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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final

Ference's return brings stability to Bruins' top-four

Monday, 06.03.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com / Penguins-Bruins series blog

PITTSBURGH -- Defenseman Andrew Ference's presence in the Boston Bruins lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final was akin to a child reaching for a favorite blanket -- it created comfort.

The Bruins' top-four on defense of Zdeno Chara with Dennis Seidenberg and Ference with Johnny Boychuk has remained intact over the last three years, including Boston's Stanley Cup win in 2011. That familiarity is especially important when facing a team with two dangerous top lines like the Pittsburgh Penguins have, and it should serve the Bruins well again in Game 2 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It's just that we've played together for a while and it's just being comfortable with each other," Boychuk said Monday. "Not that I'm not comfortable with Matt [Bartkowski], because we played well together as well. But we've played together, me and [Ference], for the last three or four playoffs, so we kind of know what to expect from each other."

The Bruins were able to shut out the Penguins in Game 1 largely because this group was so strong, but they know they will need to be even better in Game 2.

"We're sure of them coming out a little harder than they did last game, and better," Seidenberg said. "We just need to try to step it up just as much and answer that push they're going to have. It will be interesting to see if we're going to be ready tonight."

The Bruins shouldn't have any lineup changes in Game 2, though right wing Jaromir Jagr did not take part in the morning skate. He is not expected to sit out the game.

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronJaromir Jagr

Rich PeverleyChris KellyTyler Seguin

Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaDennis Seidenberg

Andrew FerenceJohnny Boychuk

Adam McQuaidTorey Krug

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory