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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:08 PM

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

Knee surgery ends Versteeg's season

BOSTON -- The Florida Panthers will take the ice Thursday against the Boston Bruins with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference and a four-game losing streak.

Now here's the bad news:

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen announced after his team's morning skate at TD Garden that forward Kris Versteeg will have season-ending knee surgery. Versteeg, Florida's third-leading scorer last season, he has played in 10 games this season. He was playing his third game back from a prior injury when he was hit by Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Versteeg left the game and did not return.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

McQuaid added to Bruins' injury list for Thursday

BOSTON -- Already without center Chris Kelly, the Boston Bruins also will be missing defenseman Adam McQuaid on Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers.

McQuaid is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien. McQuaid blocked a shot with his hand Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he returned to play the third period.

Although he didn't skate with his teammates at TD Garden, McQuaid took the ice after the Bruins' morning skate.

Here's a look at the Bruins' projected lineup:

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Posted On Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 12:27 PM

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

Bruins face tough task extending streak vs. Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins' seven-game win streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs is amazingly the longest the Boston franchise has had against its Original Six brother from the north.

That Toronto enters Thursday night's game at TD Garden one point behind Boston in the Eastern Conference, and riding a three-game winning streak, tells the Bruins that the Maple Leafs are a different team than the one it has handled easily the past couple seasons.

A glance at the fighting-major leaderboard, which features the Maple Leafs on top, also sends the Bruins a message that they're going to have their hands full.

"They've obviously got a big lineup and guys who can definitely take care of business," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said after an unusually aggressive morning skate. "With saying that, regardless of that fact, they've also been playing a good team game and been able to put pucks in the back of the net as well. So I think there's confidence up and down their lineup, from top to bottom, and you can see that in their play of late."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.03.2013 / 12:01 PM

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

Canadiens' Ryder making return to Boston

BOSTON -- Sunday's game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden is more than just a showdown between the teams tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference standings.

It's also the return of forward Michael Ryder for the first time since he won the 2011 Stanley Cup with the Bruins then left for the Dallas Stars as a free agent. Ryder, acquired by the Canadiens in a trade last week, didn't play in Boston last season.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 1:20 PM

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

Senators to give Lehner first start of season

BOSTON -- One year to the day since Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner recorded his only NHL shutout at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins, he will get a chance to repeat that feat.

Lehner is scheduled to make his Senators season debut Thursday against the Bruins, coach Paul MacLean confirmed after his team's morning skate. This season with Binghamton of the American Hockey League, Lehner posted a 2.12 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

"Robin's had a very successful season in the American Hockey League and he's played very well in the National Hockey League last season when he played," MacLean said. "He played here and he played well. And those are a lot of the factors that go into it. The fact that he's played very well this year in the American League gives us a lot of confidence."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 12:58 PM

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

Bruins' schedule gets busy, with Senators up first

BOSTON -- The condensed schedule will finally catch up the Boston Bruins starting Thursday night, when they host the Ottawa Senators.

To date the Bruins have played the fewest games in the NHL with 16 (they're 12-2-2). After putting their season-high four-game winning streak on the line against the Senators, they'll play 17 games in March.

"I think rest is definitely going to be a big thing, making sure you're not too active away from the rink," forward Chris Bourque said after the Bruins' morning skate at TD Garden, "kind of taking it easy, whereas in a regular schedule you might go out with the family, hang out, go to the mall or something or go for a walk. You'll spend a lot more time on the couch, that kind of stuff. Just getting the proper rest and hydration all that sort of stuff is going to be key, I think."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:24 PM

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

With Rangers performing, Boyle to sit again

BOSTON -- With the New York Rangers coming off their second straight victory, coach John Tortorella is inclined to go with the same lineup he used in wins against the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

So that means another healthy scratch for Boston native Brian Boyle, who is scheduled to sit out his third straight game.

"I'm trying not to think about anything, really, honestly," said Boyle, who was bag skated by assistant coach Mike Sullivan along with fellow scratches Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger after the Rangers' morning skate at TD Garden. "I'm just trying to come work every day and work as hard as I can because it's ... I've said it before, I didn't play as well as I think I could've, but I know I can be a good player and effective player in this League and on this team. It's infuriating sitting out, it's awful. And it's [ticking] me off a lot."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:12 PM

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

Bruins' Seguin back with Bergeron, Marchand

BOSTON -- Back on the ice for the Boston Bruins one day after sitting out practice due to a maintenance day, Tyler Seguin was back in a familiar spot, one he hadn't been in for a short while, during line rushes Tuesday at TD Garden.

Seguin skated on right wing alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. From the third period of Boston's win against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 6 through their next game, at the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 10, Seguin had switched places with Nathan Horton and skated with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

That switch paid off in Montreal, as the newly formed Seguin-Krejci-Lucic top line scored goals on its first two shifts to lead the way to victory. Just because the lines reverted to their old form during the morning skate, however, doesn't mean coach Claude Julien won't shuffle things if his team needs another spark Tuesday against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:29 PM

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

New-look Sabres focused on points, not rough stuff

BOSTON – The Buffalo Sabres team that will take the ice Thursday at TD Garden is much different than the one the Boston Bruins beat four times in six tries last season.

In an effort to improve their toughness and physical play, the Sabres added forwards Steve Ott and John Scott during the offseason. Plenty was written and discussed about how the Sabres did not respond last season when Boston forward Milan Lucic ran into Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller during a Nov. 12 contest.

To Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, last year was last year, and he’s more concerned with his team doing what it needs to end a four-game losing streak. That includes his team exercising its newfound physicality as part of an all-round game.

“You try to win the puck battles. You try to win the territorial battles. We have to win a game,” Ruff said after his team’s morning skate. “Not coming out of here with points is not being successful. We need points. In a short season you need points. We’ve answered the physical challenge. We’ve been there for each other from Day One in this. And we’ve played a gritty style, we’ve played a hitting style. We have to win games.

“We dealt with last year. We had a game where [Paul] Gaustad fought with Lucic. [Robyn] Regehr fought [Zdeno] Chara. We played a couple great games against them and came away with points. Hockey’s about winning the game. It’s about winning the mental battle, but winning the physical battle. It’s about winning the territorial battle. If you win those, you give yourself a chance to win.”

In Ott, the Sabres have the perfect foil for the Bruins. His rivalry with Boston goes back to a 2008 fight-filled game between the Dallas Stars and Boston, which featured Ott being ejected. In February 2011, Ott and Boston center Gregory Campbell fought one second into a game to settle a grudge from their junior careers.

Ott doesn’t plan on going out of his way to do more than just what it takes to make up some ground on Buffalo’s Northeast Division rivals.

“Team toughness is within. You don’t have to go out there and drop the gloves every five minutes to prove how tough you are,” Ott said. “I think toughness comes from the locker room. Every guy in here, when you have each other’s back and you play a tough team to play against, I think that’s where you bring your team toughness. And I think that’s more where the focus is, and winning the game.”

Although Claude Julien attributed it to Chris Bourque’s struggles through the Bruins’ first six games, the Bruins coach revealed he will insert of tough guy Lane MacDermid for his season debut in place of Bourque. Rugged defenseman Adam McQuaid is also scheduled to be back in Boston’s lineup.

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin

Daniel PailleChris KellyRich Peverley

Lane MacDermidGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg – Doug Hamilton

Andrew FerenceAdam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratches: Aaron Johnson, Chris Bourque

SABRES

Thomas VanekCody HodgsonJason Pominville

Steve OttTyler EnnisDrew Stafford

Marcus FolignoMikhail GrigorenkoJochen Hecht

John ScottMatt EllisNathan Gerbe

Mike WeberAndrej Sekera

Alexander SulzerChristian Ehrhoff

Jordan LeopoldTyler Myers

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratches: T.J. Brennan

Injured: Robyn Regehr, Patrick Kaleta

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 12:40 PM

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

Devils, Bruins aim to keep point streaks going

BOSTON -- The New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins will both try to keep their respective point streaks going Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Boston has points in five straight to start the season, and New Jersey has done the same in its first four contests.

For two Devils, however, the Eastern Conference showdown should be a little more important than for others. Rookie Stefan Matteau will try to make one last impression on the team's brass to stay in the NHL for the duration of this season, and Matt Anderson is scheduled to make his NHL debut at 30 years old.

After the Devils' morning skate, coach Pete DeBoer confirmed Matteau would start the night on New Jersey's first line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk.

"We want to give him the best opportunity we can," DeBoer said about Matteau, who will either stick with the Devils or go back to juniors after this game.

Anderson was recalled from Albany (American Hockey League) on Thursday. With Albany, he totaled 20 points (7 goals) in 39 games this season.

"Having watched him on tape," DeBoer said, "especially early this year, he brings speed, he's a smart player and hopefully we can help us."

Johan Hedberg will make his first start in net of the season for the Devils.

The Bruins, who are playing the second half of a back-to-back for the first time this season, did not hold a full morning skate. Adam McQuaid, who missed Monday night's win at the Carolina Hurricanes to attend his grandmother's funeral, returned to the team and is available to play.

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin

Chris BourqueChris KellyRich Peverley

Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaJohnny Boychuk

Dennis SeidenbergDougie Hamilton

Aaron JohnsonAndrew Ference

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratches: Lane MacDermid, Adam McQuaid

DEVILS

Stefan MatteauTravis ZajacIlya Kovalchuk

Dainius ZubrusPatrik EliasDavid Clarkson

Ryan CarterStephen GiontaSteve Bernier

Krystofer BarchJacob JosefsonMatt Anderson

Bryce SalvadorMarek Zidlicky

Henrik TallinderAnton Volchenkov

Andy GreeneMark Fayne

Johan Hedberg

Martin Brodeur

Scratch: Cam Janssen, Peter Harrold

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic