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Bruins set to host Canadiens

01.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will be in net Thursday night against the Canadiens, as he was the first goaltender off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate. He will face Peter Budaj, who gets the start for the Habs. Montreal last played Tuesday, with Carey Price making his eighth consecutive start.

It will be just the second meeting between the teams this season, with the Habs taking a 2-1 win Dec. 5 in Montreal.

The Bruins have been hot of late, going 6-1-1 over their last eight contests and scoring six goals in three straight (3-0-0), while the Canadiens are slumping. Montreal’s win Tuesday over the Hurricanes stopped a four-game skid, and the Habs currently stand fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. By comparison, the Habs, who have played 53 games to Boston’s 52, are 10 points behind the B’s (Boston has 71 points to Montreal’s 61).

Adam McQuaid did not take part in the morning skate as he remains out with a leg injury. Chris Kelly took line rushes with the fourth line, which is where he played for the first two periods of Tuesday’s win over the Panthers.

The anticipated lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Paille – Soderberg – Eriksson
Campbell – Kelly – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Report: Bruins in mix for outdoor game next season

01.29.14 at 11:37 am ET
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Bruins are among the teams in the mix for an outdoor game next season.

The Bruins hosted the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, defeating the Flyers in overtime. Dreger is reporting that there will be four outdoor games next season, which will be a drop-off from this season’s six.

 

 

Tim Thomas defends role in altercation with Carl Soderberg

01.28.14 at 11:04 pm ET
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Things hadn’t gone great for Tim Thomas after he had allowed six goals in what would eventually be a 6-2 Bruins win Tuesday, and they got worse when he went after Bruins forward Carl Soderberg with 3.4 seconds left over a play and could put himself in Brendan Shanahan‘s phonebook.

Soderberg was going for a rebound in front of the net his stick appeared to make contact with Thomas’ mask. Thomas didn’t like it and struck Soderberg in the head with the paddle of his stick.

“Soderberg, the play before that he did quite a hard jab and then all of the sudden the puck is up in the air, you’€™re catching it, and his stick is in my throat,” Thomas said after the game. “With less than a minute left in a game and they’€™re up by four goals, 6-2, I took exception to that.”

The idea that a player shouldn’t go for a rebound late in a blowout is preposterous, especially coming from as hard a worker as Tim Thomas. There’s no unwritten rule about players letting up in already decided games, just like there’s no unwritten rule about batter striking out in the top of the ninth inning when their team is winning.

Told of Thomas’ suggestion that there was something wrong with playing until the final whistle, Soderberg found the logic rather silly.

“We can’t stop playing just because the game has like 30 seconds left,” Soderberg said. “We have to try to score the whole way.”

Thomas has never been suspended in his career, but Tuesday’s whack at Soderberg’s head is a strong candidate to be his first.

Claude Julien agreed with Soderberg, taking no issue with the player going to the net as he usually does.

“Well Carl does that even in practice,” Julien said. “I’m not going to say he’s reckless, but he has no fear. It’s great to see a guy like that just go in there and get his nose dirty. It doesn’t matter what time of game; you tell your players to play until the final whistle, and that’s what he does.”

Soderberg said that Thomas hit him in the ear but that he was OK. He disagreed with Thomas’ assertion that he put his stick in Thomas’ throat.

“Oh, not really,” Soderberg countered. “I was just going for a rebound.”

Tuesday’s game was the first Thomas had played against the Bruins in Boston. The first question asked to him in a heavily attended postgame media scrum was whether he’d had fun in his return to the Garden.

“Well, no,” Thomas said. “I think I might’ve enjoyed myself watching the State of the Union more. No, probably not.”

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Bruins score 6 goals on Tim Thomas in rout of Panthers

01.28.14 at 9:38 pm ET
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Tim Thomas‘ first start back at TD Garden didn’t go like a lot of his previous ones, as he allowed six goals in a 6-2 win over the Panthers Tuesday night.

Things got heated late in the game, as Thomas hit Carl Soderberg in the head with his stick with 3.4 seconds remaining in the game after Soderberg went for a rebound up high. Thomas was assessed a high-sticking minor.

Milan Lucic had a pair of goals for the Bruins, who are 6-1-1 over their last eight games. The game was the third straight in which the B’s have scored three goals.

Lucic got the Bruins on the board by burying the rebound of a Jarome Iginla shot at 7:41 of the first. Later in the period, Zdeno Chara fired a shot from the point with Lucic battling in front. Thomas tried to nab the puck with his glove, but it bounced off a body and then Thomas’ head before bouncing into the net. Though Lucic was initially credited with the goal, it was changed to Chara’s.

Lucic didn’t have to wait long to get back to 15 goals on the season, as he scored 1:46 into the second period to make it 3-0. Reilly Smith built the lead further with a power-play goal off a feed from Carl Soderberg.

Former Bruin Brad Boyes broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout bid with 33 seconds left in the second period. Dmitry Kulikov made it 4-2 in the third period with a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the point that beat Rask. The goal was the Panthers’ first power-play goal of 2014.

Shawn Thornton made it 5-2 with some impressive work out of the corner and a backhand bid that beat Thomas top-shelf. The goal was Thornton’s fourth goal of the season.

Chris Kelly made his return to the lineup and played the first two periods on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Thornton while Soderberg continued to center Daniel Paille and Loui Eriksson on the third line. Campbell and Kelly switched lines for the third period.

The Bruins will host the Canadiens at TD Garden Thursday in the teams’ second meeting of the season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Soderberg has fed Smith for a back-door power-play goal five times this season. It had been a while since the pair had connected for such a play, as the last one prior to Tuesday was on Dec. 23 in Nashville.

– Though 15 is a more round number, the Bruins now have five players with at least 14 goals (Smith, Brad Marchand, Iginla, Patrice Bergeron, Lucic) this season and six 13-goal-scorers including Chara. With 13 goals, Chara is tied with Shea Weber for the NHL lead in goals among defensemen.

– The Bruins had only scored six goals in a game once prior to this three-game stretch, and now they’ve done it three times in a row. The B’s have combined for 18 goals beginning with Saturday’s trouncing of the Flyers.

– Smith now has the team lead in goals all to himself with 18 on the season. With his goal Tuesday, he improved his current point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists for eight points). Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both saw their point streaks end at six games.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Tuesday’s game was the first game since Jan. 11 (seven games) that the Bruins did not score a goal with the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith trio on the ice. Smith’s goal came on the power play.

– Some fans apparently weren’t listening when it was announced the Bruins’ second goal had been credited to Chara and not Lucic. When Lucic scored early in the second, a few fans (under 10) threw their hats onto the ice for Lucic’s second goal of the game. Whoops.

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Bruins still taking it ‘day by day’ with injured Adam McQuaid

01.28.14 at 8:02 pm ET
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Claude Julien didn’t have much of an update on defenseman Adam McQuaid Tuesday evening, reiterating that the defenseman, who the team has classified as day-to-day with a leg injury, isn’t ready to return to the lineup.

McQuaid did not travel with the team to Philadelphia or New York for the team’s recent two-game road trip and has not played since leaving the Jan. 19 game against the Blackhawks.

“I haven’€™t paid much attention to that because he is not ready to play yet,” Julien said Tuesday. “Whether that’€™s some news for you or not, he’€™s just not ready yet. We’€™re just taking it day by day and waiting for the medical staff to say we can take that next step with him.”

McQuaid has not been skating, according to Julien, but the coach said he is at least doing some activity.

“I think he’€™s working out,” Julien said. “Again, when guys are injured they are kind of out of my control until they tell me they’€™re ready. So I think he has been working out but I don’€™t know to what extent.”

With McQuaid out, Kevan Miller remains in the lineup for the Bruins.

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Bruins send Ryan Spooner, Zach Trotman to Providence

01.28.14 at 3:47 pm ET
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The Bruins sent center Ryan Spooner and defenseman Zach Trotman to Providence Tuesday.

Spooner’s demotion comes with Chris Kelly being activated from injured reserve as he is set to return from a broken fibula suffered on Dec. 7. Spooner had been centering the third line in Kelly’s place up until the past two games. Carl Soderberg centered the third line Saturday with Spooner out with the flu and stayed there as the Bruins made Spooner a healthy scratch Monday.

In 22 games for the Bruins this season, Spooner has no goals and 11 assists for 11 points. He has five goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 21 games for Providence this season.

The Bruins chose Spooner with the 45th overall pick in the 2010 draft. In his first professional season, Spooner put up 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points in 59 games for Providence last season. He had an encouraging training camp, but the lack of center jobs available and the team’s intentions of keeping him at center forced him back to Providence.

Spooner said in Dallas this month that he hoped to stay in Boston once Kelly returned, even if it meant he wouldn’t be playing.

‘€œI think for me right now, being here and kind of being in the environment and just watching some of the centermen here would be good for me,” Spooner said, “but I’m not really focused on that right now.’€

Trotman was recalled last week but did not play during his two-game recall.

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

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Chris Kelly activated, expected to make return from injury vs. Panthers

01.28.14 at 3:04 pm ET
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Chris Kelly has been activated from injured reserve and is expected to return to the Bruins’ lineup Tuesday night against the Panthers. Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in New York Monday that the B’s expected him to play the second game of the team’s back-to-back.

Kelly has been out since Dec. 7 with a broken fibula. The recovery was a frustrating one for Kelly, who beat his anticipated recovery time last season when he came back from a broken tibia in a little less than a month.

The Bruins’ third line center and assistant captain had been having a fine season prior to suffering his injury on a slash from Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis. He had three goals and four assists for seven points and a minus-1 rating, but had centered a trio with Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith that had performed well for a third line.

Since Kelly’s injury, Smith has seized the second-line right wing job, with Loui Eriksson playing on the third line since his return from his second concussion of the season. As such, Kelly can be expected to center Soderberg and Eriksson. Soderberg had centered the third line the last two games with Daniel Paille playing the left wing, but Kelly’s return will likely move Soderberg back to the wing. Ryan Spooner was a healthy scratch Monday and will likely remain one with Kelly’s return.

With Kelly back, Paille will likely move back to the fourth line, which would force Jordan Caron out of the lineup. Anticipated lines with Kelly in would look like this:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith

Soderberg – Kelly – Eriksson

Paille – Campbell – Thornton

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

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