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Bruins keep same lineup against banged-up Lightning

01.13.15 at 11:41 am ET
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All players were present for the Bruins’€™ morning skate as they prepared for Tuesday night’€™s contest against the Lightning at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask is expected to start in goal.

The lines and defense pairings are the same as they were in Saturday’€™s win over the Flyers:

Marchand -€“ Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic – Bergeron -“ Paille
Smith -€“ Soderberg -€“ Eriksson
Kelly – Campbell – Cunningham

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller


The Lightning are coming off a 7-3 loss to the Flyers Monday night in Philadelphia in which they lost star defenseman Victory Hedman and All-Star forward Tyler Johnson to lower-body injuries. Lightning coach John Cooper told reporters after Monday’€™s game that there is a “€œgood chance”€ that neither player will be available for Tampa against the Bruins, with Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reporting Tuesday that both players are out.

Johnson leads the Lightning with 45 points this season.

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Simon Gagne will not return to Bruins

01.12.15 at 5:17 pm ET
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Simon Gagne played 23 games for the Bruins this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Simon Gagne played 23 games for the Bruins this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Bruins and Simon Gagne announced Monday that the veteran forward will not return to the team this season as he remains with his family following the death of his father.

Gagne, who signed a one-year deal with the Bruins in October and registered three goals and one assist over 23 games, took a leave of absence on Dec. 10 following his father’€™s cancer diagnosis. The Bruins have changed his status to ‘€œsuspended player,’€ a move that Gagne supported.

By suspending Gagne, the Bruins will not be charged his $600,000 cap hit.

“€œThe last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” Gagne said in a statement released by the team. “€œTo play in the NHL you have to be 100 percent mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels.

“The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time. When I decided not to return this season, I spoke to Peter and assured him that I did not want the organization or my teammates to be impacted. Together we made the decision that my status would be changed so that the team could have a full active roster. In addition, I would like to thank the fans and the NHL family for all of the support that they have given my family and I during this difficult time. It has truly meant a lot.”

It is possible that this could mark the end of the 34-year-old’s NHL career. Gagne did not play last season but turned a professional tryout agreement into a contract with Boston after the B’s struggled offensively in the first four games of the season.

Since debuting with the Flyers in 1999, Gagne has played 822 regular-season NHL games, scoring 291 goals and adding 310 assists for 601 points.

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Zdeno Chara’s hardest shot dominance ends; does he still think he has hardest shot in league?

01.12.15 at 1:16 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara‘s PCL injury cost him 19 games this season. It also weakened what is perhaps the NHL All-Star weekend’s most watchable event.

Given that Chara is not an All-Star this season, he will not participate in the hardest shot competition, which he was won five times in a row from 2007-2012. The NHL has not had an All-Star weekend the last two seasons due to the 2012-13 lockout and the 2014 Winter Olympics, so Chara is still the defending champion in the talent show.

Over the years, Chara set new records in the contest and developed a good rivalry with Nashville’s Shea Weber, who has finished second to Boston’s captain in each of the last three contests. In the last contest, Chara’s shot was clocked at 108.8 mph, the fastest on record to date.

Chara is understanding of why he won’t take part in the contest, as he noted that you need to be an All-Star first, and it would have been hard to make a case for him qualifying.

“Obviously I missed a big chunk of the first half,” he said. “It’s based on the play and performance of the players, and obviously I didn’t play most of it.”

Given that there hasn’t been one of these contests in a couple years and that Chara is now in his age 37-38 season, it would have been interesting to see if Chara’s shot still reigned supreme. Furthermore, Chara is two victories shy of tying wooden stick wonder Al MacInnis for most hardest shot crowns (seven).

Chara’s been able to step into powerful shots at points this season on goals against Buffalo on Oct. 18 and last week in Pittsburgh. Asked whether he felt his shot remains the hardest in the league, Chara thought for three full seconds before answering.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a different thing doing the shots during the game and when you have to skate into it and wind up. I assume I could be up there, but a lot of guys have hard shots.”

Chara won’t win this season, but given that a healthy Chara should be an automatic All-Star, perhaps he’ll return to the contest in the coming seasons.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I think it was exciting for fans; it was exciting for players. We always made it kind of interesting with different players and it was always a bit hyped before the contest.”

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Bruins return to practice sporting same lines

01.12.15 at 12:40 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

WILMINGTON — The Bruins began their preparations for a three-game homestand Monday after taking Sunday off.

The B’€™s sported the same lines they used in Saturday’€™s 3-1 win over the Flyers, with David Krejci still centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on Boston’€™s top line.

Pastrnak’€™s presence and Daniel Paille‘€™s recent promotion to Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line has moved Reilly Smith out of the top six, as he has taken Chris Kelly‘€™s spot on Carl Soderberg’€™s line, which in turn has left Kelly on the fourth line.

The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic – Bergeron – Paille
Smith – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Kelly – Campbell – Cunningham

All seven defensemen and both goaltenders took part in practice.

The B’€™s will host the Atlantic Division-leading Lightning on Tuesday. Tampa Bay, currently eight points ahead of the Bruins with one game in hand as of Monday morning, will play the Flyers Monday night in Philadelphia.

Bruins send Seth Griffith to Providence

01.11.15 at 1:44 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

The Bruins sent forward Seth Griffith to Providence after Saturday’€™s victory over the Flyers.

Griffith has played in 30 games this season for the Bruins, many of which have seen him play on the right wing of David Krejci‘€™s line. With David Pastrnak currently serving in that role and the rest of Boston’€™s forwards healthy, he was a healthy scratch on Saturday for the second straight game.

Pastrnak, who has played seven NHL games, can play two more without accruing an NHL season on his contract. If he plays 10 games, the first year of his three-year entry level pact will be burned. If Pastrnak performs like he did Saturday, when he netted the first two goals of his NHL career, it would appear a good bet that he’€™ll stick with the B’€™s.

Jordan Caron is now the Bruins’€™ 13th forward with Griffith in Providence.

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Patrice Bergeron named to All-Star Game

01.11.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron was named to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on Saturday, making him the Bruins’€™ lone representative in this month’€™s exhibition.

The selection is the first of Bergeron’€™s career. He leads the Bruins with 31 points and 21 assists.

Each team needed at least one representative for the contest. With Zdeno Chara not making the team, he will be unable to defend his title in the Hardest Shot competition, which he last won in 2012.

There has not been an All-Star Game in either of the last two seasons due to the lockout in 2013 and Olympics in 2014.

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David Pastrnak scores first two NHL goals as Bruins win third straight

01.10.15 at 3:35 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak scored the first two goals of his NHL career as the Bruins beat the Flyers Saturday in Philadelphia, 3-1 (box), to give them their third three-game winning streak of the season.

Pastrnak, playing in his second straight game since rejoining the Bruins this week, picked up his first goal by jamming in a rebound of a Torey Krug shot during a first-period power play. Krug’€™s bid came as a result of some slick passing down low by Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. The goal came against Ray Emery, who spelled Steve Mason after Philadelphia’€™s starter left due to injury after just 7:07.

The Bruins turned in a quiet second period in which they landed only four shots on goal, but Pastrnak turned in one of the period’€™s few bright spots by out battling Luke Schenn behind the net to prolong a lengthy stay in the Philadelphia zone for the Bruins.

The highlight of Pastrnak’€™s day undoubtedly nearly five minutes into the third period, when he took a pass from Adam McQuaid in the neutral zone, skated it into the Philadelphia zone and left a drop-pass for David Krejci before sliding across the net, receiving a perfectly placed pass from Krejci and firing it in for his second goal of the day.

Pastnrak has now played seven NHL games. Once he plays his 10th this season, the first of three years will be burned off his entry level contract.

Chris Kelly made it 3-0 at 9:51 of the third with a shorthanded goal scored on a 2-on-1 with Loui Eriksson, who returned to Boston’€™s lineup after missing Thursday’€™s game with a right hand/wrist injury. Kelly’€™s goal was his fifth of the season and his 11th point (three goals, eight assists) in his last 13 games.

Kelly also drew the Jakub Voracek interference penalty in the first period that led to the power play on which Pastrnak scored. The game was the second straight in which Kelly drew a penalty that led to a power play goal for the Bruins, as Jaromir Jagr’€™s hooking penalty against him led to a Milan Lucic goal on the man advantage Thursday.

Tuukka Rask‘€™s shutout bid was broken up with 5:47 to play wen Claude Giroux fired a snapshot through traffic during a Flyers power play that came as a result of McQuaid clearing the puck over the glass from the defensive zone. The Flyers had six power plays on the day.

Pastrnak could have had a hat trick with Emery pulled in a two-goal game late, but he held the puck too long, shooting it in after the final horn sounded.

The victory improved the Bruins to 22-15-6. Including Boston’€™s disappointing run of overtime and shootout losses, the Bruins have now picked up points in seven straight games.

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