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Red Wings take Game 1 from Bruins on late Pavel Datsyuk goal 04.18.14 at 9:58 pm ET
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The Bruins were without their third and fourth line left wings and two bottom-four defensemen, but it was their best players who let up the game’s only goal as the Red Wings took Game 1 of the first round, 1-0.

With the game scoreless late, Pavel Datsyuk beat Tuukka Rask with 3:01 left to get the Red Wings on the board. The goal came with Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara on the ice, marking Detroit’s fourth such goal this season. Chara and Bergeron had only allowed one 5-on-5 goal together all last season before allowing three to the Red Wings this past regular season.

The Bruins played the game without four regulars in Daniel Paille (head), Chris Kelly (back), Matt Bartkowski (undisclosed) and Kevan Miller (undisclosed; both he and Bartkowski were suspected to have the flu earlier in the week). With those four out, Justin Florek, Jordan Caron, Andrej Meszaros and Corey all played.

Jimmy Howard picked up the shutout for the Red Wings, making 25 saves.

The teams will play Game 2 Sunday afternoon (3 p.m.) at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Patrice Bergeron‘s line, playing mostly against Detroit’s top line of Franzen – Datsyuk – Abdelkader and second pairing of Quincey – DeKeyser, had just two shots on goal through the first two periods. Both sides seemed OK with having the Bergeron and Datsyuk lines matched up against one another.

- The matchup that the Bruins need to exploit in this series is Boston’s bottom-six forwards against Detroit’s third pairing of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff. They got some chances (Jordan Caron nearly had a goal in front in the second period) and Carl Soderberg’s line came on strong against them, but the B’s were unable to cash in. Keep an eye on those matchups going forward in the series.

- Not sure what Tuukka Rask was thinking when he came way out of his net to play a puck high in the zone in the third period. Florek and Potter were already giving chase to the puck, but Rask got to it and turned it over, leaving Potter to race to the net and make a save on Darren Helm’s shot.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Potter was more than serviceable as he played in place of Miller Friday night. Though he was the Bruins’ eighth defenseman at the end of the season, Potter got regular minutes on the third pairing with Torey Krug as they played mostly against Luke Glendening’s line.

- Boston’s penalty kill was strong in holding Detroit 0-for-2. The Bruins faced a major challenge when Zdeno Chara threw Brendan Smith into the boards at 16:08 of the first period and was assessed a boarding minor. With Chara in the box and the B’s already missing two regular blueliners, Johnny Boychuk killed the entire penalty, with Meszaros and Potter taking turns as his partner. Up front, the Bruins used Patrice Bergeron with Brad Marchand, David Krejci with Loui Eriksson and Gregory Campbell with Justin Florek. The group stayed the course, limiting Detroit to just a Johan Franzen shot on goal.

In the second period, Torey Krug went off for a hold on Johan Franzen, with Eriksson having the only shot on goal during the Red Wings power play. Potter and Florek also played during that penalty kill.

Bruins Game 1 lineup: Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller all out 04.18.14 at 7:12 pm ET
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Not only were Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Matt Bartkowski absent from warmups Friday night before Game 1, but Kevan Miller was missing as well.

Paille (head), Kelly (back) and Bartkowski (likely the flu) missed each practice this week, while Miller missed Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s before practicing Thursday and missing Friday’s morning skate.

Offensively, that means the B’s will play with both Justin Florek and Jordan Caron in the lineup, while Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter will also play. The team’s lineup in warmups was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Chara – Boychuk
Krug – Hamilton
Meszaros – Potter

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

Read More: Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Red Wings’ Mike Babcock ‘the most creative coach in the NHL’ 04.18.14 at 2:33 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

For McGuire, Friday night’s matchup against the Red Wings is the toughest scenario the Bruins could have faced.

“The only reason I say that is the creativity of Mike Babcock, [Detroit's] coach,” McGuire said. “I think most people know on paper the rosters don’t compare. Boston’s roster is better on paper than Detroit’s just because of the veteran experience and the fact that most of the players on the Bruins roster have been part of a Stanley Cup run to the final and/or won a Stanley Cup.

