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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 2:29 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Julien won't commit to Ference's Game 2 replacement

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With the one-game suspension the NHL assessed to defenseman Andrew Ference on Thursday, the Boston Bruins know they will have to play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS) without the player who ranked fourth on the team in ice time during the regular season at 19:29 per game.

The Bruins returned to the ice for practice Friday here at Ristuccia Arena after taking a day off Thursday. While coach Claude Julien wouldn't commit to any set lineup the day before facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2, he split up his playoff shut-down pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg for the session. Chara skated with Adam McQuaid while Seidenberg worked with Ference's usual partner, Johnny Boychuk, during 5-on-5 drills.

"We mix and match a lot of times," Julien said. "So that's not an issue."

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:26 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins know a lot more work needs to be done

BOSTON -- The core of the Boston Bruins has been together long enough to know Game 1 victories do not equal series triumphs.

Last season, the Bruins won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals but lost the series in seven games. The Bruins lost Game 1 three times on their way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.

So although they didn't skate Thursday, the Bruins know the time off was for rest not reward for winning Game 1 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As coach Claude Julien said, because there’s nothing celebrate yet.

Game 2 is Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"That's how it should be. You can't be looking back," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "You can look and learn from what happened, but you have to put it behind you and focus in on this next game because that's all you should be focusing in on. If you're looking back at what's passed or before, you're not worrying about what’s happening now."

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins' fourth line came up big in Game 1

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins always have counted on their fourth line, affectionately known as the "Merlot Line," for more than just physicality and energy.

While the trio of Gregory Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton has been as tough as they come since being put together during the 2010-11 season, all three players have shown flashes of skill worthy of playing above their spot on the depth chart.

Those skills were on display more during the 2012-13 season because Campbell and Paille were forced to play on other lines for stretches because of injuries. But reunited with Thornton for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the trio showed its offensive bent Wednesday in setting up the Bruins' first goal in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"Obviously when me and [Campbell] were able to play with other players, it just gives you a lot more confidence to do what you have to do," Paille said Thursday. "And when we come back and play together, I think we just realize we can play when we need to and we want to continue to not only play our role and do the simple things, but we want to help out as much as we can like we do."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

BOSTON -- Just in time for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have center Tyler Bozak back in the lineup.

Bozak, who missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, will play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"We wouldn't put a player back into this situation unless he was 100-percent healthy," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's told us that he's 100-percent healthy, so we expect him to perform to his capabilities. I'm sure there's players on the Boston hockey club that have bumps and bruises that are not any different. So to sum it all up, he's going to play his role."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Jagr likely to line up with Kelly, Daugavins

BOSTON -- Line combinations from practice Tuesday and the Boston Bruins' morning skate Wednesday indicated that Kaspars Daugavins will skate on a line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, making Rich Peverley a healthy scratch when the Bruins open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

The return to health of forwards Nathan Horton (upper body) and Jagr (flu) has forced Bruins coach Claude Julien to make some difficult lineup decisions. While it's not surprising that late-season Swedish import Carl Soderberg probably will sit out, Julien's decision to sit Peverley, a veteran of the 2011 Cup championship team who skated in all but one regular-season game in 2012-13, is a bit of a shock.

The Bruins will need Kelly's line to produce if they hope to field a balanced, three-line offensive attack against a high-scoring Maple Leafs squad.

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 12:33 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Horton remains out as Bruins host Lightning

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins will finish a string of three straight games against teams that aren’t going to be in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday.

The Bruins are 1-1-0 during this stretch, where they’ve found out just how hard the non-contenders are competing even with little more than pride on the line. Considering his team’s disappointing performance in a 5-2 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien knows his team cannot take anyone lightly.

“It’s a team that played, I thought, a really good game [Wednesday] night,” Julien said of the Lightning. “I watched them play, and I think you just have to look around at the schedule the other night, all the playoff-seeded teams, almost every one of them except for Washington, lost. So it goes to show you teams aren’t giving up. They’re coming out and playing some solid hockey. When you know you’ve only got 'X' number of games left and you want to finish on a positive note, you play your best. And that’s what we should expect from Tampa [on Thursday] night.”

The Bruins are almost completely healthy, with only Nathan Horton battling an injury. Julien said Horton skated Thursday morning but he is still day-to-day and will not face the Lightning.

The game with Tampa Bay will be Horton’s third game missed since he was injured against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday.

Tampa Bay did not hold a morning skate after flying in from Tampa after a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

Posted On Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 11:47 AM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bruins: Horton, McQuaid out, Lucic, Hamilton in

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will play the Florida Panthers at TD Garden Sunday without forward Nathan Horton.

Horton, third on the Bruins with 13 goals, was injured Saturday during a first-period fight with Jarome Iginla during the Bruins' 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Horton is day-to-day, according to coach Claude Julien.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid also will sit out against Florida. McQuaid left the game Saturday in the second period with a lower-body injury after a hit from Penguins forward Matt Cooke. McQuaid played the third period, but Julien said the blueliner also is day-to-day.

Rookie Dougie Hamilton and veteran forward Milan Lucic, who were healthy scratches Saturday, are expected to be in the lineup against Florida.

Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lucic healthy scratch, Soderberg in for Bruins

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since his rookie season of 2007-08.

Lucic, who scored 56 goals the past two seasons for Boston, has six goals in 41 games this season.

The new-look Bruins lineup without Lucic featured newcomer Carl Soderberg, who made his NHL debut after signing a three-year deal with the Bruins last week.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bergeron, Marchand will return for Bruins

BOSTON – On what should be an emotional night at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins will look to give the city a lift, and they should get a lift from the return of two of their better players Wednesday.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are expected to return to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres after missing several games with a concussion. Bergeron missed six games; Marchand has been out the past two.

The Bruins-Sabres game will be the first professional sporting event in Boston since the explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Forward Carl Soderberg, who joined the Bruins for morning skate for the first time since signing a contract with the team last week, will not play.

The Sabres demoted Luke Adam to Rochester of the American Hockey League. It appears they’ll start Ryan Miller in net after Jhonas Enroth made the prior two starts.

Here are the projected lineups for each team:

Posted On Monday, 04.15.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hamilton back in for Bruins, maybe Bergeron as well

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will look to snap their two-game losing streak Monday against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden, and they'll have at least one player back in their lineup after a short absence.

Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is expected to play after resting the last two games. Hamilton has played around 80 games dating back to last May in international competition, junior and the NHL.

"Obviously, just playing so much, it kind of feels like the end of the year, which it is," Hamilton said after the Bruins' morning skate. "But I think just to get a rest, I guess, mentally most of all, just to get away from playing and to be able to come back and kind of it feels like junior a little bit when you get the week off and then you go back and play on the weekends. So I think hopefully I didn't get too rusty over the couple days. But I think I feel good, so I'm pretty happy."

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