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Bruins’ John-Michael Liles out indefinitely with concussion 11.30.16 at 2:44 am ET
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John-Michael Liles will be out indefinitely with a concussion . (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

John-Michael Liles will be out indefinitely with a concussion . (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins finally broke their silence on the status of veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles, who did not travel to Philadelphia with the rest of the Bruins for their Tuesday head-to-head with the Flyers, during the club’s pregame warmup at Wells Fargo Center.

Out of action since the five-minute mark of the first period of Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the Lightning after a thunderous collision with the Garden endboards, the Bruins have confirmed that the 36-year-old Liles suffered a concussion on the crash and will be out indefinitely as the B’s follow the league’s concussion protocols.

Tripped up by the stick of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, and then kneed in the head by teammate Austin Czarnik on his out-of-control headfirst tumble into the boards, Liles remained down on the ice for close to a minute before he was helped to his skates and guided off the ice with the help of the training staff and defenseman Adam McQuaid.

Acquired from the Hurricanes last trade deadline in exchange for a 2016 third-round draft pick, 2017 fifth-round draft pick, and prospect Anthony Camara, Liles proved to be a capable third-pairing presence in his post-deadline run with the B’s, and was re-signed to a one-year, $2 million contract this past summer following the buyout of veteran d-man Dennis Seidenberg.

The 5-foot-10 has recorded five assists in 22 games this season, and 11 assists in 39 games with the B’s overall.

This is the third recorded concussion of Liles’ career, and his first since a Dec. 2011 concussion that kept him out of 16 contests.

5 Things We Learned as Bruins escape Philly with a point in shootout loss to Flyers 11.29.16 at 10:50 pm ET
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The Bruins and Flyers. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins overcame an 0-2 deficit to earn one point in a shootout loss to the Flyers Tuesday night. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

Down their two most experienced defensemen and against a team that entered play with the second-most goals for this season, the Bruins found a way to snatch overtime defeat from the jaws of regulation defeat against the Flyers in a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday night.

In a nightmarish start to the night given their ownership of the puck and attacking zone time in an opening period that favored the Bruins in shots by a 19-to-9 mark, the Bruins found themselves in an 0-2 hole through one behind Philly goals from Michael Del Zotto and captain Claude Giroux (a power-play goal) scored just 1:32 apart.

The second period brought about more of the same for the Bruins, as it has for most of this season actually, with noteworthy opportunities and shot totals against the Flyers’ Steve Mason. But, still, zero goals.

Without a goal on 30 total shots through 40 minutes of play, the Bruins finally broke through 4:26 into the third when David Krejci’s shot bounced and trickled through Mason’s pads. The goal, Krejci’s first since Nov. 13, brought the B’s within one and broke a frustrating 45-minute stretch that came with nothing to show for their strong effort.

Krejci’s goal proved to be the one that broke the dam for the Black and Gold shooters, too, as the equally snakebitten Brad Marchand followed Krejci’s tally up with one of his own just 1:18 later, and brought the Bruins even at 2-2.

And after a phenomenal overtime frame in which the Bruins and Flyers traded chances — the shots were 6-to-1 for the Bruins but there was no better chance than Giroux’s one-time blast on a 2-on-1 stoned by Rask with just seconds left in the three-on-three, five-minute period — the B’s went to their second shootout of the season.

From there, the Bruins scored just one goal, a Marchand beauty scored in the bottom of the fifth round, but fell when David Backes could not answer a top of the ninth go-ahead shootout marker from the Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere.

A shootout loss is nothing worth celebrating if you’re the Black and Gold, of course, but in a way, it sorta is. When you think about the games that the Bruins have lost this season (the two last-minute losses to the Canadiens and Wild stick out in this regard), you think about the points that were left on the table. Down by two and shooting blanks on Mason through two periods, to escape this game with at least one point is practically a win for the Bruins, and that’s one more point that they didn’t have entering today.

Here are four other things we learned in the shootout loss.

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Tuukka Rask gets call in net for Bruins against high-powered Flyers 11.29.16 at 5:24 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will get the start for the Bruins tonight. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Tuukka Rask will get the start for the Bruins tonight. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

In Philadelphia down Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles and against a Flyers club that’s tallied the second-most goals in the NHL to date (the Flyers’ 74 goals scored in 23 games are 11 off from the Rangers’ 85 for the league lead) and put 144 shots on goal over their last four games (two wins and 36 shots per night), the Bruins are going to need everything and more in the defensive zone to pull off a win tonight.

So it’s far from a shock that it will be Tuukka Rask is expected back between the pipes for the Black and Gold at the Wells Fargo Center.

The first goalie off the ice at the B’s morning skate today, the 29-year-old Rask will return to the net after a stellar 30-of-31 effort in the crease in Sunday’s 4-1 victory the Lightning, a game that bumped his season save percentage up to .940 while his goals against average dipped down to a miniscule 1.63. With just one goal allowed, Rask has now allowed one goal or fewer in 10 of his 16 appearances this season, and has been credited with a shutout in four of those 10 games.

The latter figure could have been even higher, too, had it not been for a Victor Hedman goal scored off Colin Miller and into the B’s net with just 2:39 remaining in the third period of Sunday’s win. It was actually the fourth time that Rask had lost a shutout in the final five minutes of play this season. It happened in a Nov. 1 win over the Panthers with 4:35 left in the third, Nov. 17 against the Wild with just 45 seconds left, Nov. 19’s win over the Jets with 2:40 left in regulation, and of course, Sunday against the Bolts.

“Good thing I don’t have a bonus for that,” Rask joked about losing another shutout. “It’s alright, it’s just a tough bounce.”

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Zdeno Chara, John-Michael Liles both out for Bruins vs. Flyers 11.29.16 at 4:02 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles will miss tonight's game against the Flyers. (Roy Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles will miss tonight’s game against the Flyers. (Roy Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

In Philadelphia for a one-game getaway from Boston, the Bruins made the trek without their two elder statesmen, as defensemen Zdeno Chara and John-Michael Liles have remained back in the Hub and will both obviously miss tonight’s head-to-head with the rival Flyers.

Chara’s absence, while noticeable, is nothing new for a B’s club that’s skated without their captain for the last three contests, and have since the second period of their Nov. 22 loss to the Blues. The Bruins have allowed 10 goals in 11 periods of hockey without Chara this season, but did record their first sans Chara win Sunday, a 4-1 final over the Lightning. That win snapped a four-game losing streak in games played without the 39-year-old in action dating back to the 2014-15 season.

Out with what’s been called a lower-body injury, Chara allegedly skated on his own prior to Sunday’s contest, and remains day to day.

The Bruins are 1-2-0 with Chara out of action this season, and 12-11-1 without Chara since 2014.

The Liles situation remains vague, however, as there’s been no official update from the Bruins since Sunday’s in-game announcement that Liles suffered an upper-body injury and would not return. Injured on a trip and subsequent and straight-up brutal collision into the TD Garden endboards five minutes into the first period, the 36-year-old Liles remained down on the ice for an extended period of time before he was helped up and off the ice with the help of the training staff and Adam McQuaid.

And not only did Liles slam into the boards with a vicious thud, but he was also kneed in the head by Austin Czarnik on his way to the crash, so the exact extent of his injury — or what his injury actually is, for that matter — remains unknown.

A subtle do-it-all presence B’s head coach Claude Julien can trust in all situations, Liles will be replaced in the lineup by Joe Morrow, who was a healthy scratch for the first time since Nov. 12 last game. Morrow will be paired with Colin Miller on the Black and Gold’s third pairing, while Kevan Miller will switch to the left side on a pairing with the 20-year-old Brandon Carlo.

On a B’s point shuffled about across the board (the Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid pairing is the lone untouched pairing), the 29-year-old Miller played big minutes on the left side when Liles went down Sunday (something he admits he’s done before at different points in seasons for the Bruins), and finished the night with a team-leading 26:40 of time on ice.

“It was good,” Miller, who has skated in three consecutive contests after missing the first 19 games of the year with a fractured left hand, said of his play on the left side in a spot normally occupied by Chara and then Liles. “As a group we did pretty good. I think my partners made it easy on me and we did a good job moving the puck through the neutral zone, not messing around with it too much. I think a lot of this ended up on the left, so as a whole I think we did a pretty good job.”

In the first of three head-to-heads against the Flyers this season, the Bruins will need a group effort to limit a Philly attack that’s scored the second-most goals in the NHL and put 40-plus shots on net in back-to-back contests and six times overall this season.

The Bruins dropped two of their three games against the Flyers a season ago.

Bruins lose defenseman John-Michael Liles to scary looking injury in win over Lightning 11.27.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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Five minutes into their third straight game without captain Zdeno Chara, though a 4-1 win for the Bruins over the Lightning at TD Garden, the Black and Gold lost the club’s next longest tenured NHL defenseman, John-Michael Liles.

On a shorthanded drive towards the net, the 36-year-old Liles was tripped up by Lightning goalie Ben Bishop and sent flying out of control headfirst towards the endboards.

Liles also appeared to have been clipped in the head by B’s forward Austin Czarnik on the crash.

Down their de facto top pairing partner for Brandon Carlo, the Bruins were forced to roll with five defensemen (and four at certain points, too, with Torey Krug in the penalty box for the first eight minutes plus of the second period), and still limited a high-energy Lightning attack to 31 shots on goal, 15 of which came in a blowout of a third period.

“It was pretty early on that we lost Johnny,” Colin Miller said of the team’s defensive effort. “We did a good job responding. I think when you get down to five guys you’re not really thinking you’re just playing and sometimes that’s even better.”

In Liles’ absence, the Bruins rotated five defensemen, and it was Kevan Miller (in just his third game back after missing the first 19 contests of the season), that finished with a team-leading 26:42 of time on ice.

“It’s just the situation that happened,” Miller admitted after the win. “There’s nothing you can do about it, it happens during the season. Like I said before, no one is going to fill [Zdeno] Chara’s spot. As a group we kind of need to collectively pick each other up and make sure we’re ready to go. I think we did a pretty good job of that.”

The B’s did not have an update on Liles after the game.

“Obviously he crashed in the boards, and I think the replay I saw, it might have been a knee to the head, so they were obviously evaluating him for that injury,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked for an update on Liles. 

“I was told he wasn’t coming back, and from there I don’t know what more is happening.”

Liles, acquired from the Hurricanes at the trade deadline last year, has five assists in 22 games this season.

5 Things We Learned as Jimmy Hayes finally scores for Bruins in win over Lightning 11.27.16 at 3:37 pm ET
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The Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Tampa Bay at TD Garden Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Lightning at TD Garden Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The nine-month old monkey on the back of Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes has been finally, successfully thrown out of TD Garden.

One of just two forwards with at least 19 games played and not a single point (the Hurricanes’ Jay McClement is the other) entering Sunday’s matinee affair with the Lightning, the much maligned winger has seemingly been through a life’s worth of bad luck in his hometown.

But that finally changed Sunday, as it was Hayes that scored the Bruins’ third goal of the win, off a great feed from David Krejci, and good for Hayes’ first goal of the season and his first in 36 games dating back to last season (Feb. 24 against the Penguins).

The cap to a three-goal middle period from the Bruins, with goals from Dominic Moore and a power-play goal from David Backes, Hayes’ tally came on his 34th shot of the season (and on his 58th shot on net since his last goal), and really put dagger in the Lightning through 40 minutes, with the Hayes goal scored with just 2:27 left in the period.

The Bruins added another in the third period, just for good measure, with a David Pastrnak puck banked off Tyler Johnson and through Ben Bishop, good for No. 88’s third in as many games since returning from an upper-body injury. Challenged on the shot by the Lightning’s Slater Koekkoek, the goal was Pastrnak’s team-leading 13th goal of the season (in just 17 games played).

The Lightning finally countered the B’s strikes with a Jonathan Drouin goal scored with just 2:39 left in the game.

With goals from four different scorers in a 4-1 final, the Bruins found balance, but no goal likely meant more than Hayes’.

Here are four other things, not related to monkeys living on backs, that we learned in a 4-0 win for the Bruins

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Zdeno Chara remains out while Colin Miller draws back into Bruins lineup vs. Lightning 11.27.16 at 1:09 pm ET
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Colin Miller

Colin Miller

In their first matinee of the season, the Bruins will see one of their defensemen return to the lineup Sunday against the visiting Lightning. Unfortunately for the B’s, it’s just not the one they really need back.

A healthy scratch in the last six games, Colin Miller will draw back into the defensive rotation for the Bruins today in place of Joe Morrow, who recorded one assist in six games in Miller’s spot, while B’s captain Zdeno Chara will miss his third straight game.

On a third pairing with Kevan Miller, the 24-year-old Miller returns to action with one goal and two points in 15 games this season, including a goal against the Canadiens on Nov. 8.

The other defensive pairings will remain the same, with John-Michael Liles paired with Brandon Carlo, and Torey Krug with Adam McQuaid.

Some good news on the Chara front, though, is that the 39-year-old did skate on his own early this morning.

The Bruins are 0-2-0 without Chara this season.

Tuukka Rask gets the start in the B’s net while Tampa Bay counters with Ben Bishop.

This is the second of five head-to-heads between the Bruins and Bolts this season.

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