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David Backes expected back in Bruins lineup vs. Rangers 11.05.16 at 12:46 pm ET
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David Backes will miss make his return to the B's lineup tonight. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

David Backes will miss make his return to the B’s lineup tonight. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Back in Boston, winners of three straight games (all against Atlantic Division playoff teams from a year ago) — and after surviving about four different injury scares to date — everything’s finally coming up Milhouse for the Bruins. The club’s good fortune rolled on into their Saturday morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, too, with a full participation from top six forward David Backes.

Absent from the last five games after a minor elbow procedure (called “liquid elbow” because olecranon bursa doesn’t really roll off the tongue all that well), the Bruins expect to have the 32-year-old in the lineup for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers and on the right side of the club’s second line with David Krejci at center and Ryan Spooner at left wing. 

“He should be good,” B’s coach Claude Julien said of Backes’ availability tonight.

With two goals and four points in five games for the Bruins this season, Julien expects more of the same with No. 42’s return to the lineup, even after a bit of a layoff.

“He’s a big body, he’s an experienced guy, he’s strong on the puck,” Julien said. “I think he brings a lot [to the lineup] and brings a good presence to our hockey club.”

A stranger to missing time — Backes has missed just 25 games in total since 2007 — the 6-foot-3 forward has had to play a frustrating waiting game with the healing process.

“It’s feeling well,” Backes said of his elbow. “I think physically it felt well maybe a couple of days ago, a week ago, but you gotta let everything calm down and let the smart guys that went to all the schooling advise on when it’s medically advisable to get back in the game.”

Described as a lingering injury, Backes felt the elbow get worse in his last game played, a 4-2 loss to the Canadiens on Oct. 22, and the decision to undergo surgery — Backes’ first in his 11-year professional career — was made by the team’s medical staff following a difficult Monday practice in which the injury got “angrier and angrier” according to Backes.

“You don’t want systemic infection and things like that to spread and all of sudden something that you could have squashed in 10 days, be back and not think about it again becomes a couple-month ordeal or season-ending [injury],” Backes admitted of the decision to take care of the ailment. “Who knows what happens if it gets in your bones or all those other things?”

The injury will not require Backes to wear any special gear with the exception of a “small piece of foam” as he described, but will continued to be monitored by the Black and Gold’s medical staff.

Canadiens give up 10 goals to Columbus Blue Jackets in epic loss 11.05.16 at 2:55 am ET
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The Montreal Canadiens lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets by ten goals on Friday night. (Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports)

The Montreal Canadiens lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets by ten goals on Friday night. (Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports)

The Boston Bruins have had some ugly losses in 2016. But there’s one thing the Bruins can hang their hat on through 10 games: they still have not allowed 10 goals in a single game like their bitter rivals, the Atlantic-leading Montreal Canadiens did to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

The Blue Jackets came at Habs netminder Al Montoya with three goals in the first, five in the second, and another two for insurance (’cause eight through 40 minutes wasn’t enough), as Montoya took one for the team — or just starter Carey Price, which I suppose really is the team when you talk about the Canadiens — with a 30-of-40, full night in the Montreal crease. In doing so, Montoya became the first Habs goaltender to allow 10 goals in a single game in 24 years.

Columbus had points from 16 different skaters in the blowout win.

The loss was the fourth time in franchise history that the Habs have lost by a 10-0 final, their worst shutout against deficit, and their first such defeat in 74 years, which came against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 4, 1942. It’s the first 10-0 final in the NHL since 1996.

Of course, all of this happened on Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien’s 53rd birthday, too.

Such a loss has yet to happen in B’s history. The closest the Bruins have come to matching a 10-goal defeat has been eight different nine-goal losses, the last of which coming in a 9-0 loss to the Atlanta Flames on Mar. 9, 1976. The Bruins have been the Jackets before, though, with four 10-goal wins to their name, but none since Dec. 20, 1979’s 10-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Don’t laugh too hard though, as the Canadiens, at 9-1-1, still lead the Atlantic by five points.

Even in victory, shootout remains total crapshoot for Bruins 11.04.16 at 3:21 pm ET
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The Bruins have never been a strong shootout team. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins have never been a strong shootout team. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

The Boston Bruins hate the shootout.

It’s not hard to see why they do. The shootout was one of the biggest reasons why the 2014-15 Bruins missed the postseason by just two points. It was in that year that only the Philadelphia Flyers, with 11, had more shootout losses than the Black and Gold’s 10. No loss stuck out larger than their 12-round, scoreless nightmare shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Remember that? Yeah, I try not to, either.

The shootout was a big reason why the B’s missed out on the playoffs last year, too, as the Bruins had fewer shootout loser points than the Flyers, who had eight extra points in the standings via shootout losses compared to just two for the B’s. And the Flyers made it in over the Bruins by just three points, so you can do the math there. Believe it or not, the Bruins were actually, somehow punished for not knowing how to lose in the shootout as much as the Flyers. Or for not skating in as many shootouts as the Flyers’ 11, at the very least.

But the Bruins really hate the shootout because they cannot score in the shootout.

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Bruins forward David Pastrnak chips teeth, shows off new ‘Dumb’ smile 11.04.16 at 1:49 pm ET
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Fashion goes forward, and then without fail, goes backward. And Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak has officially cornered the market on the hottest front teeth style of 1994.

Clipped in the mouth by an errant J.T. Brown stick in the first period of last night’s 4-3 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena, the 20-year-old Pastrnak stayed in the game, scored his sixth goal of the season, and wore his unusual smile into the next day on Snapchat.

https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/794564836407570432

Channeling Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber, the best advice someone could and should give to Pastrnak, is to not try to pawn a dinner bill off to B’s president, Cam “Seabass” Neely.

5 Things We Learned as B’s first line dominates while Hayes scores shootout winner over Lightning 11.03.16 at 10:49 pm ET
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Brandon Carlo and David Pastrnak both scored in the B's win over Tampa Bay. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

Brandon Carlo and David Pastrnak both scored in the B’s shootout win over the Lightning. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

For various reasons, most of which out of their control, the Boston Bruins have not had their top line of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on either side of Patrice Bergeron together as much as they’d like this season.

But back from their latest split — this time because of a two-game ban for David Pastrnak’s illegal check to the head to the Rangers’ Dan Girardi last Wednesday at Madison Square Garden — the band proved to still have their scoring touch intact in the club’s third straight victory, a 4-3 shootout final over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

In their first of five head-to-heads with the Bolts this year, the Bruins struck first on a bad angle goal scored by B’s defenseman Brandon Carlo. The recipient of a Bergeron faceoff win, Carlo snuck down low, caught Tampa Bay Lightning Andrej Sustr in an awkward defending angle, and squeaked a puck through Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy just 4:01 into the first period for his second goal of the season, and first in seven games.

The Bruins lead was extended to two midway through the period, too, as a Ryan Spooner power-play rocket beat Vasilevskiy cleanly for Spooner’s second goal of the season. Their first power play goal in their last 16 attempts, the goal featured some brilliant cycle work from everybody on the B’s first unit, including the net-front Brad Marchand, and especially Spooner, who made two great passes before the puck was back on his stick and in the Lightning cage.

The lethal Lightning power play would answer with a goal of their own, however, as Victor Hedman unleashed a point blast — with Valtteri Filppula and Brayden Point generating terrific traffic in front of B’s goaltender Tuukka Rask — at 15:09 of the first period.

In a dominant offensive zone display, it was the Bergeron line that re-established a two-goal edge for the Bruins, with a frantic pace and passing that straight-up baffled the Lightning defensemen before Pastrnak tucked home his sixth goal of the season less than five minutes into the frame. But once again, the Lightning power play had their say, scored their second power-play goal in as many opportunities, this time from the stick of Tyler Johnson.

It would be Johnson that answered again for the Bolts, too, this time midway through the third period on an incredibly high — but (somewhat surprisingly) deemed legal after a quick video review — deflection down over Rask’s shoulder and into the B’s net for a 3-3 draw.

Tied through the 60-minute mark, the Bruins went to their first overtime of the season.

And after twice being burned for power-play goals against in the third, the Bruins waited ’til the overtime to let their penalty kill magic shine through, as the Bruins had a monstrous effort from Bergeron and the pairing of Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid — pinned in their zone for nearly the full two minutes — before David Krejci exited the box. The overtime wrapped with the B’s unable to capitalize on a nearly 40-second power play of their own against the Lightning killers, and it was onto the first shootout of the season for the Black and Gold.

And after 19 shooters and just two goals total from each side, it would be Jimmy Hayes, who is still without a point on the year and will be as shootout goals count for zippo, that came through with the winner for the Black and Gold in the bottom of the 10th.

Here are four other things we learned from the B’s first shootout win of the season.

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Bruins pregame notes: Matt Beleskey scratched for “performance” as Bruins battle Lightning 11.03.16 at 6:47 pm ET
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Matt Beleskey does not have a point in nine games this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Beleskey does not have a point in nine games this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

Nine games into the 2016-17 season, Boston Bruins forward Matt Beleskey is still without a single point to his name.

But he’s not alone.

The 28-year-old is one of four Bruins forwards (and five players overall if you include defenseman Torey Krug) to have played in at least seven games and not record a point. His linemates, Jimmy Hayes and Riley Nash, join him in this category, as does first-year pro Danton Heinen. Heinen, of course, was assigned to the Providence Bruins yesterday. And tonight, Beleskey, who has played in all but two games (he sat those out with an upper-body injury) since coming to Boston last summer, will sit as a healthy scratch in an Atlantic Division showdown between the B’s and Tampa Bay Lightning.

His spot in the B’s lineup will instead go to Sean Kuraly, a true first-year pro hockey player with just eight games of total experience, all with the Providence Bruins, and with just one assist.

It’s message sending time from B’s head coach Claude Julien.

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Matt Beleskey an expected scratch for Bruins as Sean Kuraly makes NHL debut 11.03.16 at 2:02 pm ET
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Matt Beleskey is expected to miss tonight's game vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Matt Beleskey is expected to miss tonight’s game vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Following consecutive road wins against Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Bruins will look to make it three in a row and end their four-game road trip on a high note against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

And will attempt to do so with a lineup tweak to their hapless third line.

Winger Matt Beleskey, a player still without a point and a minus-7 rating in nine games this season, will sit as a scratch for the B’s.

It’s unspecified whether or not the scratch for Beleskey, who was at the morning skate but did not participate in any line rushes, is a healthy one — which would designate this as a wake up call of sorts for the $3.8 million dollar per year man — or if Beleskey is still feeling the effects of his collision into the post in Tuesday’s win over the Florida Panthers. While the 28-year-old logged the second-lowest time on ice among Bruins in the winning effort, at 9:37, which was also his lowest total of the season to date, Beleskey did skate in another four shifts after he came back from the locker room following the collision.

With Beleskey out, Sean Kuraly, up with the club on an emergency recall since Tuesday, will make his NHL debut and skate on the left side of the club’s third line with Jimmy Hayes and Riley Nash.

One of the last cuts from Bruins training camp, Kuraly was acquired by the Bruins in the deal that sent Martin Jones to the San Jose Sharks, and came to the organization after a four-year collegiate career with Miami of Ohio that featured 43 goals and 90 points in 154 games.

Prior to his recall, Kuraly recorded one assist in eight games for the Providence Bruins.

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