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X-factor? Bruins know Red Wings’ Luke Glendening well 04.22.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Torey Krug knows the kind of player that Luke Glendening is. (AP)

Torey Krug knows the kind of player that Luke Glendening is. (AP)

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.

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Read More: Luke Glendening, Mike Babcock, Torey Krug,
Daniel Alfredsson out for Red Wings, Matt Bartkowski could return to Bruins for Game 3 04.22.14 at 12:30 pm ET
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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.

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

Read More: Daniel Alfredsson, Matt Bartkowski,
After challenging regular season, Loui Eriksson off to good postseason start with Bruins 04.21.14 at 9:17 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson's stats don't always tell the story. (AP)

Loui Eriksson’s stats don’t always tell the story. (AP)

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.

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Read More: Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Reilly Smith,
Though Habs may soon await, Bruins focused on Red Wings 04.21.14 at 9:07 pm ET
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Claude Julien is thinking about his current team, not his former team. (AP)

Claude Julien is thinking about his current team, not his former team. (AP)

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.”

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Read More: Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron,
Matt Bartkowski, Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid take part in optional Bruins practice 04.21.14 at 12:47 pm ET
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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.”

Read More: Daniel Paille, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Bartkowski,
Reilly Smith stops cold streak ‘burden’ from leaking into playoffs 04.20.14 at 7:46 pm ET
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Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

The first half of Reilly Smith‘s season was great. The second wasn’t. In the Bruins’ Game 2 win over the Red Wings, he made the start to his playoff career a bit more encouraging than the previous three months.

With the Bruins on a first-period power play and Loui Eriksson providing his signature brand of finesse netfront work, Patrice Bergeron threw a puck on net from high in the zone. Jimmy Howard made the save but left the rebound in front with bodies galore and Smith raced through the crease and put the puck in the net to make it 2-0. The goal went on to be the game-winner, as the B’s allowed just a Luke Glendening tally in its 4-1 victory.

Bruins fans had gotten used to seeing Smith score, but needed their memory refreshed given that Smith had just two goals in the final 30 games of the season after putting up 18 in his first 52 games as a Bruin.

Smith never got ahead of himself when he was leading the Bruins in goals early in the season and was on pace to flirt with 30 goals, but his second-half struggles provided some frustration. As such, a goal in the second game of the playoffs was more than welcome.

“I was hoping it wasn’t going to take a long time in the playoffs, because it can be a little bit of a burden when you’re trying to help out the team,” Smith said after the game. “It was good to see it go in the back of the net and have that kind of opportunity early in the game.”

Smith even took it a step further, saying he didn’t want to become like Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr, who scored one and no goals, respectively, last postseason for the B’s and caught some flack.

“It definitely gives you confidence, and I’m pretty sure the press in Boston, they can get on you if you’re not scoring. I’ve heard, even from Dallas, enough about Seguin and Jagr not scoring too much in the playoffs last year,” he joked. “It is good to get that one in the back of the net and kind of keep you guys off my back a little bit.”

Speaking of jokes, Smith’s brother, Brendan Smith, went after Zdeno Chara at the end of the first period Sunday. Considering that Chara is 6-foot-9 and Brendan Smith is listed at 6-foot-2 and isn’t known for being physical, the idea of a potential fight between the two players was amusing.

It turned out it was amusing for Chara as well, as the Bruins captain laughed and smiled even as the Detroit defenseman took a jab at his face.

Reilly said that he saw it from the bench and could observe that he didn’t look too worried. The Red Wings won in the exchange given that there was no fight and, with matching roughing minors, Chara missed the first two minutes of the second period, but it was still a pretty risky move on Brendan’s part.

“[Chara] wouldn’€™t be the first guy I’€™d choose in the NHL to go against,” Reilly said. “[Brendan] should probably think twice next time.”

Read More: Brendan Smith, Reilly Smith, Zdeno Chara,
Matt Bartkowski, Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly all to travel with Bruins to Detroit 04.20.14 at 7:05 pm ET
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Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski, Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly will all travel to Detroit as the first-round series between the Bruins and Red Wings moves to Joe Louis Arena, B’s coach Claude Julien said after Sunday’s Game 2 win.

Bartkowski, who has been out all week with a stomach flu, practiced Saturday but the team deemed him unable to go for Game 2. Kevan Miller missed Game 1 with the same ailment but played Sunday, logging 19:18 of ice time.

“He’d only practiced yesterday quickly here and was probably not 100 percent, trying to recover from that flu, that virus that he had,” Julien said of Bartkowski. “He missed at least six days of not skating, so we didn’t think it was a wise choice to put him in just [from] watching him practice yesterday. Miller was in a different situation. He came back, practiced, missed a game, practiced. He seemed a little bit better. That was a medical kind of decision, seeing who could handle this pace tonight and was a strong enough to do that.

“As far as next game, I don’t know. I keep telling you guys that when we’re talking about a virus, it’s hard to stand here and say this guy will be in, that guy won’t be in. It really becomes a day-to-day situation.”

Paille has been out since last Saturday with what is believed to be a head injury, though he skated Friday and Saturday. Kelly, who missed the final three games of the regular season with a back issue and has not played in either of the first two games against the Red Wings, has yet to be spotted on the ice.

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

Read More: Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Matt Bartkowski,
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