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Bruins at Flyers preview

12.01.10 at 5:41 pm ET
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The Bruins are in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers for the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last May.

The team did not have a full morning skate, with just rehabbing players and a healthy scratch — Marc Savard, Marco Sturm and Daniel Paille — as well as Tuukka Rask, taking the ice. With Rask skating this morning, it is anticipated that Tim Thomas will start for the B’s.

WHERE IT’S AT

The Flyers are 9-4-1 at home this season, though they’re 1-1-1 in their last three games in Philadelphia.

The Bruins, on the other hand, continue to be a far better road team than they are a home team. Their away record stands at 8-3-0 compared to their 4-5-2 mark in home games. Still, the Bruins are slumping, and it’s hit them no matter where they’ve been playing. They’ve dropped two of their last three games away from TD Garden, the most recent of which was a 4-1 pounding from the Thrashers in Atlanta on Sunday.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

– It’s almost time to send a search party out for Nathan Horton. The sharpshooting winger has gone seven games without a goal and is a minus-2 with zero points over his last five contests.

– Wednesday marks the 100th game of James van Riemsdyk‘s career. The 21-year-old forward spent two years at UNH before making the jump to the NHL last season. The former second overall pick has three goals in his last four games, which is a good sign for the Flyers when considering his benching last month. Of course, the three goals are his only three of the season. In 21 games this season, JVR has three goals and seven assists for 10 points.

– The Flyers have scored on just two of their last 34 power plays. The B’s penalty kill has been slumping, allowing four power play goals in their opponent’s last six opportunities. The majority of the damage was done last Friday, of course, when Carolina went 3-for-3.

– Thomas still leads the league in save percentage (.951) and goals against average (1.56) and is tied with Carey Price for the NHL lead with four shutouts. He is coming off what is one of his worst starts of the season statistically, though much like Rask could have in the season-opener, he can blame the numbers (three goals on 21 shots) on bad bounces and Daniel Paille.

STORYLINES GOING IN

– Storylines in this game? Hard to think of any’€¦ When the B’s last left Philadelphia, they had let the Flyers tie the series at three games apiece after leading it, 3-0. The Flyers took Game 7 in Boston, 4-3, to win the series and shock the NHL.

– It’s been bad for the Bruins of late. They’re 5-6-2 in their last 13 games, so what better motivation to turn things around than facing the team that embarrassed them last May?

Adam McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season, but first since the trade of Matt Hunwick. With Hunwick now gone, the physical right-handed-shooting blueliner finally has a full-time job after going back and forth between dressing and sitting as a healthy scratch.

Read More: James Van Riemsdyk, Nathan Horton, Tim Thomas,

Bruins consider Marc Savard day-to-day

12.01.10 at 2:33 pm ET
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Bruins coach told reporters in Philadelphia that the status of forwards Marc Savard and Marco Sturm is the “same old,” though in speaking about Savard revealed that the center is close to a return.

“He’s become almost a day-to-day situation with different reasons for holding him back. I think that decision will hopefully come sooner [rather] than later,” Julien said. “We’re looking forward to having him in our lineup, and he’s looking better every day.”

Savard will not play on Wednesday against the Flyers, though the possibility exists that he could play Thursday at home vs. the Lightning or in Toronto on Saturday night.

Asked about the possibility of returning by Saturday, Savard on Tuesday was hopeful that such a scenario would play out.

‘€œThat would be a lot of fun,” Savard said. “Hopefully I can get in by then.’€

Savard has not played a game this season, as he was kept out of training camp with post-concussion symptoms.

Read More: Marc Savard,

Mike Milbury on D&H: Milan Lucic ‘can’t lose that edge’

12.01.10 at 1:05 pm ET
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NESN, NBC and Hockey Night in Canada NHL analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, including Milbury talking about whether he would consider a return to coaching, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

With the Bruins struggling, Milbury was asked what the team needs to do to turn things around.

“I haven’t seen the intense forecheck, except when they get desperate,” he said. “That’s not a good thing. You want to get on the forecheck. You want to get in and create some havoc. And when you’re doing that, that means physical play. And if you’ve been watching the Bruins for the last five or six games, you’re not seeing a ton of that. And I’m not talking about fighting. I’m talking about in-fast, pressure forechecking, intimidating not only with your bodychecking, but with your speed and intensity to cut down the time the defenseman has to move the puck. They’re sort of blah. ‘€¦ The Bruins have to play at a far higher pace to be successful.”

Asked if Zdeno Chara needs to set the tone for the team, Milbury said he’d first like to see players such as Milan Lucic provide more of a physical presence.

“I think Lucic has to be more involved physically,” he said. “And I’m not talking about fighting from him. The 10 goals are well and good. But harken back to a couple of years ago when this kid made a mark on this city and this franchise. It was with his purposeful forechecking. It was like nonstop, Terry O’Reilly-type forechecking. I haven’t seen that. I know he’s going to mature and settle in and use his energy more efficiently and conservatively. But you can’t lose that edge. And right now, I don’t think he’s got it.

“Chara can take care of it in his own zone, and I think he needs to do a little bit better job of being on the edge and nasty in order to make sure people on his team see that, feel it, feel the intensity,” Milbury added. “That’s what’s missing. Those are two key players in the scheme of things. But you need it from [Brad] Marchand. You need it from [Gregory] Campbell. You need it from guys that can get there and pressure defensemen, and that’s their role. They’re not expected to be huge offensive contributors, but they set the tone. They set the passion level for this team.”

Milbury noted the Bruins’ lack of speed is an issue as well.

“I think they need quickness. I think they need some speed,” he said. “I don’t want to go back to the [Phil] Kessel deal in a big way, but they miss his speed, they miss his penetrating speed off the wing. ‘€¦ It’s the kind of speed that gets defensemen second-guessing themselves, thinking about, ‘Jeez, where is this guy? Where’s he going to go?’ ”

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Read More: Matt Hunwick, Mike Milbury, Milan Lucic, Pat Burns

Adam McQuaid ready to stick in the Bruins’ lineup for good

11.30.10 at 6:17 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid has gotten plenty of attention this season, but each time he’s been in the spotlight, it seems it’s been because of another player. That’s generally the life of a healthy scratch, but it’s a life McQuaid no longer leads.

When Johnny Boychuk‘s forearm ended up being fractured following a slash he took from Brandon Dubinsky on Oct. 23 against the Rangers, McQuaid, who had spent the first six games of the season in a suit, got the call. He’s received attention lately for post-practice battle drills with Marc Savard, something the team hopes will get the center ready for the physical aspect of the game. Now, the questions about McQuaid regard how he can step in and replace Matt Hunwick, who the team traded to Colorado on Monday in a team to clear cap space.

“It’s an opportunity. I’m not going to try and change too much,” McQuaid. “I’m obviously not going to step in and replace what [Hunwick] did. I’ll just play my own game, and hopefully secure a spot.”

Indeed, McQuaid will not replace what Hunwick brought to the table, as speed and puck-moving are not McQuaid’s forte. Instead, McQuaid’s safe and bruising style (and right-handed shot) will have to suffice. The “secure a spot” talk doesn’t really apply to McQuaid right away at least, as the move to send Hunwick out was also a vote of confidence for McQuaid from the Bruins. This isn’t a quick fix or a temporary replacement while a guy is hurt — McQuaid is now part of the six, something he hasn’t been able to say without somebody being injured.

“It can be mentally tough when you’re in and out of the lineup, and from game to game not sure if you’re going to play,” McQuaid said. “I think if anything, it’s made me mentally tougher. Being here all year and practicing, it gives me the opportunity to be up here at this level.”

In 10 games this season, McQuaid has an assist and an even rating to go along with 21 penalty minutes. His teammates know that there’s some give and take involved with swapping McQuaid in for Hunwick, but they’re excited to see what he can do with a job that is definitely his own.

“It gives us another right-handed shot. Hunwick’s a good skater, and it gives an opportunity for Adam to step in and do a good job,” Boychuk said.

McQuaid played in 19 games last year, registering one goal and 21 penalty minutes before adding six more penalty minutes in nine playoff games. A lower-body injury forced him out of Game 3 against the Flyers and kept him out for the rest of the playoffs.

Judging on what he’s seen from McQuaid since his NHL debut last season, Claude Julien has seen improvement in some areas, but none more than in the 24-year-old’s confidence.

“He was basically playing very safe last year. He didn’t want to make mistakes, and I think this year, he’s got more confidence,” Julien said. “That confidence is coming from a little bit more experience. That’s probably what’s changed the most about his game.”

McQuaid will play his 11th game of the season when the Bruins take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Matt Hunwick,

Bruins adjusting to life without Matt Hunwick

11.30.10 at 2:18 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Johnny Boychuk doesn’t find it polite to talk on the phone during dinner, so when he was out to dinner with Milan Lucic on Monday, he stood a good chance of being out of the loop when the team traded defenseman Matt Hunwick.

Yet thanks to text messaging, and his mother, the blueliner found out right after the trade broke.

“She messaged me or something like that. She’s always on that stuff,” Boyhcuk said. “It was before [we] even knew, so it was right away. Kind of weird.

When Lucic found out, it meant losing a teammate he’s known since he entered the organization as a second-round draft pick in 2006.

“I’ve known him from the very first development camp back then, and I’ve been able to kind of grow with him in this organization. He’s done well for himself. He’s a good player and I wish him all the best in Colorado.”

With Hunwick the defensive core will see some shaking up, as Adam McQuaid, who has been a healthy scratch since the return of Boychuk from his forearm injury, will return to the lineup. It also means the team will have to respond to the ugly stretch (5-6-2) they find themselves in without a guy who’s been there for them.

“It’s always tough to see one of your teammates go, especially a guy like Matt. He was such a great teammate, such a great guy in the locker room. We all wish him the best, but it’s part of the business. We realize the importance of this coming week. We haven’t performed as well as we should, so it’s going to be a big week. We have to respond somehow and get better results. ”

The coach, meanwhile, isn’t happy to see his top skating blueliner go, but like the rest of the team, understands that it was something that had to be done for the sake of being able to activate Marc Savard.

‘€œIt was hard to let a guy go like that because he was our best skater back there, probably the guy that you leaned on the most to bring the puck up the ice,” Julien said. “‘€¦ We had to make some room. Those are things that are done for the situation of liberating some cap space.’€

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick, Milan Lucic,

Marc Savard hopes to return by Saturday

11.30.10 at 1:48 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins center Marc Savard reiterated on Tuesday that he will not be playing when the B’s take on the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday. He noted that though he’s not ready to get back into games just yet, he isn’t feeling particularly behind in any areas.

“I feel like I’m skating good, and battling with a 6-foot-5 guy [Adam McQuaid] every day, that’s helped out. I’m feeling good in all the areas. Still, the game’s going to be a different thing. I’m not going to have miracles in the first game, which I hope maybe I do. It’s going to be a little bit of time, but hopefully I can contribute every night.”

Asked about Saturday night’s game, Savard said, “That would be a lot of fun. Hopefully I can get in by then.”

Savard has been out all season with post-concussion symptoms.

Read More: Marc Savard,

Former Boston University defenseman Colby Cohen welcomes trade to Bruins

11.29.10 at 8:20 pm ET
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Bostonians, meet your not-so-new defenseman. After three years of playing under Jack Parker at Boston University, Colby Cohen was just a couple of months into his first season of professional hockey in the Avalanche organization before he was traded to the Bruins on Monday in exchange for Matt Hunwick.

Cohen has one assist in 14 games in the AHL this season and didn’t register a point in his three-game stint with the Avalanche. After playing for the Lake Erie Monsters will now suit up as a Providence Bruin. Though he’ll be an hour south of Boston for the time being, the Pennsylvania native is glad to return the region in which he played his college puck.

“I’€™m sort of lost for words right now because there’€™s not a better place that it’€™s going to happen,” Cohen told a pool reporter upon hearing of the move. “I loved BU. I never realized how much I loved it before I left, and I miss Boston in the worst way. If there was a city to be back in, that’€™s the city. So hopefully I’€™m hoping to be in Providence and play well and help the team win there and hopefully just wait for a call up to the Bruins. But I’€™ve seen quite a few Bruins games and I’€™ve played in the Garden quite a few times, and I mean, I miss Boston in the worst way.”

Cohen said he spoke to Terriers associate coach Mike Bavis after the trade and that Bavis was “pumped.” As for what the Bruins are getting in Cohen — the second BU defenseman they’ve traded for since the summer (David Warsofsky) — the 21-year-old hopes he can eventually provide the B’s with what they lost in Hunwick.

“I think that I’€™m like a two-way guy. I think that I’€™ve had a lot of success in my career as an offensive defenseman,” he said. “Obviously, I haven’€™t put up any points this year in Lake Erie or when I was in Colorado for a few games, but I just try to be a puck moving defenseman and make it easy on the forwards to get up the ice, and I try to join the play when I can and I try to use my shot as much as I can.”

Read More: Colby Cohen, Hunwick trade, Matt Hunwick,
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