“A lot of these Detroit players really haven’t been a part of that. It’s really been a huge turnover in their roster — some because of injury, some because of retirement and some just because they had no other choice. The one thing I will say about this Detroit roster is a lot of the younger players you’€™ll see won an American [Hockey] League championship last year in Grand Rapids.”

One of the main concerns for the Bruins is the Red Wings’ speed.

“œThat’s going to be the No. 1 thing to watch early on,” McGuire said. “Watch what they do when they’re attacking Zdeno Chara. Watch what they do when they’re attacking Johnny Boychuk – two of the bigger, more important defensemen for the Bruins just because of the shutdown capabilities. Let’s see if they play chip-and-chase hockey or if they really try to stretch them out and create huge seams.

“You won’€™t know until the game starts, but this is going back to my point about Mike Babcock — to me he is the most creative coach in the NHL. Doesn’t mean he’€™s the best — although he’s getting one of my votes for Coach of the Year. I think he’€™s the most creative coach in the National Hockey League and we’€™ll see how he breaks down the Bruins defense because the Bruins defense, as we know, is extremely good.”

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Read More: Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Mike Babcock, Tuukka Rask
Torey Krug and Bruins embrace high expectations: ‘I wouldn’t call it pressure’ 04.18.14 at 2:00 pm ET
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Pressure is what you make it.

As the Stanley Cup playoffs begin, the Bruins are making it nothing more than chance to fulfill their own expectations.

According to the Vegas line provided by Bodog.com, the Bruins are 7-2 favorites to win their second Stanley Cup in four years by the time late June rolls around, and for good reason. They are relatively healthy heading into the playoffs, though nursing injuries to Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly while battling a flu bug.

“Well, we never get comfortable,” Claude Julien said before Friday’s Game 1 with the Red Wings. “We’€™ve always talked about that. No matter what we’€™ve accomplished, we always know that the good things happen from hard work, so the minute we stop working hard and focusing on the areas we need to focus on, things can change. So that’€™s always been our approach.”

But it’s not the flu or injuries to Paille or Kelly that are of primary concern – it’s the parity in the Stanley Cup playoffs that present the biggest obstacle. Julien reminded everyone Friday that there’s nothing to be taken for granted when a team like the Bruins take on a club like the Red Wings, a difference of 24 points in the season standings.

“Not with parity,” Julien said. “I don’€™t think that exists anymore. I’€™ve been mentioning that for the last couple of days, about the percentage of upsets in the first round over the last couple of years. So it just goes to prove to you that anything can happen in the playoffs. We’€™ve seen it many times before and I don’€™t expect that to change this year also.”

Bruins defenseman Torey Krug says he learned a lot from his first experience in the playoffs last year. That experience, he says, will help as he and the Bruins open the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden.

“Pressure is whatever you put on yourself,” Krug said. “This team has high expectations of itself. I wouldn’t call it pressure. We’re going to respond well to whatever it is. We’re excited to get things going.”

Krug broke onto the scene in the 2014 playoffs as a power play weapon and an offensive force.

“You have to play like that,” Krug contined. “If you’re scared to make mistakes, the puck is going to end up in the back of your own net. You have to make sure you play with confidence. That’s the same message the coaching staff was preaching today. It’s the same thing as last summer. Just eager to get going. It’s an exciting time.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Detroit Red Wings, Torey Krug
Brendan Smith reflects on Tyler Seguin trade, why Reilly Smith has been good fit with Bruins 04.18.14 at 12:49 pm ET
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Brendan Smith is a bit more vocal than Reilly Smith.

Reilly, more of the shy type with the media, is extremely self-effacing. When things are going well, he’d rather somebody else get the credit. When things aren’t, he’s a little harder on himself.

So it was interesting Friday to talk to his brother, a defenseman for the Red Wings, about some of the major storylines that have surrounded Reilly’s young career.

Reilly was a big part of the package the Bruins received in the trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Brendan recalls the day the trade went down, as he was hanging out with Reilly that July 4.

