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Patrice Bergeron again showing he’s best two-way player in hockey 03.28.14 at 8:06 am ET
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The last time Patrice Bergeron scored 25 goals in a season, he was a 21-year-old sensation out of Quebec Junior hockey, with lots of speed, playing for a Bruins team out of the playoffs. It was the 2005-06 season and the Bruins under Mike Sullivan finished 29-37-16.

A lot has changed and evolved since.

The 28-year-old won two Olympic gold medals, one Stanley Cup, reached another Stanley Cup final, won the Selke trophy as the best defensive forward in the game.

After watching him put on a two-goal display Thursday night against the team he faced in the finals last season, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that he is in line to win another Selke Trophy this season. He finished second in the race last season and has finished in the top-5 in voting for the award in each of the last four seasons. This will be the fifth straight. As DJ Bean points out, it will be a race between Bergeron and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, who was a minus-1 in Thursday’s 3-0 Bruins win at TD Garden.

Not only did Bergeron score twice, he won 15 of 21 face-offs and helped lead a defense that shutout the highest-scoring team in the NHL for just the third time this season. He has an NHL-best plus-38, two better than when he won the Selke in 2012. The Bruins have given up just nine goals in their last nine games.

“It’€™s not something you really are always thinking about,” Bergeron said. “It is something that is part of our game as a team as a whole. We are a defense type of team and we get some offense with playing defensively sound and stuff like that. So I think we have to keep that going.”

Listen to Bergeron and you get a glimpse of what makes him so special – a two-way player who doesn’t take a shift off.

“Every shift is important,” he said. “You can’€™t really sit back or take a breather because obviously they’€™re going to turn it up against you. They’re a team that relies a lot on speed I think and their transition as well. I thought once we played a little tighter in the neutral zone and also in our fore check, it gave us some success.”

All of the above was great before but now he’s scoring at a Sidney Crosby pace, at least for the last five games, in which he has six goals, at least one goal in five straight.

“The puck’€™s going in I guess,” Bergeron said, showing his typical humility. “There’€™s not much to say about it. It’€™s just you get those chances sometimes during the year and it doesn’€™t go in and now it is. Obviously it’€™s great any time I can chip in offensively and keep my two way game, I’€™m happy with it.”

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Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean break down red-hot Bruins, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron 03.28.14 at 12:21 am ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the chances of the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks getting back to the Stanley Cup final, one year after Chicago won the Cup on Boston ice in Game 6. They also discuss the best strategy for resting Zdeno Chara and how to keep Patrice Bergeron hot.

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Johnny Boychuk says ‘everything is OK’ after once again sacrificing his body 03.15.14 at 5:42 pm ET
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He could laugh about it after the game but Johnny Boychuk knows full well he was very lucky to even be standing in his electric blue pinstripe suit after Boston’s 5-1 throttling of the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Midway through the third period, he lost an edge as Carolina’s Patrick Dwyer reached with his stick for the puck. Boychuk went careening feet first into the boards behind the Bruins net and lay prone on the ice for several minutes clutching his right leg.

Training staff came out and Boychuk immediately got to his feet and swatted away a helping arm so he could get on his skates and test his banged up right leg. He eventually conceded help, with teammate David Krejci helping him off the ice and down the tunnel. Just five minutes after going to the dressing room, Boychuk was back in front of goaltender Chad Johnson, blocking a shot with his skate on the same leg that had just suffered a nasty collision into the unforgiving corner boards.

“I’m a little sore,” Boychuk said with a painful grin. “I’m just glad everything’s OK.”

Indeed, Boychuk appeared to have escaped serious injury, as he had no walking boot on his right leg after the game and didn’t show any noticeable limp while walking. He did need about 30 extra minutes of treatment postgame before speaking to reporters.

Boychuk said he had x-rays on the leg but didn’t have the results immediately available.

As for what happened, on the play into the boards, Boychuk said it was just an unfortunate case of losing his balance.

“I was going for the puck,” Boychuk said. “I was looking left and right to see where my guys were and I went to [make a] hit and then all of a sudden, I’m going into the boards and just went feet-in kind of awkwardly, I guess.”

“I think the part is that we’€™re happy he’€™s not injured,” Julien said. “The way he went into the boards with both feet could have been a lot worse. So, kind of happy that he was able to come back and that shot on the foot is nothing compared to how hard he went into the boards, but you know what our team has always been made of those kind of players and guys that gut it out and certainly it helps our team get some, I guess, some energy, and some momentum at a certain point of the game where we needed it.”

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Bruins pregame: Daniel Paille cleared for return, Chad Johnson starts in net 03.15.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Bruins fans will welcome back Daniel Paille Saturday against Carolina. (AP)

Bruins fans will welcome back Daniel Paille Saturday against Carolina. (AP)

Winners of seven straight, the Bruins will welcome back one forward and another making his NHL debut. Bruins coach Claude Julien announced before Saturday’s game with Carolina that Daniel Paille, who has missed the last five games with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to game action.

Asked if he will be available and will play, Julien was more coy with reporters pre-game.

“Could be,” Julien said with a smile. “Probably. You’ll have to make some deductions. right? I have to keep you guys on your toes. I’m too predictable.”

Chad Johnson will make his 18th start in net for the Bruins after Tuukka Rask started both games of the back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday in Montreal and home against Phoenix.

The other big story Saturday is the NHL debut of 23-year-old forward Matt Linblad, a Friday call-up from Providence.

“It’€™s pretty special,” Julien said. “I’€™m sure he’€™s dreamed of playing in the NHL, and exhibition games are one thing, and this is the real deal right now. But at the same time, I think he’€™s earned it. He’€™s played really well. I liked his training camp, I liked his, again, his hockey knowledge and his hockey IQ.

“Hockey sense is always an important part of any player at this level, and he has that. He’€™s a smart individual, so you put that with the good skater that he he is, and it makes for a pretty decent player. So we have high hopes for him and there’€™s an opportunity for him to show he’€™s gotten better over the course of the season.”

During pre-game warmups, Linblad was skating on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, leaving Shawn Thornton as the odd man out.

Julien also announced that, after playing in three straight games, defenseman Andrej Meszaros would get the day off, giving Torey Krug more time on the blue line as well as the power play.

“There’€™s going to be some changes here as we go along, and I think [Meszaros] has played three straight games and we’€™ve continued to work with him,” Julien said. “So, we certainly don’€™t want to let our other players that have been here be pushed aside because of trades. So it’€™s just managing that whole back end.”

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Tim Thomas gets a new teammate in Roberto Luongo and immediately ‘pumps his tires’ 03.04.14 at 11:59 pm ET
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Tim Thomas couldn’t resist.

The opportunity to make a joke about the goaltender who was the butt of all Boston jokes in 2011 fell right in his lap when Roberto Luongo was traded from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday, hours before the Wednesday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas laughed.

Thomas, of course, was referring to an infamous comment Luongo made during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Asked about how Thomas was carrying the Bruins on his back during the Bruins’ Cup run, Luongo famously said, “€œI’€™ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’€™t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”

Thomas replied, “I didn’€™t realize it was my job to pump his tires.”

Now, the two goalies are teammates thanks to a surprising deal in which the Panthers acquired Luongo in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday afternoon. That wasn’t the only storyline of the trade as Luongo returns to the organization where he played from 2000-06.

For the record, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he intends on keeping both goalies in Florida and rebuilding the franchise around them.

“€œIt’€™ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’€™t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’€™m staying in Florida, it’€™ll be interesting,”€ Thomas said. “I’€™m looking forward to it. It’€™ll be fun.”

Thomas insisted there are no hard feelings with Luongo.

“€œNo, not at all,” Thomas said. “I wasn’€™t an enemy with him even [in 2011]. I was so focused on playing and doing my job and that’€™s the way I was looking at it. So, yeah, we’€™re both pros, both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on him, obviously, but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.

“€œSurprised, obviously, at first just like probably a lot of people who were caught off guard and didn’€™t see that one coming,” Thomas said. “€œBut then I had to get ready to play the game against obviously a difficult team.”

Thomas, on a one-year deal with the Panthers, said he can get along with Luongo.

“€œYeah, of course,”€ Thomas said. “€œHe’€™s a good goalie and from everything I’€™ve heard about him he’€™s got good character. I don’€™t know what their plans are. I don’€™t really know anything at this point. I can’€™t say too much.”

While Tallon did say he plans on keeping both, that didn’t stop speculation that Florida would eventually trade Thomas before the deadline to a contender. Thomas was asked if he would like to be traded to a contender now that Luongo is in Florida.

“€œYeah, but now I’€™ve got to see the situation and see what they’€™re thinking. I’€™d like to check in with Dale before I comment on anything,” Thomas said.

What does Claude Julien think of all of this from afar?

“€œWe’ll see if that’s still the case [Wednesday},"€ Julien said with a wide grin. "Maybe I can comment on it [Wednesday] after the deadline. Fair enough? I know it’s a lot of tire pumping.”

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Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean assess Bruins at the Olympic break 02.08.14 at 11:42 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the Bruins at the Olympic break. The Bruins finished the pre-Olympic portion of the schedule as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, going 8-1-2 in their final 11 games before the break, including Saturday’s 7-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

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Peter Chiarelli happy with how his summer moves have worked so far: ‘That’s what is expected of me’ 02.08.14 at 5:35 pm ET
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Eyebrows were a bit more than raised when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli traded away young gun Tyler Seguin and reliable forward Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars last summer in return for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.

That was a Fourth of July calculated gamble that Chiarelli was willing to take just a week after his team lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. Smith has 18 goals this season on the Marchand-Bergeron line, second only to Marchand’s 19 goals this year. Add to that the addition of veteran forward Jarome Iginla to replace Nathan Horton on the top line, and the moves have worked out quite nicely for the Bruins.

Iginla scored again Saturday and all of a sudden has 17 goals with 25 assists. Eriksson assisted on the first two goals Saturday and has 14 helpers on the season, not bad considering he’s missed 21 games with a pair of concussions.

Before he joins one of seven Bruins off to the Sochi Winter Games, Chiarelli was asked before Saturday’s 7-2 demolition of the Senators at TD Garden just how satisfying it is knowing the deals he made in the summer have paid off.

“It’€™s good, I mean that’€™s what is expected of me,” Chiarelli said. “Certainly I’€™ll hear it from you guys if they don’€™t. You, know Iggy ‘€“ high character. So you know you’re going to get a good effort. What were my other deals? Loui [Eriksson], yeah Loui is still a work in progress but I’€™ve seen parts of his game that I’€™m going to expect at some point that I have seen before. He’€™s got to work his way through it but he is a very good two way player and I’€™m happy with him. Reilly [Smith], of course has been good. So yeah it’€™s good. That’€™s what I’€™m expected to do and it helps bringing these players into a successful team and structure. It’€™s easier to do that provided they buy in and these guys have bought in.”

Will he look at bringing in veteran leaders at the March 5 trade deadline?

“Usually when I’€™m trying to add something on a temporary basis, on a rental basis, I’€™d like that player to have some experience,” Chiarelli said. “So, that usually translates into being a veteran. Playoff experience would be good too so that’€™s something I look for, I don’€™t know if I’€™m going to get it if we add somebody but that’€™s what I look for, I think it’€™s important. I t’€™s not so much for leadership; I feel our group has strong leadership. It’€™s more for having been in the battles and having that composure because that is what you need to win, is composure and compete by the composure also.”

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