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Bruins pregame: Daniel Paille cleared for return, Chad Johnson starts in net

03.15.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Winners of seven straight, the Bruins will welcome back one forward and another making his NHL debut. Bruins coach Claude Julien announced before Saturday’s game with Carolina that Daniel Paille, who has missed the last five games with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to game action.

Asked if he will be available and will play, Julien was more coy with reporters pre-game.

“Could be,” Julien said with a smile. “Probably. You’ll have to make some deductions. right? I have to keep you guys on your toes. I’m too predictable.”

Chad Johnson will make his 18th start in net for the Bruins after Tuukka Rask started both games of the back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday in Montreal and home against Phoenix.

The other big story Saturday is the NHL debut of 23-year-old forward Matt Linblad, a Friday call-up from Providence.

“It’€™s pretty special,” Julien said. “I’€™m sure he’€™s dreamed of playing in the NHL, and exhibition games are one thing, and this is the real deal right now. But at the same time, I think he’€™s earned it. He’€™s played really well. I liked his training camp, I liked his, again, his hockey knowledge and his hockey IQ.

“Hockey sense is always an important part of any player at this level, and he has that. He’€™s a smart individual, so you put that with the good skater that he he is, and it makes for a pretty decent player. So we have high hopes for him and there’€™s an opportunity for him to show he’€™s gotten better over the course of the season.”

During pre-game warmups, Linblad was skating on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, leaving Shawn Thornton as the odd man out.

Julien also announced that, after playing in three straight games, defenseman Andrej Meszaros would get the day off, giving Torey Krug more time on the blue line as well as the power play.

“There’€™s going to be some changes here as we go along, and I think [Meszaros] has played three straight games and we’€™ve continued to work with him,” Julien said. “So, we certainly don’€™t want to let our other players that have been here be pushed aside because of trades. So it’€™s just managing that whole back end.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Chad Johnson, Claude Julien, Daniel Paille

Matt Lindblad recalled, ‘more than likely’ to play for Bruins Saturday

03.14.14 at 1:41 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins recalled forward Matt Lindblad from Providence Friday and Claude Julien suggested he will play Saturday against the Hurricanes.

Julien said that the recall has nothing to do with players being injured, though with Daniel Paille expected to return to the lineup Saturday, a regular forward would have to come out of the lineup in order for Lindblad to play.

In 43 games for Providence this season, the Dartmouth College product has seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points and a minus-4 rating.

“He’s been playing well. He’s a guy we wanted to see,” Julien said. “It’s not related to any injuries more than [we want to] have a look at him too. We talk about playoffs around the corner and depth, well, right now we’ve got 13 forwards here. We’ve seen other guys come up, but we haven’t seen him.

“He’s been one of the guys that, to me, was impressive in training camp and is a good two-way player, skates well. We want to give him that opportunity to be seen as well. At one point, more than likely tomorrow, he may be in the lineup.”

Read More: Matt Lindblad,

Daniel Paille looks to return from concussion

03.14.14 at 1:32 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Daniel Paille took contact in Friday’s optional practice and hopes to return to the lineup from a concussion in time for Saturday’s game. He has yet to be cleared to play, but he said he feels no symptoms of a first-period hit from Ed Jovanovski that he took last Sunday.

Coach Claude Julien said that Paille was “looking good” in practice and that the team would make a decision later in the day Friday regarding whether he will play.

“I feel pretty good,” Paille said. “Actually, this whole week, I’ve just felt normal, felt the same. I didn’t necessarily feel any symptoms really, but it was more of the way it looked, being [cautious] and it’s better to be safe than sorry. I just kind of followed the [protocol] to make sure I was 100 percent. After a few days, there was nothing.”

This is Paille’s second concussion of the season, as he missed seven games in December with a head injury. He said this one wasn’t as bad though, and if he is back Saturday against the Hurricanes he will have only missed two games.

“This past one was probably like one I had in Buffalo, where I took a hit, my head hit the ice and I got dizzy,” the former Sabre said. “I remembered everything, and the process with having any other symptoms wasn’t there. The same thing happened with this one. Obviously I knew I couldn’t play, but I felt good enough to play if I had to.”

Paille added that he had no problem with taking the cautious approach at this time of year, given that his priority is to be in good health for the start of the playoffs next month.

Said Paille: “There’s still about a month left in the season and it’s a push for the playoffs, so there was really no reason to push it at that point.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Daniel Paille,

Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘really becoming a well-oiled machine’

03.14.14 at 1:24 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss how the Bruins are playing after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

After defeating the Coyotes, 2-1, Thursday night, the Bruins are on a seven-game winning streak.

“They’€™re strong,” McGuire said. “They really are tight as a group. They haven’€™t messed with the integrity of their roster. Their defensive-zone posture’€™s getting better and better all the time. I think Andrej Meszaros is going to fill in well with Zdeno Chara. He’€™s going to help the power play as well.

“They’ve done a lot of things well there in Boston for a long period of time now, and when you watch them play you get the sense that this is a group that’s really becoming a well-oiled machine.”

During that span of time, Carl Soderberg has played at center while Chris Kelly has made the move to wing.

“The way Chris Kelly has been able to move over to wing rather than being center so Carl Soderberg, who is much more comfortable playing center, can play center — I think you’ve seen Soderberg really start to rise, and Kelly’€™s been a great trooper handling the assignment moving from center to wing,” McGuire said.