“The thing was, the first time we saw it was on Twitter. We were just on the couch and [see] ‘Reilly Smith is traded for Seguin with Loui Eriksson,’ and the whole deal,” Brendan said Friday. “We were kind of thrown off, and then when we thought about it, we thought it was a great fit for him. He could earn his position and go in and play hard.

“I knew going up, he worked really hard in the offseason. I wouldn’t say he was nervous, but he was really adamant [about] going into camp in really good shape and trying to earn a good spot on the team. Look what he’s done. He’s done a great job, and you’ve seen him. He’s a mature kid for his age, so it’s a been a testament to him. I have to give him a lot of credit.”

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Read More: Brendan Smith, Reilly Smith, Tyler Seguin,
Patrice Bergeron: ‘I’m not rooting for anyone except us right now’ 04.18.14 at 11:59 am ET
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Every Stanley Cup playoff series got a head start on the Bruins and Red Wings. Now, on Friday night, Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins get their chance to show how ready they are after a league-best 117 points in the regular season.

“It was great to have those games and get in the mode of playoff hockey and watching it all helps to get a focus,” Bergeron said Friday morning after participating in a light optional skate before Friday’s Game 1 at TD Garden. “I was getting antsy just watching, for sure. You want to get out there, you want to get going. It’s nice that it’s finally tonight.

“I’m not rooting for anyone except us right now, so I’m just watching games and, like I said, it helps me getting focused just by watching it and being ready for tonight.”

The biggest break for the Bruins and the Red Wings is that they’ve had a full four days off since the regular season ended on Sunday.

“I think it’s good for everyone, just with the schedule we’ve had after the [Olympic] break,” Bergeron said. “It was pretty crazy so it was good everyone to get ready and now we’re looking forward to it.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, NHL, Patrice Bergeron
Andrej Meszaros ready to step in if Matt Bartkowski unable to go for Bruins 04.18.14 at 11:44 am ET
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Matt Bartkowski was once again not on the ice Friday for the Bruins’ morning skate, meaning he has not skated at all this week. Bartkowski, who was spotted in the Bruins’ dressing room Friday after showering, may have been one of the Bruins battling the flu this week.

With Bartkowski’s status for Game 1 against the Red Wings in question (Claude Julien is not giving updates on his players), Andrej Meszaros could be called upon to play Friday night to play on the second pairing alongside Johnny Boychuk. If he is, he says he’s ready.

“Yeah, if I play, I’m ready to go,” Meszaros said Friday morning. “I can’t wait actually to start the playoffs. It should be fun.”

The Bruins acquired Meszaros, a left shot defenseman who can play both sides, at the trade deadline from the Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Assuming everyone on Boston’s back end is healthy, Meszaros would likely serve as an extra defenseman.

The fact that the Bruins’ opponent is Detroit makes the situation all the more interesting, as Meszaros had one of his worst games as a Bruin in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings on April 2. Meszaros, who was paired with Boychuk for that contest, was a minus-2 in the game and was exposed by Detroit’s speed.

In particular, Darren Helm flew by him in the neutral zone with the B’s on the power play in the second period before Tuukka Rask stopped the shorthanded bid. He was also on the ice for Tomas Jurco’s game-tying goal in the third period.

“They’re a really, really good team,” Meszaros said. “They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. We have to be ready for that and match their intensity. It’s going to be a fast game.

“We should have won that game, but obviously we didn’t,” he added. “We had a lot of chances. [Jimmy] Howard played way too good. You have to put pucks on net and get traffic in font and get as much traffic as we can. When you go to the net, you’ve got score goals.”

Meszaros was rotated in and out of the Bruins’ lineup down the stretch and has played 14 games with two goals and there assists for five points with the B’s. He admitted there was an adjustment when he came over, but says he’s all caught up now.

“I understand everything. Everything is fine now,” Meszaros said. “I know the system, so it’s just about execution and playing hard and playing the right way that they want me to play.”

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski,
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