|Matt Bartkowski back in for Bruins for Game 3, Andrej Meszaros sits vs. Red Wings||04.22.14 at 7:28 pm ET|
DETROIT — Matt Bartkowski is back in the Bruins lineup for Game 3 of the first round against the Red Wings.
Bartkowski missed the first two games of the series due to a stomach flu. His return means that Andrej Meszaros will sit after playing the first two games in Bartkowski’s place.
The forward lines are the same for the Bruins, while Joakim Andersson being in for Daniel Alfredsson is the only change to Detroit’s lineup.
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|Justin Florek could play himself into permanent job in Boston||04.22.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
DETROIT — Last year the Bruins saw one Michigan native play his way into a job during the postseason in Torey Krug. Might they be in the process of seeing another?
Well, that depends on the definition of “job.” Justin Florek has filled in for Chris Kelly admirably in the first two games of the postseason, scoring a fluke goal but also playing very well five-on-five and killing penalties. While Florek won’t be stealing Kelly’s job any time soon, it’s entirely possible that his play could make him the team’s 13th forward over Jordan Caron, if that isn’t already the case.
With both Kelly and Daniel Paille out, Florek has played in place of Kelly on Carl Soderberg‘s line, while Caron has played on Gregory Campbell‘s line in place of Paille. Though Caron was with the Bruins throughout the season and Florek spent much of the year in Providence, it would appear that Florek has become a better option to play in different roles. For what it’s worth, both Caron and Florek are restricted free agents at season’s end.
Florek, who is in his second full professional season, is just happy to be playing playoff hockey. If what he does now sets him up for more of an opportunity going forward, that’s gravy.
“I don’t think about it at all really,” Florek said of playing his way into an NHL role. “I just go out there and play my role. I just do what I can to help my team win and whatever happens happens. It’s just kind of the way I’ve approached my career the way long. I’m just going to continue to play that way.”
The Bruins brought up Florek prior to the playoffs on an emergency basis. However, the terms of that recall will not present an issue for the Bruins once Paille or Kelly is ready to return, as teams are permitted three regular recalls at the start of the postseason.
Florek, like Caron, has had to play in different roles with the B’s this season. Florek played well on the fourth line earlier in the season, picking up a goal and an assist in a three-game sting in January, and he’s also looked good on a more skilled line with Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
“I feel comfortable playing both roles. At the same time, I just go out and play my game,” Florek said. “[Regardless] of who I’m playing with, I’ve just got to play my game and not get outside of it or do too much. Playing with those guys is great. No matter what line I’m on, I feel comfortable with [them]. Hopefully I can continue to play that way.”
|X-factor? Bruins know Red Wings’ Luke Glendening well||04.22.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
DETROIT — There’s something about Luke Glendening.
At least there is for Mike Babcock, and that’s really all that matters as the Red Wings try to find a way to both quiet Boston’s scorers and create advantageous matchups for their own.
The first two games of the series saw Babcock use Glendening — an undrafted rookie fourth-line center who played three games on a tryout with the Providence Bruins two years ago — in ways that demonstrated significant trust in the player. Glendening, who was a two-year captain for Michigan and wore an ‘A’ as a sophomore, is a key member of Detroit’s penalty kill, but he also saw plenty of shifts against David Krejci‘s line in the first two games. He scored his first career playoff goal and second career NHL goal in Game 1 against the Krejci line and was later on the ice for Milan Lucic‘s goal.
If you’re surprised by how big a role he’s been given thus far, don’t be. Torey Krug, who saw plenty of him in college, isn’t.
“I’m not surprised, and we don’t even view him as [a fourth-liner],” Krug said. “He’s a good player and he shuts down opposing teams’ guys. In Game 1 he’s out there when it’s 1-0 in the last minute. I saw him in that role before and I’m not surprised that he’s in it now.”
As the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena and Babcock gets last change, he wants to see more of Glendening against Boston’s best players. Babcock wants to get his young scorers, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, away from Boston’s power forwards, as Lucic and Jarome Iginla have rendered them invisible through the first two games.
|Daniel Alfredsson out for Red Wings, Matt Bartkowski could return to Bruins for Game 3||04.22.14 at 12:30 pm ET|
DETROIT — There will be different personnel in Tuesday’s Game 3 between the Bruins and Red Wings, but not necessarily on Boston’s end.
Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson will be out of the lineup Tuesday, with Joakim Andersson filling in on Detroit’s second line with Darren Helm and Tomas Jurco. Alfredsson is believed to be dealing with a back issue, with Mike Babcock saying the veteran forward “needs another day.”
As for the Bruins, Matt Bartkowski took part in Tuesday’s morning skate and will be on the ice for warmups. Bartkowski was not made available to the media and Claude Julien was tight-lipped about his status, declining to comment on whether Andrej Meszaros would stay in the lineup once Bartkowski was healthy enough to play. Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly did not participate in morning skate.
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|After challenging regular season, Loui Eriksson off to good postseason start with Bruins||04.21.14 at 9:17 pm ET|
When the Bruins traded for Loui Eriksson, one of the most common words associated with him was “underrated.”
