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Daniel Alfredsson out for Red Wings, Matt Bartkowski could return to Bruins for Game 3

04.22.14 at 12:30 pm ET
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DETROIT — There will be different personnel in Tuesday’s Game 3 between the Bruins and Red Wings, but not necessarily on Boston’s end.

Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson will be out of the lineup Tuesday, with Joakim Andersson filling in on Detroit’s second line with Darren Helm and Tomas Jurco. Alfredsson is believed to be dealing with a back issue, with Mike Babcock saying the veteran forward “needs another day.”

As for the Bruins, Matt Bartkowski took part in Tuesday’s morning skate and will be on the ice for warmups. Bartkowski was not made available to the media and Claude Julien was tight-lipped about his status, declining to comment on whether Andrej Meszaros would stay in the lineup once Bartkowski was healthy enough to play. Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly did not participate in morning skate.

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

Read More: Daniel Alfredsson, Matt Bartkowski,

After challenging regular season, Loui Eriksson off to good postseason start with Bruins

04.21.14 at 9:17 pm ET
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When the Bruins traded for Loui Eriksson, one of the most common words associated with him was “underrated.”

He’d been a 36-goal-scorer and one of the better two-way players in the game, but because of his responsible style and the market in which he’d played, the narrative was that he didn’t get the credit he deserved while playing for the Stars.

So, when Eriksson was traded to Boston in the Tyler Seguin deal, he went from being underrated to facing some lofty expectations. Eriksson struggled to find chemistry with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron early and suffered two concussions during his first regular season in Boston, and as such finished with just 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 games.

Two games into the playoffs, however, the Bruins are getting a combination of the player they saw after he returned from his first concussion — a player who was finding his way and providing a great blend of finesse and smarts in front of the net — and the player who was playing more confidently down the stretch on a line with fellow Sweden native Carl Soderberg.

Reilly Smith knows Eriksson as well as any of his teammates, as the two played together in Dallas before being sent to Boston as the two main pieces acquired by the B’s in the Seguin trade. In Sunday’s Game 2 against the Red Wings, Smith capitalized on Eriksson’s net-front work by jumping into the crease and knocking the puck into the net to give the B’s a 2-0 lead. It came on a power play that followed the expiration of the first penalty of a five-on-three, but Boston still had its five-on-three unit with Eriksson in front on the ice. That goal stood as the game-winner as the B’s went on to claim a 4-1 victory.

That wasn’t Eriksson’s only contribution. The Red Wings haven’t scored against his line and he has been a major part of a penalty kill that has limited the Red Wings to just two shots on goal — none of which have gone in — on six power plays.

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Read More: Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Reilly Smith,

Though Habs may soon await, Bruins focused on Red Wings

04.21.14 at 9:07 pm ET
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One major difference brought about with the change to the NHL‘s playoff format is the fact that in each series, teams have a 50-50 chance of knowing who they’ll face next.

Usually, it isn’t until the conference finals that teams know that they will play one of two teams should they advance, but with the divisional, non-reseeding format the league changed to for this season, that scenario is provided throughout the playoffs.

The Bruins and Red Wings both know that, should they win, they will face the winner of the series currently being played between the Canadiens and Lightning. Well, that series could be over awfully soon, as the Habs hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Bolts.

The Boston-Detroit series, on the other hand, has just begun. Tied 1-1 heading into Tuesday’s Game 3, the series has at least three games to go, and with the way it has looked thus far, could go four or five more. The Montreal series could be over as soon as Tuesday night, in which case the Canadiens would both have a lot of time to wait for their next opponent and face a potential matchup against the Bruins.

“That’€™s their series. We’€™re worried about ours right now,” Claude Julien said Monday. “Our players shouldn’€™t worry about that. As coaches, you worry about your team but you also are allowed to watch and prepare in a certain way by watching the other series as well, so I don’€™t think it’€™s a big issue.

“I know that there were times in the past where we were done and we had to watch a couple of different series because we didn’€™t know, depending on who would win, who we’€™d play, so there’€™s no doubt it’€™s a lot clearer now. We don’€™t have to look too far to find out who our next opponents could be, but at the same time, it’€™s about getting out of this one here, and right now it’€™s a 1-1 tied series that, to me, has the potential to go a long ways.”

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Read More: Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron,

Shawn Thornton on D&C: Bruins had ‘a little extra giddy-up’ in Game 2

04.21.14 at 12:51 pm ET
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Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk about the 2014 Boston Marathon and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Nine runners are participating in the Boston Marathon for the Shawn Thornton Foundation.

“They were very fired up to be running,” Thornton said. “There’€™s a reason they gave 10,000 more numbers this year. A lot of people want to be involved in this for the right reasons. I talked to them and it was just, ‘Good luck, have fun and enjoy it. And thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.’ I think they’ve raised $70,000 for my foundation.”

Thornton added: “[Running the marathon is] one of my goals when I’€™m done. I don’€™t know if my body would let me, to be completely honest, but I’€™d like to try a year or two after I’€™m retired.”

Thornton is on his way to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 of the first round of the playoffs. The Bruins are now 1-1 in the series after defeating the Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday.

“I think the first game, for whatever reason, we didn’t have that extra little hop in our step,” Thornton said. “I don’€™t know if that was from having a weekend between games. I’€™m not making excuses whatsoever. I’€™m just saying that last night we seemed to have a little extra giddy-up, I suppose.

“We got to the puck a little bit quicker. We were able to be a little more physical as a whole. We definitely played more our style of game in Game 2, and we’ve got to continue to try to play that way.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more team news, visit weei.com/bruins.

