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Bergeron not skating at B’s practice 11.30.09 at 11:10 am ET
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WILMINGTON  –  Patrice Bergeron is not on the ice as the Bruins begin practice in Wilmington this morning. Bergeron was struck by a shot in the leg while killing a penalty seven minutes into Saturday’s 4-3 Bruins victory over Ottawa. He left the ice and the Bruins bench for several minutes before returning late in the period.

Defenseman Matt Hunwick is also not on the ice.

Power Rankings 11-24-09 11.24.09 at 9:13 pm ET
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Closing in on the end of November, some NHL teams have plenty to be thankful for, others need to shake off the Tryptophan and still others — you got it — are just plain turkeys. Pile on the cranberry sauce and feast on this week’s WEEI Power Rankings:

San Jose Sharks1. (2) 16-5-4  The Sharks have the best road record in the league and have not lost in regulation (7-0-2) at home. They play six of their next eight games at the Shark Tank. Get the picture?

Chicago Blackhawks2. (4) 15-5-2  The Blackhawks have the NHL’s best record over the last ten games, 8-1-1. Set the DVR, Grandma, the Hawks are in San Jose Wednesday.

New Jersey Devils 3. (1) 14-6-1  The Devils currently sit sixth in the league in points, but they have played three less games than three of the five teams with more points. Four less games than the Sharks. Win those contests and New Jersey would actually vault past San Jose. That’s a very good hockey team.

Calgary Flames4. (7) 13-6-3  Jarome Iginla has 12 goals in his last 10 games, helping to fuel the Flames to a 7-1-3 record on the road.

Pittsburgh Penguins5. (10) 16-8-0 Starting to round into form — Sidney Crosby nets OT game winner in comeback win in Florida.

Washington Capitals6. (3) 13-5-6 The Caps are thankful to be leaving Canada after three straight losses to Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

Dallas Stars 7. (17) 11-6-6 The Stars have quietly made their way into the Top 10 with wins in three of their last four games and 28 points in 21 games for Brad Richards. That’ll work.

Ottawa Senators8. (21) 12-6-3 Four wins in a row for the Sens. Should make for an interesting “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting” matchup with the B’s this weekend.

Nashville Predators9. (20) 13-8-1 Please don’t tell me you saw the Preds taking off on a 8-2 run in their last ten.

Columbus Blue Jackets 10. (12) 12-7-3 The Blue Jackets are making a great case that the second-best team in the Central Division might be from Ohio, not Michigan or Illinois.

Colorado Avalanche11. (5) 14-7-3 Hanging in there, but slowly falling. They are more like a glacier than an Avalanche.

Los Angeles Kings 12. (8 ) 13-9-2 No sophomore slump for skilled D-man Drew Doughty, who has 20 points in 24 games, fourth-best among defenseman. Leading scorer Anze Kopitar has just three assists and no goals in last five games.

Phoenix Coyotes13. (18) 13-10-1 The Coyotes only move this season is toward greater heights in the standings.

Philadelphia Flyers14. (12)  12-8-1 A tough loss for the Flyers in San Jose makes sense. Follow-up setbacks in Phoenix and Colorado, not so much.

Detriot Red Wings15. (10) 11-7-4 The Red Wings already had defensive problems, and losing Niklas Kronwall to a cheap hit will not help.

Boston Bruins 16. (22) 11-8-4 The Bruins are glad to be getting key players back into lineup — and glad that Patrice Bergeron never left it.

Minnesota Wild17. (6). 12-6-2  The Sabres are starting to meander through a 4-5-1 stretch in last ten, with three straight losses.

Tampa Bay Lightning 18. (13) 9-5-7 Steven Stamkos is bringing it for the Bolts with 24 points in 21 games. Ryan Malone adding 22 points in 21 games is more of a surprise.

Atlanta Thrashers19. (15) 10-7-3 Thrashers play entertaining hockey, with power play and penalty killing units within the Top 10. But that needs to translate into wins.

Vancouver Canucks20. (19) 12-11-0 A mediocre 5-5 stretch for the Canucks is not where this team expected to be.  Last Sunday’s return of  leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin after a five-week absence should help.

New York Islanders21. (14) 9-8-7 Still playing tough, but counting on Dwayne Roloson to make 58 saves to beat the Leafs is not a great plan. Tests against Flyers, Pens and Devils this week will tell us something.
Florida Panthers22. (24) 10-9-3 The Panthers squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 OT loss to Pens Monday, but are still 6-2-2 in last 10. They will be making some noise.

New York Rangers 23. (16) 12-10-1 The plummet continues. Rangers are 4-6 in last 10, now hitting the road for three.

Anaheim Ducks24. (26) 8-11-3 The Ducks are starting to turn a corner — only a home loss to Sharks marred a decent week. Corey Perry run his league-best point streak to 15 games.

Montreal Canadiens25. (23) 11-11-1  Yep. Even keel, .500  hockey sure sounds like a nice time in Montreal.

Minnesota Wild 26. (25) 8-12-2  After slow start, the Wild has gone 5-3-2 in last ten. Interesting test against B’s.

St. Louis Blues27. (29) 8-9-4 An uptempo opening period against Boston Monday showed what the Blues can do. So did a mediocre final two periods.

Edmonton Oilers28. (27) 10-11-3 Not a lot of life here, but the Oilers have won two of three and host the suddenly teetering Kings Wednesday.

Toronto Maple Leafs29. (29) 4-11-7 The play of Phil Kessel (six goals, three assists, in nine games)  still stands as the most entertaining part of the Leafs.

Carolina Hurricanes30. (30) 5-13-5  Canes pick up a pair of wins, could be ready to make a move. 

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NHL Power Rankings 11/18 11.19.09 at 7:47 am ET
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As the NHL nears the quarter mark of the season, the WEEI power rankings sort things out.

New Jersey Devils1. 14-5-0 The Devils are tough on the road (9-1) and just rounding into form under Jacques Lemaire, posting an 8-2 mark in their last 10. Strong start for forward Zach Parise, 24 points in 19 games, a plus-13. Martin Brodeur has started 17 of 19 and posts a .920 save percentage.

San Jose Sharks2. 14-5-4 Tuesday loss to Nashville costs the Sharks the top spot. Dany Heatley‘s 14 goals not a great surprise, but Patrick Marleau with 13?  Still, it’s November.

Washington Capitals3. 13-4-4 Return of MVP Alex Ovechkin gets high-powered Caps offense (league-best 83 goals) back on track.

Chicago Blackhawks4. 12-5-2 The Blackhawks are starting to click on all cylinders. Cristobal Huet is getting things done in goal, (2.25 GAA). They have the best penalty-killing in the league. Duncan Keith (15 points in 19 games) is sixth in the league in scoring by defensemen.

Colorado Avalanche5. 13-6-3 The Avalanche may be coming back to earth after a surprising start. The Avs are just 5-4-1 in the last 10 games. Center Ryan O’Reilly is third in rookie scoring (15 points) but was minus-3 in a loss Wednesday.

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Lucic Jumps Into Practice 11.13.09 at 1:56 pm ET
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Milan Lucic still can’t hit anyone, or tee up a slap shot. But he was back on the ice with the Bruins Friday morning in Wilmington.

The hard-hitting winger skated through his first full practice with the team since breaking his right index finger in a game in Dallas on October 16. Lucic also participated in the Bruins brief morning skate prior to Thursday’s 1-0 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers.

“It was nice to get out there with the team, it felt pretty good. I could keep up with the pace, it was a lighter practice,” said Lucic. “Everyday it feels more comfortable and that’s it getting better.”

For now, Lucic can put limited pressure on the injured finger, he was able to participate in tip drills, but he has not been cleared for contact.

“I’m just taking wrist shots, not big slap shots or those type of things just yet,” explained Lucic.

Any sort of work with the puck is a welcome relief for Lucic at this stage.

“The last three weeks I’ve been on the ice and they have been pushing me pretty hard” he says. “For two of those weeks I wasn’t able to handle a puck, so what can really do on the ice without a puck – just skate.”

That extra skating may actually pay dividends when Lucic does return.

“He’s been skating for quite a while now so he’s in pretty good shape,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien shortly before his team was departing for Saturday night’s contest in Pittsburgh. “If anything he might come back in better shape than he’s ever been.”

While Lucic had indicated he hoped to be back for a November 19 game in Atlanta, the team medical staff will evaluate his progress next week.

“We go day to day, at one point they are going to tell us how well he is coming along,” said Julien. “Right now, it’s not really a surprise, but he’s a little bit ahead of schedule. That was good news to hear when they told us he could practice with the team.”

With top line winger Mark Recchi having been given a personal day off Friday, Lucic skated with center Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm in several drills.

Panthers take 1-0 shootout win over B’s 11.12.09 at 9:49 pm ET
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Corey Stillman scored the shootout game winner as the Florida Panthers took a 1-0 victory over the Bruins Thursday.

Stillman whisked a backhand shot past Tim Thomas in the fourth round of the shootout. Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves for his third shutout of the season.

Thomas made 23 saves during regulation and overtime. He is also credited with his third shutout of the season despite the shootout setback. He has now posted back-to-back shutouts and has not allowed goal since the first period of a Nov. 5 contest against the Montreal Canadiens, a stretch of 173 minutes and 28 seconds of hockey.

The Bruins completed a four-game home stand with a 2-0-2 mark.

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Boston  shut down three Florida power plays and has killed 31 of the last 32 opposition power play chances during the past five games.

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With the Panthers working on an extended five-on-three advantage in the opening period, Thomas made a sprawling stick save to stuff a goal-mouth shot by Nathan Horton.

Later in the same Florida power play, Thomas made a pair of slick poke checks with his goal stick to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard.

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The Bruins allowed Florida just one shot in the second period, a season-low by an opponent. Boston had limited the Penguins to just two shots in the opening period of Tuesday’s 3-0 win.

Despite outshooting the Panthers 19-1 in the second, the game remained scoreless as the Bruins failed to convert on two power play chances.

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Boston’s second line, with David Krejci centering for Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, showed signs of a pulse in the middle period. The trio pinned the Panthers in the Florida zone for a full shift, generating several scoring chances before changing on the fly, to spirited applause from the restless crowd.

Minutes later, Krejci also drew a tripping call on Panthers defenseman Keith Ballard.

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Bruins winger Shawn Thornton tangled with Florida defenseman Bryan Allen in the second-period. No decision.

Player of the Game – Vokoun was perfect in regulation, overtime and the shootout.

Turning Point – After being outshot 19-1 in the second, the Panthers found their game, taking a 14-8 shot advantage over the Bruins in the third.

Bruins Ready for More From Krejci 11.11.09 at 1:55 pm ET
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Getting past the swine flu maybe the easy part of David Krejci’s week. Now the third-year center needs to get his offensive game back in order.

Krejci returned to lineup in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh. With him having not been able to skate for five days while recovering from the HINI virus, it was not surprising that his game was slightly off.

“I felt my legs were a little out of shape,” Krejci said after getting in some extra skating at the conclusion of practice in Wilmington Wednesday.

Centering a line with Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler on the wings, Krejci logged just over 17 minutes of ice time against the Penguins, generating two shots on goal.

“We had some good chances, but I didn’t feel that great all game. My legs weren’t there,” Krejci said. “I was thinking too much. What to do with the puck, it should just be [instinct]. Tomorrow, I’ll do everything I can to make it work.”

It certainly would be a good time for Krejci to jump start his game.

After finishing as the Bruins’ second-leading scorer last season (73 points), Krejci inked a three-year, $11.25 million contract extension this summer. He has just five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in 15 games this season.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was quick to stress Wednesday that Krejci needs to raise his game.

“His game is certainly not where it should be,” Julien said. “That’s up to him to work through it. He’s at that stage where he needs to find his game and work through the glitches that he seems to have right now.”

Added Julien: “There’s no doubt he’s pressing. Sometimes when guys press they don’t take the right approach to get themselves out of it. My approach is always to work hard, work through it, things will turn around.”

For his part, Krejci seems ready to help lead the Bruins offense.

“That was my plan coming into the season, things didn’t go the way I wanted but you have to start somewhere. It’s not too late,” he said. “I’m trying to stay positive about being able to develop my game.”

***

Defenseman Derek Morris was held out of practice after coming down with the flu Tuesday.

“We just gave him the day off,” Julien said.

Morris Not Skating at B’s Practice 11.11.09 at 12:10 pm ET
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Defenseman Derek Morris is not on the ice as the Bruins make their way through practice this morning.

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