Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was the only Bruin missing from morning skate Thursday, and he’ll miss his first game of the season when the B’s host the Capitals Thursday night at TD Garden.
Seidenberg will be kept out of the lineup with an infected cut. The blueliner suffered the cut on his left leg Saturday against the Kings, and after getting it stitched up played Sunday and Tuesday prior to it becoming infected.
“In LA, he suffered a cut on his leg, and they stitched it up and everything was good, but a little infection has gotten into it now, so he’s on antibiotics and just to play it safe, we’re going to keep him out,” coach Claude Julien explained. “It’s just day-to-day, it’s not long-term. It’s just to take care of that.”
Joe Corvo, who has been a healthy scratch for the last six games, will be inserted into the lineup in place of Seidenberg. With Seidenberg not playing for the first time this season, centers Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly will remain the only two Bruins to play in each contest.
Julien added that the team will “probably” go with the same forwards as they have the last two games, meaning Daniel Paille is likely to remain a healthy scratch.
WILMINGTON — Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask told ESPNBoston and other outlets Wednesday that his recovery from an abdominal strain/groin strain is going well and that he hopes to be ready for the postseason.
“I want to be back as soon as possible,” Rask said. “The playoffs was, and is, the goal.”
Rask said that he hopes to return to the ice at some point next week, with him hopefully being ready for game action following the soon after. The B’s will play their last game of the regular season next Saturday against the Sabres.
“It’s tough to speculate,” Rask said. “You never know. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll hit the ice next week if everything goes good and go from there.”
Rask leads the Bruins with a 2.05 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He had an 11-8-3 record with three shutouts in 23 games before suffering his injury against the Islanders on March 3.
If Rask is not ready in time for the first round of the playoffs, the B’s would likely go with Providence starter Anton Khudobin as the backup to Tim Thomas. The Bruins signed veteran goaltender Marty Turco following the injury to Rask, but Turco would not be eligible for postseason play because he was signed after the trade deadline.
Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon to discuss the team’s recent winning ways, the return of Rich Peverley and the progression of Tim Thomas.
Marchand and the Bruins are riding a three-game win streak and are winners of five of their last six games. Two of those wins came on a three-game West Coast road trip in which the team beat the Kings and Ducks and lost to the Sharks. Marchand said that the swing of games in California helped to galvanize the Bruins.
“Anytime you go on a road trip and play the way we did, it’s good for your team,” Marchand said. “We definitely built a lot of momentum when you can go into other teams’ buildings and win a couple of games on a long road trip like that. It’s great for us and we can definitely build a lot of momentum off of that.”
With the team having rebounded and returned to playing some of its best hockey, Marchand said that the Bruins are now focused on maintaining that form heading into the playoffs.
“We know that this is the time where you want to play your best hockey,” Marchand said. “We just talked about how we, if we even want to make the playoffs, have to buckle down and start playing well. If you don’t play good hockey come playoff time, you usually get out pretty quickly.
“We don’t want to be in that situation. We just have to make sure to put our best effort on the ice every night.”
With Peverley now back from injury, Marchand said that the team’s newest addition has been an immediate help for the Bruins.
“It balances the lines a little more, it fills holes in different parts of the lineup,” Marchand said. “When you get a guy like Peverley back, he’s a very, very strong player and played very well for our team last year. We missed him and we’re very happy to have him back.”
When asked about Thomas and if his improved play has been a factor in the Bruins’ recent success, Marchand said that while Thomas was never actually playing poorly, his play the last several games has been instrumental to the team’s hot streak.
“During the season, you go through ups and downs, every player does,” Marchand said. “Even if you want to call it down, by no means was it his fault. As a team, as a whole, we weren’t playing very well.
“We’ve played great now for the last few games and he’s been on the ball. It definitely makes it a lot easier for us out there when he’s playing the way he is right now.”
WILMINGTON — Fresh off their fourth game in six nights, the Bruins held an optional practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena to prepare for yet another four in six stretch.
Healthy scratches Daniel Paille, Mike Mottau, Joe Corvo and Torey Krug were joined by Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Benoit Pouliot, Greg Zanon and Marty Turco. Coaches Bob Essensa, Doug Houda and Doug Jarvis were on the ice while Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli watched from above.
Julien had said the team was tired after Tuesday’s win over the Lightning, due in large part to their busy schedule and having to travel back from California this week. As a result, an optional skate was in everyone’s best interest.
“Some of those guys are logging big minutes here, and I think it’s just about managing it,” he said Wednesday. “Again, we’ve got four [games] in six [days] coming up, so we need to get some rest somewhere along the way.”
With a busy schedule the rest of the way (six games in the next 10 days), Julien said it’s likely that optional practices will be more frequent.
“I think there’s a good chance some of it’s going to be like that,” he said. “We’ve talked about [finding ways to stay rested] since the start of the year, and we have to find some times where we can get some of our rest. When you come back from a trip like we did, Monday wasn’t a day off. Monday was a travel day, so today was about giving some of those guys some recuperation time, and hopefully get set for the stretch run here.”
February 27 was a day of liberation for Brian Rolston.
He was traded from the hapless New York Islanders with no chance of making the playoffs back to the Bruins, who are still among the favorites to reach another Stanley Cup final.
Rolston has certainly been inspired.
In his current seven-game scoring streak, he has three goals and nine assists, already matching his productivity in 49 games with the Islanders this season. The Bruins have won three in a row for the first time in over 40 games.
“Just been given a great opportunity, the coaches have shown a lot of confidence in me in certain situations that gives me confidence as a player, and obviously playing with two great players helps out a lot as well,” Rolston said after Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Tampa Bay. “I think we just have good chemistry together, that’s about it. I’ve produced over my career and you know whatever happened in Long Island happened in Long Island and it’s past that now.”
What happened on Long Island was four goals and five assists in 49 games for the team that has served as the perennial doormat of the Eastern Conference for the last decade.
Rolston has tasted success from the Stanley Cup before, winning it all with the 1995 New Jersey Devils. He sees these Bruins picking up momentum at just the right time.
“Well, you know obviously we had two real tough games on the road that we won, those were huge games for us,” Rolston said. “Just to get confidence, when you win you get confidence. This team is so good structurally that it’s just a matter of time before you do put it together, but this is a good time to put it together for sure and it’s a good team in here, great team.”
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is notoriously humble and soft spoken about his own accomplishments.
That’s why it’s often a good idea to listen to his teammates and coach when trying to gauge what impact he’s had on the Bruins, even a teammate like Brian Rolston who hasn’t shared a dressing room with him for that long.
Asked what he’s learned about Chara since coming back to Boston in a deadline trade with the Islanders, Rolston was honest enough.
“Probably nothing,” Rolston said. “He’s so hard to play against; he’s a tremendous leader. Obviously he does that by example, but he’s the toughest guy to play against in the league – bar none. If you were to pull the forwards on every team they would say the same thing and coming in on a nightly basis knowing that you have to face him – it’s a tough task.”
Rolston set up the game-winner of Tuesday’s 5-2 triumph over Tampa Bay when he tried a wraparound midway through the third, only to have the puck flutter its way out to a wide open Benoit Pouliot. But the heroics of Rolston and Pouliot don’t happen without Chara, who has he did all night, brought the puck in deep into the offensive zone to apply more pressure on a team known for its stingy defense.
The secondary assist was Chara’s third of the night, a night on which Chara matched a career-high with three helpers and was honored before the game for becoming the latest and greatest member of the NHL’s 1000-game club.
“Yeah, those were big,” Rolston added. “Z had a great game, another great game for us. It’s huge, it’s huge – if you can get the defensemen helping out, and especially against on team like that that collapses down all the time. It’s difficult to get anything going down low so it’s great to have defensemen contributing offensively.”
That’s exactly what Chara did when he took the puck midway through the first at the Tampa Bay blue line and charged around the zone like Wayne Gretzky, eventually running at the net, creating a scoring chance for Shawn Thornton when Dwayne Roloson left a juicy rebound.
“Basically, I get a puck on the blueline, I was trying to ride the blueline and then just kind of opened up and I really decided to challenge that seam and once I got a little bit more room, I was kind of deciding between a shot and pass,” Chara explained. “But again, everything was happened and I decided to take it to the net and we’ve always been taught when you do those things, good things happen and they did. We scored on the rebound, and it ended up being a good play.” (more…)
Tuesday night was all about “3″ at TD Garden Tuesday night. No. 33, Zdeno Chara, notched three assists for the third time in his career to help lead the Bruins to their third straight victory. The B’s defeated the Lightning, 5-2.
The Bruins received scoring from Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley to give them three wins in a row for the first time since Dec. 19-28, a span of 41 games.
Steven Stamkos had both of Tampa’s goals to give the 22-year-old a league-leading 55 tallies on the season. Tim Thomas made his return to the net after having Sunday off, with the reigning Vezina winner facing only 18 shots and making 16 saves. Dwayne Roloson stopped 33 of 27 shots.
The Bruins will be back in action Thursday against the Capitals.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Thornton’s goal was his first in 35 games. His last goal prior to it was a memorable one, as he last scored when he beat Ondrej Pavelec on a penalty shot against the Jets on Jan. 10.
- In fact, Thornton’s line with Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron had a strong showing for the B’s. Thornton broke up a play at the blue line in the Bruins’ zone to give himself a breakaway before being stopped by Roloson in the first period, while Campbell was denied on multiple bids in the second period. Campbell was initially credited with the secondary helper on Thornton’s goal but a scoring change took it away.
- Brian Rolston extended his point streak to seven games with the assist on Pouliot’s goal. Rolston has three goals and nine assists in that span, while Pouliot now has five points (three goals, two assists) over his last three games.
- Patrice Bergeron was once again stellar in the faceoff circle. The veteran center won 20 of 25 draws.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- In addition to not playing his best hockey, Tyler Seguin has been taking a lot of minor penalties of late. He took two more Tuesday, the first of which came late in the second period when the second-year player went off for tripping Steven Stamkos. At full speed and without the benefit of replays, the play looked like a slew foot, and but Seguin has to watch it even if it wasn’t. Including a third-period high-sticking penalty, Seguin has more minor penalties (six) than points (five) over his last seven games.
- Stamkos has an NHL-leading 55 goals this season, and five of those goals have come against the Bruins in four meetings. Stamkos has had two goals in each of the teams’ last two meetings, with each goal Tuesday tying the game. If it makes the B’s feel any better, Stamkos scores a lot against every other team, too.