On Zdeno Chara: “He’€™s fought all the big boys coming up. He’€™s definitely not afraid to do it. He’€™s way more valuable to us on the ice. Arguably him, [Patrice Bergeron], Tuukka [Rask], and maybe [Milan Lucic] are arguably the most important players on our team. Him sitting in the box for five minutes isn’t helping us. We really would miss him out there.”

On Kevan Miller: “He’€™s a big, tough guy. He was, I think, he was fairly amped to play in the first playoff game and he definitely set the physical tone early, which was nice. That’€™s what he does. I think he’€™s underrated as a puck handler, but he’€™s definitely not underrated with how physical he can be.”

Read More: Kevan Miller, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara,

Matt Bartkowski, Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid take part in optional Bruins practice

04.21.14 at 12:47 pm ET
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The Bruins held an optional non-contact practice Monday at TD Garden before departing for Detroit to play Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series against the Red Wings.

Matt Bartkowski, who has not played in either of the first two games due to a stomach flu, did take part in the skate. After skating together earlier in the day, Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid also participated in the practice. Daniel Paille, Chad Johnson and Corey Potter were the other participants.

Paille, who hasn’t played in since April 12, has been skating since Friday. Chris Kelly has not skated since April 8.

Regarding Paille and Kelly, Julien said that both players have been out of game action long enough that they would need to take contact in practice before playing.

As for Seidenberg, who has been ahead of his recovery from ACL/MCL surgery from early January, Julien said that he is isn’t overly surprised that Seidenberg has been skating for nearly two weeks. Seidenberg was expected to miss the rest of the season and be out for 6-8 months.

“I guess according to our trainers and our doctors, they thought he’d be going through that process and at one point he’d be skating before next season,” Julien said. “So he’s on track right now, probably even a little ahead of the curve because of his conditioning and how strong he was, even before that injury. I guess he’s a well-trained individual, and those guys have a tendency — athletes have a tendency — to recover a little quicker than the normal person. He’s on that track right now.”

The Bruins won’t rule out a potential return for Seidenberg this season, though they say they’re not expecting it to happen. The fact that Seidenberg is skating more and more and taking sharper turns would suggest the possibility that he could play if the team makes a deep run. Julien said he’s not getting overly excited.

“Because nobody’s told me anything that would get me excited, that’s why,” Julien said. “I went to our trainers and asked if it was OK for him and McQuaid to skate with the rest of our team because there’s no contact, no drills. It’s the same drills they did when they went on the ice earlier. A lot of it is for encouragement reason. Just those two on the ice together for a while gets tough, but being out there with more players and do a little more, it’s exciting for them. I thought mentally, it would be a good opportunity to meet with the rest of the guys because of the type of practice we were having.”

Read More: Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Bartkowski,

Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean recap Bruins’ Game 2 win

04.21.14 at 9:16 am ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess what went right in the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings Sunday in Game 2 of their series at TD Garden. The series now shifts to Detroit for Games 3 and 4.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia

Kevan Miller returns with a vengeance and sets tone for Bruins Game 2 win

04.21.14 at 9:10 am ET
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It took exactly 72 seconds for Kevan Miller to make his presence felt in Sunday’s series-evening win over the Red Wings at TD Garden.

Just 29 seconds into his first defensive shift, Miller crushed Detroit left wing Drew Miller along the defensive boards to the right of Tuukka Rask on a dump in by the Wings.

The hit set the tempo and immediately got the Garden crowd into a game the Bruins desperately needed on Easter Sunday.

“Happy to be able to be out there so I was excited,” Miller said. “I think as a team we kind of wanted to do that, come out early, come out on our toes. It’s always good to try and get a hit to get going early.”

Of course, Miller was just happy to be on his skates himself after the last week when a virulent stomach bug made its way through the Bruins room, also hitting fellow D-man Matt Bartkowski.

“It was tough, started earlier in the week and kind of persisted,” Miller said. “I know it was the same for a number of guys. Me and Bart seemed to have it pretty bad. Just getting fluid back in me, trying to do my best there.

“It was tough. After practice is when things really went south. Just kind of unfortunate.”

The Bruins clearly missed Miller’s physical presence in a 1-0 Game 1 loss. But after the hit on Drew Miller, Miller and the Bruins were most definitely into the flow of the game. Miller didn’t let up there.
In his next shift four minutes later, Miller took out Daniel Alfredsson. Miller had two loud, energizing hits before the Bruins even had a shot on goal.

A minute and a half later, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard decided to play a gamble and throw a puck off the side boards. It backfired when Justin Florek collected the puck, spun and fired a shot under the pads of the scrambling goalie for a 1-0 Bruins lead.

“He stepped up for us huge this year with the absence of some key D-men that we lost throughout the year, and to see him step up like he did here, and how he’€™s been playing throughout the year, has been great to see,” Milan Lucic said. “He’€™s a physical guy, he’€™s a real competitor, and you saw that here tonight, like you said, especially in the first five minutes.”

“Millsy, right from the start, I thought he helped set the tone with a couple of big hits, and I think they were within the first five minutes. I mean, he looks like he’€™s about to get hit and he still hits the other way, so he reverses and he brings a lot of energy, but he still moves the puck well and he’€™s a tough guy to beat but he’€™s just ‘€“ he’€™s a very strong competitor and it was great to have him back on the lineup and set that tone early,” added Jarome Iginla.

But perhaps no one appreciated having Miller back than captain Zdeno Chara, who was busy keeping Reilly Smith’s brother out of his face. With Miller back, Chara doesn’t have to carry the whole burden of enforcing the physical style that the Bruins needed so badly in Game 2.

“It’€™s nice to have him back,” Chara said. “It probably wasn’€™t fun for him the last few days, but I thought he handled it really well and he played a strong game.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Kevan Miller, NHL
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