He’d been a 36-goal-scorer and one of the better two-way players in the game, but because of his responsible style and the market in which he’d played, the narrative was that he didn’t get the credit he deserved while playing for the Stars.
So, when Eriksson was traded to Boston in the Tyler Seguin deal, he went from being underrated to facing some lofty expectations. Eriksson struggled to find chemistry with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron early and suffered two concussions during his first regular season in Boston, and as such finished with just 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 games.
Two games into the playoffs, however, the Bruins are getting a combination of the player they saw after he returned from his first concussion — a player who was finding his way and providing a great blend of finesse and smarts in front of the net — and the player who was playing more confidently down the stretch on a line with fellow Sweden native Carl Soderberg.
Reilly Smith knows Eriksson as well as any of his teammates, as the two played together in Dallas before being sent to Boston as the two main pieces acquired by the B’s in the Seguin trade. In Sunday’s Game 2 against the Red Wings, Smith capitalized on Eriksson’s net-front work by jumping into the crease and knocking the puck into the net to give the B’s a 2-0 lead. It came on a power play that followed the expiration of the first penalty of a five-on-three, but Boston still had its five-on-three unit with Eriksson in front on the ice. That goal stood as the game-winner as the B’s went on to claim a 4-1 victory.
That wasn’t Eriksson’s only contribution. The Red Wings haven’t scored against his line and he has been a major part of a penalty kill that has limited the Red Wings to just two shots on goal — none of which have gone in — on six power plays.
|Though Habs may soon await, Bruins focused on Red Wings||04.21.14 at 9:07 pm ET|
One major difference brought about with the change to the NHL‘s playoff format is the fact that in each series, teams have a 50-50 chance of knowing who they’ll face next.
Usually, it isn’t until the conference finals that teams know that they will play one of two teams should they advance, but with the divisional, non-reseeding format the league changed to for this season, that scenario is provided throughout the playoffs.
The Bruins and Red Wings both know that, should they win, they will face the winner of the series currently being played between the Canadiens and Lightning. Well, that series could be over awfully soon, as the Habs hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Bolts.
The Boston-Detroit series, on the other hand, has just begun. Tied 1-1 heading into Tuesday’s Game 3, the series has at least three games to go, and with the way it has looked thus far, could go four or five more. The Montreal series could be over as soon as Tuesday night, in which case the Canadiens would both have a lot of time to wait for their next opponent and face a potential matchup against the Bruins.
“That’s their series. We’re worried about ours right now,” Claude Julien said Monday. “Our players shouldn’t worry about that. As coaches, you worry about your team but you also are allowed to watch and prepare in a certain way by watching the other series as well, so I don’t think it’s a big issue.
“I know that there were times in the past where we were done and we had to watch a couple of different series because we didn’t know, depending on who would win, who we’d play, so there’s no doubt it’s a lot clearer now. We don’t have to look too far to find out who our next opponents could be, but at the same time, it’s about getting out of this one here, and right now it’s a 1-1 tied series that, to me, has the potential to go a long ways.”
|Matt Bartkowski, Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid take part in optional Bruins practice||04.21.14 at 12:47 pm ET|
The Bruins held an optional non-contact practice Monday at TD Garden before departing for Detroit to play Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series against the Red Wings.
Matt Bartkowski, who has not played in either of the first two games due to a stomach flu, did take part in the skate. After skating together earlier in the day, Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid also participated in the practice. Daniel Paille, Chad Johnson and Corey Potter were the other participants.
Paille, who hasn’t played in since April 12, has been skating since Friday. Chris Kelly has not skated since April 8.
Regarding Paille and Kelly, Julien said that both players have been out of game action long enough that they would need to take contact in practice before playing.
As for Seidenberg, who has been ahead of his recovery from ACL/MCL surgery from early January, Julien said that he is isn’t overly surprised that Seidenberg has been skating for nearly two weeks. Seidenberg was expected to miss the rest of the season and be out for 6-8 months.
“I guess according to our trainers and our doctors, they thought he’d be going through that process and at one point he’d be skating before next season,” Julien said. “So he’s on track right now, probably even a little ahead of the curve because of his conditioning and how strong he was, even before that injury. I guess he’s a well-trained individual, and those guys have a tendency — athletes have a tendency — to recover a little quicker than the normal person. He’s on that track right now.”
The Bruins won’t rule out a potential return for Seidenberg this season, though they say they’re not expecting it to happen. The fact that Seidenberg is skating more and more and taking sharper turns would suggest the possibility that he could play if the team makes a deep run. Julien said he’s not getting overly excited.
“Because nobody’s told me anything that would get me excited, that’s why,” Julien said. “I went to our trainers and asked if it was OK for him and McQuaid to skate with the rest of our team because there’s no contact, no drills. It’s the same drills they did when they went on the ice earlier. A lot of it is for encouragement reason. Just those two on the ice together for a while gets tough, but being out there with more players and do a little more, it’s exciting for them. I thought mentally, it would be a good opportunity to meet with the rest of the guys because of the type of practice we were having.”
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