“People always want to talk about the young star, they don’€™t want to talk about the old guy that’€™s moved over to accommodate this, and obviously the extra ice helps Soderberg a lot, and not having to play on the boards helps him a lot, but Chris Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this. He really does. I think he’€™s done valiant work.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug sitting out: “I think there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think it’€™s about one person or two persons. … I think it’€™s about the way the team needs to play. One of the things you try to do too is keep your roster competitive at this time of year and have guys fighting for ice so that everybody stays fresh but everybody stays focused. I like the way the Bruins are handling things. Is it easy to watch Dougie Hamilton sit out back-to-back games? No, because I think Dougie’s starting to make significant progress in his career. Is it easy to see Krug sit out? No, it’s not. But, again, this is part of having a competitive, deep roster, and that’s one of the things I admire so much about the Bruins.”

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug

Bruins beat Coyotes for seventh straight win

03.13.14 at 10:19 pm ET
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The Bruins won their seventh straight game and reclaimed first place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.

Boston jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Zdeno Chara and Jarome Igina in the first period. The two teams then played a very quiet second period in which the Coyotes had two shots on goal and the Bruins had three.

For the second straight day, Tuukka Rask had a shutout broken up in the third period, as a Lauri Korpikoski tally at 8:14 of of the third got the Coyotes on the board.

Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch for the previous two games. With Hamilton back in, the Bruins made Torey Krug a healthy scratch, marking the first time Krug has missed a game this season. Andrej Meszaros remained in the lineup, playing primarily on the left side for the first time since being acquired by the B’s last Wednesday.

The B’s will next play Saturday, when they host the Hurricanes at the Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Rask didn’t have much trouble handling both games of a back-to-back, as he followed Wednesday’s 35-save performance by blanking Phoenix Thursday.

One of Rask’s saves Thursday came on a breakaway in which Shane Doan got behind Zdeno Chara and Hamilton in the second period, making it the fourth breakaway he has faced and stopped (Tomas Plekanec missed the net Wednesday) in the last two days.

The closest call Rask encountered in the first period was due to some bad luck, as Rask made a blocker save in the first period and pushed the rebound off of Dougie Hamilton, causing the puck to bounce back to the net. Rask was able to reach back and sweep the puck out in time.

He also came up big as the Bruins killed off a third-period penalty to Carl Soderberg. Rask has now allowed just five goals over his last four starts.

- Chara has never had a 20-goal season in his career (he had 19 in 2008-09), but he’s got a pretty good shot at it this season. Thursday’s goal was the 16th of the season for Chara. The Bruins have 16 games remaining.

- Thursday’s win was Claude Julien‘s 300th as Bruins coach. He sits 61 wins away from Art Ross for the most in franchise history.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins had only three shots on goal in the second period, though they allowed only two to the Coyotes. That’s right: There were five total shots on goal in the second period. One of Phoenix’ second-period shots came on a Doan’s breakaway.

- Matt Bartkowski was assessed a boarding minor after an unnecessary shove from behind on Jeff Halpern in the second period. Bartkowski didn’t necessarily push him hard, but it was definitely enough to send Halpern into the boards head-first.

- The lack of power plays continues for the Bruins, as they had just one man advantage Thursday.

Bruins cruise past Canadiens, snapping five-game losing streak vs. rivals

03.12.14 at 10:08 pm ET
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MONTREAL — The Bruins’ recent strong play trumped their struggles vs. the Canadiens this season as the B’s skated to a 4-1 victory over the Habs Wednesday at the Bell Centre. They have now won six games in a row.

The B’s managed to survive a first period that saw Montreal outshoot them, 14-6, and took a scoreless game into the second period. From there, even-strength goals from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic in a much better second period gave the B’s a 3-0 lead after two.

Zdeno Chara put Boston’s fourth goal past Peter Budaj just 23 seconds into the third period, but David Desharnais broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout by burying a loose puck in front at 2:46 of the third. Thomas Vanek picked up an assist on the goal, giving him 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points against the Bruins in 64 games.

Montreal had won five straight games against the Bruins (including the first two meetings of this season) entering Wednesday night’s game.

The Bruins have a quick turnaround, as they will return to Boston to host the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- It wasn’t his cleanest night, but Rask kept the Bruins in the game in the first period that saw the B’s allow two breakaways (see below). In addition to his stops on those breaks, he came up with a big stop on Eller following Max Pacioretty‘s first-period break.

Rask did have his shaky moments, as he gave up a decent number of rebounds. His shakiest moment came in the third period, when he came out of the net and wound up passing the puck to Brendan Gallagher, requiring him to make an acrobatic save to cover his tracks. Read the rest of this entry »

Rich Peverley to undergo heart procedure, will not play again this season

03.12.14 at 4:17 pm ET
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In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Stars and team-affiliated doctors announced that Rich Peverley‘s season is over. Peverley, who collapsed on the bench Monday night and needed to be defibrillated, will now undergo a heart procedure that was originally scheduled for after the season.

Doctors said the procedure — called atrial fibrillation ablation — is usually effective in permanently preventing incidents like the one Peverley suffered on Monday. They said it is too early to know if he will be able to play hockey again, though.

Peverley gave a brief statement at the press conference, thanking doctors for saving his life and saying he will be “forever grateful.” Doctors said it took only 14 seconds to get Peverley off the bench and down the tunnel to begin treatment.

Doctors said Peverley may have played with an irregular heartbeat during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last season, but that it wasn’t identified until a physical in training camp before this season.

Peverley missed the entire preseason and the start of the regular season after undergoing a procedure that was expected to get him through the season. He then missed a game last Tuesday after the issue flared up again, leading doctors to increase his medicine dosage.

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