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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins considering multiple options on defense

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- There are so many variables affecting what the Boston Bruins' defense corps will look like when the Eastern Conference Finals begin Saturday night.

If everyone is healthy, the Bruins could try to defend the Pittsburgh Penguins with the same top four defensemen who won the Stanley Cup in 2011: Zdeno Chara paired with Dennis Seidenberg, and Andrew Ference coupled with Johnny Boychuk.

Rookie Matt Bartkowski could be in the mix to play top-four minutes, and Chara and Seidenberg could be split up. With so many days to prepare before facing the Penguins, the Bruins are trying out different scenarios. One drill at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday featured everyone rotating in and playing with different partners every shift.

Anything is possible prior to Game 1, and coach Claude Julien told the media he hasn't ruled out any and every defensive combination

"It's good, because you saw us during the season, we mixed and matched. And you guys kept asking a lot of questions about that and I said, 'You know what? It's important that we do that because at some point they’re all going to have to play with each other,'" Julien said. "And guys can play right that are left shots, or vice versa. And even during the game we still mix and match pairs sometimes. It's not necessarily set pairs that you see on the ice all the time. So that's not going to change."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 2:05 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Seidenberg taking extra time to continue healing up

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The decision to sit out Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers and not try to help the Boston Bruins complete a sweep last Thursday was difficult for Dennis Seidenberg.

But the veteran defenseman, who returned in time to aid Boston in its ousting of the Rangers in Game 5 Saturday, knows it was the right decision to rest his undisclosed injury another couple days rather than rink further damage.

"I wanted to play Game 4, obviously, but we talked to the coaching staff and the medical staff and we decided together that maybe it was best to hold out one more game and give it a couple more days. I think it was the right decision and, I mean, it was right at the end," Seidenberg said after he took part in an hour-long practice at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference practicing with Bruins, but status uncertain

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference practiced with his teammates Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

The veteran has been out of game action since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 5. He missed all of the conference semifinals against the New York Rangers and only just recently started skating with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides.

As for Ference's availability in the upcoming Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the blueliner's status is up in the air.

"It's a good sign that he's practicing with us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team followed two days off with an hour-long practice. "I don't know, it's a medical issue that unless the trainers say it's a go -- and sometimes he may be ready but could be risky kind of ready -- I've got to wait and see what the trainers see and also how Andrew feels as well before I make a decision on him."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 12:07 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins' Ference skating, working his way back

BOSTON -- While most of the Boston Bruins players were kept off the ice Monday, two days after their series-clinching win against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, injured defenseman Andrew Ference skated with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides at TD Garden.

Ference has not played since Game 5 of the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bruins coach Claude Julien said Ference has been skating for a few days.

"He's obviously on the mend, but not ready to say he's ready to go yet," Julien said during a press conference Monday.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 1:41 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Rask's play positions him for big new contract

BOSTON – For the first time in Tuukka Rask's NHL career, the goaltender has taken the Boston Bruins past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Of course, this is the second season in which Rask has served as the Bruins' No. 1 goalie.

Rask, 26, seems to be getting better as the playoffs roll along, opposed to the way he struggled deeper into the postseason back in 2010. In the five-game series victory against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rask compiled a .936 save percentage and 1.86 goals-against average.

The Finnish goaltender seemed to place a smart bet on himself last summer when he signed a one-year contract with Boston. He’ll be a restricted free agent again this summer, seemingly raising his value every night this postseason.

General manager Peter Chiarelli, whose team will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, said he has no regrets about letting Rask play on a one-year deal.

"I'm happy for him that he's playing well and he's helping the team," Chiarelli said during a press conference Sunday at TD Garden. "It’s always easier to sign these guys after success. He's showing some resiliency, which I like, and some durability, which I like."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.26.2013 / 1:26 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Chiarelli encouraged by Bruins' improving health

BOSTON – The return from injury of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday left the Boston Bruins with Andrew Ference and Wade Redden among their injured players heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

General manager Peter Chiarelli described his team's overall health as "pretty good" during a press conference Sunday at TD Garden. And by the time the Bruins start the series, they might be even healthier.

"We’ve got Andrew out, he's making progress. Wade is close, if not ready," Chiarelli said. "Just the bumps and bruises are minor. We got Dennis back. We're in pretty good shape right now, knock on wood."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.25.2013 / 5:30 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins get Seidenberg back

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg returned to the lineup for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers Saturday at TD Garden.

The Bruins took a 3-1 series lead into the potential closeout game.

Seidenberg was injured on his first shift of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 13. He was unable to continue after he tried to take a second shift.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.25.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' fourth line will pick spots with extracurriculars

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien surprisingly admitted Thursday that he'd discourage his fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton from engaging in any extracurricular activity that would take them off the ice if the New York Rangers' fourth line attempted to coax the Bruins' energy players.

Even Thornton was surprised by his coach's comment when he heard about it through a question from the media.

"He said that?" asked Thornton, the Bruins' leader in fighting majors, a few hours before taking the ice for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals Saturday at TD Garden.


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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 8:46 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' fourth line putting up their fight on ice

BOSTON -- If the New York Rangers want to get a spark from their new fourth line of Kris Newbury, Micheal Haley and Derek Dorsett by them engaging in extracurricular activities, they’re going to have a hard time finding dance partners.

Several times early in the Rangers’ series-extending 4-3, Game 4 overtime win against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday, New York’s energy players tried to coax some of Boston’s tougher players to fight, to no avail.

Bruins coach Claude Julien expects that to continue, at least until Boston is in need of a spark.

“I think it was pretty clear. I said it even on TV there between those timeouts: The guys on my fourth line, to me, aren’t worth the trade off with their fourth line right now,” Julien said after the Bruins prepared for Game 5 with a practice Friday at TD Garden. “Those guys are pretty valuable players for us. So whichever way they see their players, I certainly don’t want to see one of mine necessarily in the penalty box with one of theirs, because it plays to their advantage.”

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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 3:39 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' power play suddenly an area of strength

BOSTON -- Often a weakness the past several seasons, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' power play has become a driving force for the team that leads the Eastern Conference Semifinals with the New York Rangers, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Bruins are 3-for-9 with the man-advantage, led by rookie defenseman Torey Krug. The playoff call-up from Providence of the American Hockey League has scored two of those three goals.

"I think that we're just not passing up those good opportunities," Krug said after practice Friday at TD Garden. "You'd see sometimes in the past we'd be passing the puck and we'd want to make that extra pass. But this time, we're shooting pucks, we're getting pucks to the net, and guys are taking away Henrik's [Lundqvist] ice."

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday