do that for this city right now.”
Coach Julien and the B’s are battling with the feelings and emotions from the events, while also knowing they have a job to do tonight out on the ice.
And they started along that path with practice yesterday in Wilmington and today’s morning skate. Their energy out on the ice was also given a jolt by having all Bruins healthy, and the addition of Sweden native Carl Soderberg joining the B’s for the first time today.
Though Soderberg will not be in tonight’s lineup as he adjusts the Bruins’ system and NHL game, the B’s will get a lift with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both medically cleared and expected back in the lineup.
Bergeron has missed six games since sustaining his concussion on April 2 against Ottawa, while Marchand has been out of the lineup for two games, after suffering a mild concussion in New Jersey on April 10.
Here are the lines from morning skate:
Though Soderberg will not be in, he rotated into rushes mostly alongside Krejci and Jagr. Daugavins and Pandolfo look to be the healthy scratches, as they were rotating in and stayed on for extra work towards the end of skate.
As for defensemen, Coach Julien has a lot of healthy bodies to work with right now, and has opted to alternate his blueliners over the next two weeks to give them rest. Tonight, Coach said Wade Redden will be in, playing for the first time in the spoked-B.
It appears that Adam McQuaid might be a healthy scratch, as he stayed on for extra work at morning skate as well.
In regards to tonight’s starting goaltender, Anton Khudobin was the first goalie off, though Tuukka Rask followed not long after. Follow @NHLBruins tonight for full lineup info beginning with warm-ups at 7:00 p.m.
Reminder that tonight’s game is being carried on NBC Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. Can’t wait to see the energy-filled, packed TD Garden….
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins have gathered at Ristuccia Arena this morning for practice. While our resilient city of Boston went back to work today, so did the Bruins. But yesterday’s events are still heavily on everyone’s minds. Sending good thoughts and prayers out to our great city…
I was expecting a hard-working group today, and it’s been just that. Around 11:00 a.m., Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask hit the ice for work with goaltending Coach Bob Essensa, while other B’s filtered on for power-play/breakout work at the other, before exiting the ice and the Zamboni coming out for a clear. Only four Bruins didn’t hit the ice for the initial skate (Kelly, Daugavins, Redden, McQuaid), but all filtered on for a full practice afterwards.
Though there’s rightfully a much different vibe today at practice, from the players, media and fans in attendance, maintaining a routine amidst the surreal nature of yesterday, and seeing the B’s donning their usual color-scheme practice jerseys, is quite comforting.
Even more comforting, is seeing every Bruin out there on Ristuccia ice donning the spoked-B that represents Boston.
As such, if you’re looking for some normalcy to your day today, here were the color schemes at practice:
Defensemen: Chara, Boychuk, Hamilton, McQuaid, Seidenberg, Bartkowski, Ference, Johnson, Redden
I’ll check back in with an update following practice from the locker room, as I’m sure the B’s will be sending positive vibes out to the people of Boston and the city that they call home.
BOSTON, MA - A nice sight this morning to see Brad Marchand back skating with the team during morning skate at TD Garden for the first time since April 10, when he sustained a “mild concussion” in New Jersey. The B’s held a pregame skate prior to facing off against the Senators tonight in their fifth and final meeting on the season.
Though the forward is not yet taking contact, that will be the next step in his recovery, as he has been skating and “feeling good.”
“I feel pretty good. Today is my first team practice, and I felt pretty good out there,” said Marchand post-skate. “I’m not really sure when I can be back. I’m still going to talk to the trainers after the practice here today and kind of see where we’re at, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
“I skated yesterday and I felt pretty good, and then today. I haven’t really been off that long, so I mean it’s, my hands and everything have still got it, but I felt pretty good, so again hopefully I’ll continue to get better.”
Patrice Bergeron joined in line rushes for the first time today, centering Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic. He remains a possibility for tonight’s lineup, as the center, coaches and B’s training staff will all be exercising caution with his insertion back into game action. Bergeron has missed six games since he first sustained a moderate concussion back on April 2, the last time the B’s faced Ottawa.
As on Saturday morning in Carolina, when Patrice spoke to media for the first time, he said this morning he was “feeling good” and felt close to a return, but was going to leave it up to Coach and the doctors to determine if he would be back or not.
“I obviously want to get back out there. I feel good. I feel confident,” said Bergeron. “I don’t feel cautious. We’re taking our time and there’s a reason for that, so that I’m not hesitant and I feel good.”
“The doctors and the trainers have always done a great job with me and all the other guys as well,” he added.
“It’s one of things it’s always hard to go through. I’ve had enough of it,” said Bergeron, on the frustration of being out. “It’s one of those things where at the same time, they said I was optimistic because of the way that I felt, and the Bruins did a good job of making sure I was taking the time to heal properly.”
Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off at morning skate, after goaltending coach Bob Essensa worked with both netminders for a while during the practice. As for the Senators, the B’s should expect to see Craig Anderson between the pipes for the first time this season against Boston, as he’s been back from since injury and most recently, put up a 33-save shutout performance on Friday in a 2-0 win over New Jersey.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, after being a healthy scratch the past two games to get rest and get a different perspective of the game from up top, will be back in the lineup tonight. Coach Julien said that with nine healthy defenseman, he plans to “rotate some players in and out here” heading down the final seven-game stretch. Andrew Ference will be the healthy scratch tonight.
Following the rest, Hamilton said, “I feel refreshed and eager to play.”
“Just to be able to sit up there and learn and watch with Jarvy [Coach Jarvis], it was good. So just a different perspective, and obviously, it’s a lot more fun playing and being in the room and I guess being part of the team, but it was good for me.”
Projected Boston Lineup
-Caryn Switaj ^CS