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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:52 PM

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

Boychuk making progress toward return

BOSTON -- Although he's been ruled out of tonight's home game against New Jersey, Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk today continued to make progress toward a return to the lineup.

Boychuk, who suffered a concussion last Saturday in Ottawa, skated on his own before the Bruins' practice Wednesday. Today he took part in an optional morning skate with his teammates and increased his heart rate both during the skate and after it, as he stayed on longer than most of the other players.

"I'm feeling pretty good. Just got out there, got a skate in and we'll see how I feel. Just going day by day, I guess," Boychuk said.

It was Ottawa forward Chris Neil's big hit on the forecheck that knocked out Boychuk in Saturday's third period. Boychuk compared it to being "run over by a train," but he also stressed that it was a clean hit.

If Boychuk continues to feel well, he'll practice again with the team Friday and then could make his return to the lineup over the weekend. Given that teammate Nathan Horton hasn't skated for several weeks after his initial attempt to get back on the ice after a concussion, Boychuk knows these types of injuries can be tough to predict. However, he's not fretting over that.

"You can’t really be nervous," he said. "You go out there, you see how you feel. If you feel good, then you feel good. If you don't, then you get off."


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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:36 PM

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

New Jersey gets latest crack at defending champs

BOSTON -- The New Jersey Devils will try to snap a three-game losing streak, and also try to defeat the Boston Bruins for the first time in four tries this season, tonight at the TD Garden.

Although this is the Devils' final meeting with the Bruins in the regular season, they could run into the defending champs in the postseason. If the season ended today, second-seeded Boston and seventh-seeded New Jersey would meet.

Nonetheless, the Devils aren't looking at this game as any type of playoff preview. They're looking at it more like a chance to start playing better. They had won four in a row before their current slide.

"I think more so for ourselves, just to get back on track, try to get back in the winning column. We've been playing well, we've been playing some good hockey, we just need to do a better job of generating some more offense,"  captain Zach Parise said after the Devils' morning skate. "But I think this is definitely a team that's going to be there at the end of the year, so we definitely want to make sure we play a good game against them."

In an effort to jostle his team's offense, New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer has juggled his forward lines, including moving Dainius Zubrus from third-line center to second-line right wing with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias.

Here’s how the Devils' lineup should look tonight against the Bruins:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg


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Posted On Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 12:32 PM

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

Zanon will make Bruins' debut against Devils

BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed that defenseman Greg Zanon will make his debut with the team tonight when Boston hosts the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden.

Zanon was acquired in a trade from Minnesota on Monday and arrived in the Boston area late Tuesday night morning. He practiced with the team Wednesday and took part in an optional morning skate today.

"Obviously, every system has it's little adjustments. But hockey's hockey in the end, and you just go out there and play," Zanon said. "You just have to make sure you keep things in mind. It's a defensive style, so it's pretty easy for me just to fall into my spot and allow the rush to come to me and let the play happen. I'm not too much of an on-attack defenseman, so I'll wait for my opportunities, and when I get my opportunities to make a play, make a hit, I'm stepping up to do what I can."

Julien said that Mike Mottau, who was also traded to Boston on Monday, would be the healthy scratch against the Devils.

Here's the Bruins' projected lineup:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - David Krejci
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Brian Rolston - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Greg Zanon
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask



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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:12 PM

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

Gilroy to get first look from Senators

BOSTON -- Ottawa isn't wasting any time getting newly acquired defenseman Matt Gilroy into its lineup.

Gilroy, who was acquired Monday from Tampa Bay in a trade for Brian Lee, will make his Senators debut tonight at the TD Garden against the Boston Bruins and skate on a pair with Chris Phillips, according to coach Paul MacLean.

"He's got good size and he's got good mobility and he can make a pass," MacLean said after his team's morning skate. "So he gets the puck going up the ice. He has the ability to join the rush and even lead the rush at times. That’s the type of player that we like on the back end, and he gives us another puck-moving guy on the third pair that has the ability to bring offense. And in today's game, if you're not attacking with four people, you're not going to score goals."

Gilroy said he was excited to get traded up in the standings to a team currently holding a playoff spot. He also thinks his game will fit well with his new teammates.

"There's a lot of talented players here," Gilroy said. "They like to move the puck. And there's a lot of talented forwards here that like to work with the D on the rush, so it should be exciting to play with."

Defenseman Matt Carkner will be scratched along with forward Kaspars Daugavins, as MacLean will also re-insert Zenon Konopka into the Sens' lineup. Robin Lehner gets a second straight start in net.

"It's going to be fun," Lehner said. "I played Boston last year once. They're a good team, obviously, and a huge challenge for both me and the team."

Here's the Senators' projected lineup:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Bobby Butler
Colin Greening - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zenon Konopka - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Nick Foligno - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Robin Lehner
Alex Auld
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 1:00 PM

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

Bruins will have Rolston, Mottau in the lineup

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins' three deadline-day acquisitions were all in town this morning.

Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau, who were picked up from the New York Islanders, took the morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for tonight's game against Ottawa. Both are scheduled to play against the Senators.

Greg Zanon, who was acquired from Minnesota, arrived late in the morning. Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wants Zanon to get in a practice with the team Wednesday before playing the veteran blueliner in a game.

With Nathan Horton (concussion), Rich Peverley (knee) and Johnny Boychuk (concussion) currently out of the lineup, Boston needed the reinforcements.

"We've run into some injuries lately," Julien said. "That's been a challenge in itself to keep our lineup going in the right direction. So now there's a little bit more breathing room, as far as putting some guys in that have been around for a while."

Shawn Thornton has been ill, but took the skate and should be ready to go at puck drop.

Here is the Bruins' projected lineup for tonight:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - David Krejci
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Brian Rolston - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Andrew Ference
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Mike Mottau - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 12:24 PM

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

AHL recalls eager to get into Bruins' lineup

BOSTON -- With an 11-day, six-game road trip looming after they host the New York Rangers tonight at TD Garden, the Bruins have stocked their roster with a couple spare parts for use in case of emergency.

Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and forward Joshua Hennessy were recalled from the Providence (AHL) farm club Monday and both took part in the morning skate today. Both project to be healthy scratches against the Rangers.

For Hennessy, who was born in Brockton, Mass., joining his hometown team is a dream come true. The former second-round pick of San Jose is also overjoyed to be back in the NHL after skating in just 20 games over a three-season span and then playing last year in Switzerland.

Now he's 27 and feels better prepared to handle playing at the sport's highest level if he gets into the lineup.

"I'm a little older than the last time I was up. ... I'd say there's a lot less nerves this time," said Hennessy, whose only NHL experience came with Ottawa. "Should I get the opportunity to play, it's just move my feet, use my skating and puck-handling ability, I guess, and work hard, be responsible defensively -- leave an impression in absolutely any way possible."

Bodnarchuk also hasn't played in the NHL since the 2009-10 season, when he skated in four games for the Bruins. Boston used a fifth-round pick on Bodnarchuk in 2006, but other prospects have passed him on the depth chart the last couple seasons. Boston's desire to get regular seventh defenseman Steven Kampfer some consistent playing time in the AHL opened up this opportunity for Bodnarchuk, who has played better this season than last with the P-Bruins.

"This year I'm really, really happy with how the year's going. I think as a fourth-year pro, I'm still a young guy, but I have almost four years under my belt and I think the biggest thing for me has been my consistency," Bodnarchuk said. "Personally, game in and game out, I haven't had a bad game and I think that's a big thing for me. I came out of juniors an offensive guy and I sort of bought into the role as a defensive, shutdown PK guy. The consistency of my game in this year is what's really helped me come on and turn some more heads."


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Posted On Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 11:40 AM

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

Julien doesn't want Bruins concerned with standings

BOSTON -- The last time the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins met, they were neck and neck in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers left the TD Garden that afternoon with a win and sole possession of first place. Now they return to the scene of that dramatic overtime victory with a comfortable seven-point lead. Bruins coach Claude Julien, however, doesn't want his team worrying about the standings as much as what his players have to do on the ice tonight.

"I don't think we're necessarily looking at this game like we need to catch up with these guys more than we need to play well, and play well to give us a chance to win the game," Julien said after his team's optional morning skate. "It's as simple as that. Right now, our issues are a lot different than worrying about how far ahead they are or how much we need to catch up. We just have to go out there and play. And if we play well and do the job that we know we can, well hopefully we'll come up with a win and the rest will take care of itself."

The Bruins will leave for a six-game, 11-day road trip after facing the Rangers. So they've recalled defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk and forward Joshua Hennessy to provide depth while away from home. But for tonight, the lineup figures to feature the same players that beat Nashville on Saturday:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - David Krejci - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 1:09 PM

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

Lineups for Bruins, Predators

BOSTON – Two Vezina Trophy finalists from a season ago will square off today at TD Garden.
               
Tim Thomas gets the start for the Boston Bruins, while Pekka Rinne will do the same for the Nashville Predators. Both teams are coming off stretches that featured three losses in their last four games.
               
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

Bruins

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - David Krejci - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

Predators

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Yip - Craig Smith - Jordin Tootoo
Colin Wilson - Nick Spaling - Jerred Smithson

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Jack Hillen

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindbac
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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 11:36 AM

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

Bruins, Predators look for improved play

BOSTON – Two teams that have lost three of their last four games will meet this afternoon at TD Garden, as the Boston Bruins play host to the Nashville Predators.
               
Boston dropped its last outing, 6-0, at Buffalo on Wednesday. To a man, the Bruins know it’s not as bad, in general, as that score reflected. Now with just two home games left before a six-game road trip, the Bruins are looking forward to a better future.
               
“There’s some games like that,” said rookie forward Jordan Caron this morning. “There were a lot of little things that made it 6-0, and I think it’s going to happen during the season. We just have to bounce back.”
               
The Predators are 1-2-1 in their last four. In the three losses, they’ve allowed an uncharacteristic 11 goals. Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team ranks 12th with 2.58 goals allowed per game, knows that the Preds are only going to get better results once they improve their defensive play. They had won five in a row prior to their current slump.
               
“If we’re going to get back on track, we have to tighten things up [defensively],” said Trotz.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 12:56 PM

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

Lineups for Penguins-Bruins matinee

BOSTON – Despite the announcement that they recalled forward Jordan Caron from their Providence (AHL) farm club this morning, the Boston Bruins are going with the same lineup today that dropped a 3-0 decision to Carolina on Thursday night.
               
Caron will go with the Bruins on their trip to Washington for a game Sunday afternoon after their TD Garden matinee with Pittsburgh. Tim Thomas starts in goal for Boston, while Marc-Andre Fleury starts for the Penguins a few nights after snapping his streak of 23 straight starts.
               
Here are the projected lineups for both the Bruins and Penguins:

Bruins

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Zach Hamill
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

Penguins

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Dustin Jeffrey - Pascal Dupuis
Steve Sullivan - Cal O’Reilly - Tyler Kennedy
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Richard Park

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals