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Johnny Boychuk in for Bruins 11.18.10 at 7:04 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk is making his return to the Bruins’ lineup as the B’s take on the Panthers on Thursday night. Based on warmups, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Ference – Chara

Hunwick – Seidenberg

Stuart – Boychuk

Boychuk had been out since Oct. 23 with a fractured forearm. Tuukka Rask is in net for the Bruins.

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Johnny Boychuk a game-time decision for Bruins vs. Panthers 11.18.10 at 12:37 pm ET
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Those who are looking for news regarding Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk are in for some mild disappointment, because there isn’t any.

“It’s the same thing as last night,” Claude Julien said Thursday morning. “He’ll be a game-time decision.”

Boychuk has been out with a fractured forearm since Oct. 23rd and has been practicing with his teammates in anticipation of an eventual return. He and Marco Sturm were the only Bruins to skate Thursday morning, as the team studied video while fellow rehabbing players David Krejci and Marc Savard were given the day off.

It was noted by Boychuk on Wednesday that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to endure physical contact given the nature of his on-ice sessions. Once he does return, his coach understands that he might not be in mid-season form, and that minimizing the effect that it could have on the team is key.

“It’s about limitations. He went on the ice again this morning and went through the things that we were concerned about. I think it’s more about that than anything else,” Julien said. “At one point, [he's] going to have those kinks out, but right now our schedule is not helping us out with so many games. You’re preferring to give your team — because the team goes before the individual — you want to give them some rest in order to give yourself the best possible chances of winning a hockey game. If we wait for the right opportunity to give him a practice, we might be waiting even longer.”

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Tim Thomas, Bruins beat Rangers 11.17.10 at 9:21 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Tim Thomas picked up his 10th win in 12 starts this season as the Bruins defeated the Rangers, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin, and Mark Recchi each scored on Henrik Lundqvist, who had picked up a win on Oct. 23rd against the B’s in Boston. Recchi’s goal, his second of the season, was a real softie, as he lobbed a wrist shot on net that Lundqvist, hugging the post, let slip through ever-so-slowly.

Tyler Seguin scored his fourth goal of the season. (AP)

The Bruins will return to the Boston on Thursday, where they will face the Panthers at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Here’s another occasion on which it feels appropriate to check in on Milan Lucic’s pre-season target of 20 goals for this year. Lucic was limited to 50 games last season due to injury, and he made a point of it to aim for his first 20-goal campaign. Lucic now has seven goals in sixteen games, putting him on pace for about 36 goals this season.

That’s not to say that Lucic will nearly double his estimation for the season. Two of the tallies have been empty netters, and Lucic would need to play 82 games, something he’s never done in his career.

- Tyler Seguin had not been playing his best hockey entering the night, but he provided a reminder that when given the opportunity to showcase his offensive wizardry, it sure is fun to watch. Seguin hadn’t scored since Oct. 30th against the Senators, but he snapped that streak when he stole a puck at his own blue line from Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy, flew through the neutral zone, and went top-shelf on Henrik Lundqvist.

- Thomas was sensational once it became a one-goal game in the third, making a couple of huge saves on Gaborik, one of which came when he pushed a Gaborik’s wrister back with his blocker. The B’s also killed off a two-man advantage late in the third.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The B’s were 0-for-3 on the power play, and they’ve really cooled off with the man advantage. After Wednesday night’s game, the Bruins are 1-for-16 on the power play in their last four games.

- Marian Gaborik continued the tear he’s been on, beating Thomas stickside in the third period to make it a one-goal game. It was Gaborik’s fifth point in his last three games.

- The Bruins were very sloppy with the puck in the first period. Very short passes in the neutral zone made it tough for them to muster much pressure, but luckily the Rangers came out just as sloppy in a scoreless first period.

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Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic have Bruins leading Rangers after two 11.17.10 at 8:32 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Tyler Seguin scored his fourth goal of the season (his first since Oct. 30th) and the Bruins lead the Rangers, 2-1, after two periods.

Seguin stole a puck from Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy, took it through the neutral zone himself, and beat Henrik Lundqvist top shelf for the tally.

Brandon Dubinsky has hurt the Bruins enough this season, but that didn’t stop the Rangers’ forward from making it even worse on the B’s. Dubinsky, who fractured Johnny Boychuk’s forearm with a slash on Oct. 23 in Boston, drew a Nathan Horton double-minor for highsticking, and put the Rangers up, 1-0, on the ensuing power play.

Horton would make up for his costly penalty, setting up Milan Lucic’s seventh goal of the season, a game-tying tally from the slot.

The Rangers are outshooting the Bruins, 20-15, through two periods.

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Bruins, Rangers scoreless after one 11.17.10 at 7:44 pm ET
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NEW YORK — The Rangers haven’t been able to capitalize, while the Bruins have just been plain old sloppy. As a result, the teams are scoreless after a period of play.

The Rangers had their chances to open the scoring but failed to do so. They ended up blowing multiple 2-on-1′s, one of which New York center Erik Christensen could have caught Thomas way out of position.

Puck movement has been sloppy for the Bruins in the opening period. From close-proximity passes in the neutral zone to longer, riskier passes coming out of their own end, the B’s haven’t been able to connect much to get something going.

The Rangers and Bruins have eight shots apiece after 20 minutes. The Bruins will begin the second period with a man advantage for 1:16, as Marian Gaborik went off for a questionable trip on Nathan Horton late in the period.

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UPDATE: Bruins scratch Johnny Boychuk vs. Rangers 11.17.10 at 1:44 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk hopes to play vs. the Rangers. (AP)

NEW YORK –[UPDATED, 6:50 pm] Claude Julien and his coaching staff took the day to think about it, and ultimately decided to hold off on rushing Johnny Boychuk (forearm) back to the lineup on Wednesday night in York.

Earlier in the day, Julien described Boychuk as being a game-time decision after the 26-year-old blueliner participated in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, going through all the motions without any pain.

Boychuk has been sporting a playing cast on his left forearm, something he’ll continue to use as he eases his way back into the lineup. He saw that as a possibility on Wednesday.

“If they want me to go,” Boychuk said, “I’m ready to go.”

Julien was a little more careful with his words, noting that the idea of having to sit one of his healthy and productive defensemen isn’t so appetizing, especially if Boychuk isn’t totally ready.

“In order for him to be able to get back in, he’s got to be able to help us,” Julien said. “He’s got to be closer to 100 percent than not, because we’re going to be taking out a player who’s healthy and 100 percent. You’ve got to make that decision, and we’re going to give ourselves the opportunity to think about it more today. I know his situation is that he may not be 100 percent.

“We’ve got back-to-back games, so we may put him in,” Julien added. “…We’ve got to make the right decision, not just for the team, but for him as well.”

The Bruins play the Panthers on Thursday at the Garden. Should Boychuk dress back in Boston, it is assumed that Adam McQuaid, or perhaps Matt Hunwick, would be a healthy scratch.

In six games this season, Boychuk has three points, all assists, and a plus-three rating.

THOMAS OFF FIRST

Tim Thomas was the first Bruins’ goaltender off the ice on Wednesday, an indication he will start vs. Henrik Lundqvist. The 36-year-old Bruins’ netminder did not play in the last meeting between the two teams, a 3-2 Rangers’ victory in which Tuukka Rask took the loss.

Thomas is coming off a shutout of the Devils on Monday and is now 9-1-0 on the season with a 1.32 goals against average and .960 save percentage. Should he blank the Rangers, he’d post back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season and tie his career high with five.

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Bruins-Rangers preview 11.17.10 at 2:14 am ET
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NEW YORK – Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers got the better of the Bruins back on Oct. 23 in Boston with a 3-2 win (a one-goal game between these teams? What else is new?), so the B’s will be seeking revenge when they play in New York on Wednesday. The Bruins are coming off a 3-0 victory over the Devils on Monday in which Tim Thomas picked up his fourth shutout of the season.

WHERE IT’S AT

Marian Gaborik and the Rangers have had reason to celebrate since his return from injury. (AP)

– The Bruins are an impressive 6-1-0 on the road this season, with their lone loss as the away team coming at the hands of the Capitals on Nov. 5. It was a contest in which they came back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period but fell, 5-3.

– The Bruins aren’t the only team that has struggled to dominate at home. The Rangers are 4-5-1 at Madison Square Garden, and have gone 2-2-0 in their last four home games.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

– Nine goaltenders have multiple shutouts this season, and two of them could play on Wednesday. Lundqvist has two shutouts in 13 starts this season, while Thomas (first off the ice at the B’s skate midday Wednesday) leads all netminders with four.

Nathan Horton has four points in his last three road games. His second-period tally against the Devils on Monday was the 150th of his career.

STORYLINES GOING IN

Claude Julien indicted on Monday night that Johnny Boychuk could be in the lineup on Wednesday. Boychuk has been out since Oct. 23, a game against the Rangers in which a slash from New York forward Brandon Dubinsky fractured his forearm.

Should Boychuk return, the biggest question is which defenseman will be a healthy scratch. Adam McQuaid has done very well with the opportunity given to him, and he could stick in the lineup as a result. It seems either McQuaid or Matt Hunwick will be the odd man out.

Marian Gaborik wasn’t in the Rangers lineup when they faced the Bruins at TD Garden last month, but he has since returned from a shoulder injury and has clearly made an impact. He’s had four points in his three games since coming back, with all of them coming on Sunday against the Oilers. In that game, Gaborik picked up a hat trick and an assist. He’s a plus-5 on the season.

– Julien will be coaching in his 500th career NHL game on Wednesday. It will be his 262nd game with the Bruins.

“Those things are so far away from my mind, that I don’t even know [when they come],” Julien told reporters with a laugh on Tuesday. ” … I don’t pay much attention to that. I’m just happy to be here.”

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