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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 3:54 PM

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

Bruins get boost from changes on defense

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins made one change to their defensive corps between Games 1 and 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series with the Montreal Canadiens.

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros replaced Matt Bartkowski, who had played four straight games dating back to the first round against the Detroit Red Wings.

Against Montreal, Meszaros had an assist and took one minor penalty in 16:35 of ice time.

"It's not what he [Meszaros] gave me, it's what we decided to do," Bruins coach Claude Julien said during an off day Sunday. "It's as simple as that. I think we felt we needed a change and we made that."

Although Julien wouldn't elaborate on his decision, Bartkowski's play had an impact on Boston's Game 1 loss. The defenseman, who missed the first two games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an illness, took two penalties against the Canadiens, including one that led to defenseman P.K. Subban's game-winning goal in double overtime. Bartkowski also struggled on breakouts and with decision making in 26:26 of ice time. He had a plus-1 rating.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 3:31 PM

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

Bruins remain confident in struggling power play

BOSTON – It would have been difficult for the Boston Bruins to improve a power play that went 6-for-16 in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings and ranked third in the regular season at 21.7 percent efficiency, but few people expected this.

Through two games of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens, Boston's power play has been less of a weapon. The Bruins went a combined 0-for-5 in the two games, which they split to send to the series to Bell Centre for Game 3 on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"We definitely have to improve," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said Sunday. "You know special teams win you hockey games. And their power play is showing up and our penalty kill's not, and our power play is struggling to find the back of the net. We're getting good looks, though. We have good movement and good momentum. But at the end of the day, in the playoffs that doesn't matter. You've got to score goals and I think we're on the verge of finding the back of the net, for sure."

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 3:59 PM

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

Bruins' Bartkowski putting poor Game 1 behind him

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The day after a 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, only a handful of Boston Bruins players took part in an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday.

Among those that took the ice was defenseman Matt Bartkowski. The 25-year-old was clearly still frustrated that his holding penalty on Montreal forward Dale Weise at 4:10 of the second overtime set the stage for Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban’s game-winning goal seven seconds later.

Bartkowski wasn't just fixated on that penalty. He was upset about his entire body of work during his 26:26 of ice time.

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 3:02 PM

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

Rask's Game 1 performance no concern for Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- After the Boston Bruins lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask used an expletive to describe his play in net.

Rask made 29 saves on 33 shots in the 4-3 double-overtime loss. The Vezina Trophy finalist, who leads all goaltenders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 1.52 goals-against average and .946 save percentage, has always been blunt after his rare subpar games in the NHL.

That's why the Bruins love Rask as a person as much as they do as a goaltender. He's a teammate on equal footing with everyone in the dressing room. He hangs out with the guys off the ice and doesn’t request special treatment.

With Game 2 of the best-of-7 series at TD Garden on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), Rask's teammates voiced their support of their goaltender Friday after an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:15 PM

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

Bruins' Paille cleared, while Marchand misses practice

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins have a couple question marks at left wing heading into Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Daniel Paille took the morning skate and has been cleared to play. He's been out since the next-to-last game of the regular season, including missing the five-game first-round series win against the Detroit Red Wings.

But Paille didn't take line rushes with his usual linemates, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Instead, he skated with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith at TD Garden because Brad Marchand was missing.

"He took his option," Bruins coach Claude Julien said about Marchand.

Marchand practiced with the Bruins on Wednesday, but he missed practice on Tuesday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 1:24 PM

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

Bruins' Paille could return against Canadiens

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins might add some speed and experience to their lineup in time for the start of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

The series is scheduled to start later this week.

Forward Daniel Paille, who hasn't played since sustaining a concussion on April 12, took contact during practice at TD Garden on Tuesday.

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Posted On Monday, 04.28.2014 / 2:25 PM

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

Chiarelli feels Bruins have speed to match Canadiens

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins were able to finish off their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 on Saturday.

So now, regardless of when the Bruins' Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens starts later this week, Boston will be rested, even if Montreal will have an edge on that front. The Canadiens won their first-round series in four games with a victory last Tuesday.

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli is grateful for his team's respite.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 7:24 PM

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

After 'challenging year,' Alfredsson unsure of future

BOSTON -- Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson was non-committal about his future Saturday after losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round to the Boston Bruins, 4-2, at TD Garden.

The Bruins won the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

The 41-year-old forward returned to the Red Wings lineup for Game 5 after missing two games because of a back injury. He did not have a point in the Stanley Cup Playoff series.

"You take some time off here and just decompose everything, take everything in,” Alfredsson said after he was asked about next season. "There’s been a lot of new impressions obviously for me and my family, but overall we've had a fun, challenging year. We've all learned a lot, so I'll take some time and settle down, and start the process from there."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 2:58 PM

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

Alfredsson's return among Detroit's Game 5 moves

BOSTON -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock confirmed Saturday that forward Daniel Alfredsson is scheduled to play against the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round on at TD Garden (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

Alfredsson replaces Todd Bertuzzi.

Babcock also said goaltender Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup to back up starter Jonas Gustavsson and defenseman Xavier Ouellet will replace Jakub Kindl.

The Red Wings will try to avoid elimination, down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 4:52 PM

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

Bruins up 3-1 again, look to apply lessons from 2013

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins won Game 4 in overtime and hold a 3-1 series lead.

No, this isn't the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's 2014. But the scenario seems awfully familiar.

It was just last year that Boston took a 3-1 lead in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals only to let the Toronto Maple Leafs extend the series to seven games. The Bruins will try to avoid the same fate when they host the Detroit Red Wings for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at TD Garden on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

"You get these opportunities, and sometimes it's more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge," said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who Friday was named one of the three Vezina Trophy finalists. "You kind of start thinking about the end score of the game before the game even starts, and you kind of feel and hope that you get to do that. But I think we've learned over the years that it doesn't help us. We just have to focus on our job and the game itself, and then the results will take care of themselves. I hope we learned from the past years and are ready for tomorrow."

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday