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Practice notes: Kessel and Ryder ready to go

Phil Kessel [1], who missed six games sandwiched around the NHL [2] All-Star break with mono, and Michael Ryder [3], who missed Tuesday night’s game with flu-like symptoms, are both expected back in the Boston lineup tonight when the B’s take on the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils [4] at the TD Banknorth Garden [5]. Kessel should be taking his customary right wing spot next to Milan Lucic [6] and Marc Savard [7] on Boston’s top line, and Ryder should slot in with David Krejci [8] and Blake Wheeler [9].

“It’s nice to see our lineup getting closer to what it should look like,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien [10]. “I thought our guys have handled adversity fairly well. We always found ways to win and that’s what you hope good teams do.”

–Jack Edwards graciously thanked Pucks with Haggs for capturing his moment of extreme high-fiving and celebration from Tuesday night’s game [11] and aptly described his position on the ground after falling as “lying on his back like a dead dog in Winnipeg.” Good times.

–Julien said that he’ll go with Tim Thomas [12] tonight, but wouldn’t commit to any possible “Tuukka Time” this weekend with the New York Rangers [13] on Saturday afternoon and another matinee in Montreal against the Montreal Canadiens [14] on Super Bowl [15] Sunday afternoon.

Manny Fernandez [16] is still dealing with a balky back, and there’s no word whether he’ll be ready to jump in between the pipes by this weekend.

“We’ll deal with this game tonight and Timmy is going to be in net obviously and certainly we have to at some point acknowledge (who will play),” said Julien. “But to be honest I don’t get that far ahead of myself. I’ll make those decisions as we move on.”