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Bear Essentials: B's Head for T.O.

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Editor's note: The latest updates, including news on Marc Savard and Andrew Ference,  can be found  at the bottom of the page. Scroll down for the latest info. JB

Where we are at…

Morning Updatte: The Bruins have seven games remaining and remain in eighth place in the Eastern Conference:

Conference standings reflect the order in which teams would qualify for the playoffs. Division leaders (marked with a *) are automatically seeded first through third.
Eastern Conference
1 MONTREAL* 76 42 24   10 94 240 208 19-13-6 23-11-4 6-3-1
2 PITTSBURGH* 75 43 25   7 93 233 204 23-10-5 20-15-2 7-3-0
3 CAROLINA* 76 41 30   5 87 232 233 22-12-3 19-18-2 8-2-0
4 NEW JERSEY 75 42 26   7 91 191 180 22-13-2 20-13-5 5-4-1
5 OTTAWA 75 41 27   7 89 238 222 22-13-3 19-14-4 5-4-1
6 NY RANGERS 75 39 26   10 88 198 184 23-13-1 16-13-9 6-2-2
7 PHILADELPHIA 76 38 28   10 86 231 220 19-14-6 19-14-4 5-3-2
8 BOSTON 75 37 28   10 84 193 209 19-15-4 18-13-6 2-4-4
9 WASHINGTON 76 37 31   8 82 221 223 20-15-3 17-16-5 7-3-0
10 BUFFALO 75 35 29   11 81 235 222 19-14-5 16-15-6 4-4-2
11 FLORIDA 76 36 31   9 81 205 209 18-13-8 18-18-1 8-1-1
12 TORONTO 76 35 31   10 80 217 233 17-15-5 18-16-5 7-3-0
13 NY ISLANDERS 76 33 36   7 73 181 227 17-17-3 16-19-4 2-8-0
14 ATLANTA 77 31 38   8 70 204 259 18-18-3 13-20-5 2-7-1
15 TAMPA BAY 75 29 38   8 66 211 245 18-17-2 11-21-6 3-6-1

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
As far as the playoff chase is concerned, Mirtle (, who believes 92 points should do it in the East, puts his projection, thusly:

Montreal - qualified, March 20
Pittsburgh - qualified, March 22
New Jersey - 0-6-1
Ottawa - 1-5-1
N.Y. Rangers - 2-5-0
Carolina - 2-3-1
Philadelphia - 3-3-0
Boston - 4-3-0
Buffalo - 5-1-1
Washington - 5-1-0
Florida - 5-0-1
Toronto - 6-0-0
N.Y. Islanders - max 85 points
Atlanta - max 80 points
Tampa Bay - max 80 points

The above is sobering, considering the fact that there are no easy games remaining in the schedule. And after the game on Saturday, Coach Julien was asked if there were any solace in garnering a point from Montreal. Julien admitted that there was some satisfaction there, but it was also clear that the Boston bench boss felt that the B's had missed an opportunity.

"Unfortunately, at this time of year we need two points," said Coach. "That's [the most] disappointing part of it.

"It's kind of like a broken record, but we have a hard time finishing and scoring goals and it always seems to come back and bite us.

"We're going to have to find ways to put pucks in," he said.

That task may have gotten harder. Boston's leading point scorer, Marc Savard, went down after a third period crosscheck from Montreal's Steve Begin and was clearly in some discomfort for the remainder of the evening.

His status will be updated, today, presumably after the B's practice in Wilmington.

Following their on-ice session the Bruins will head to the airport to catch a plane to Toronto. They face the Maple Leafs Tuesday and Thursday, knowing full well that the Buds are only four points behind them.

Despite their recent offensive issues, the fight has clearly not left the club as evidenced by P.J. Axelsson's heroics in the Bell Centre Saturday day. He took on Maxim Lapierre in only the second fight of his major league career.

Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
"There are guys on this team that do that as a job and for a living," said Shawn Thornton. "For him to go out there and do that shows you how dedicated he is to this squad and how much of a leader he is.

"It gets the guys going…someone like Axie showing how bad he wants it, so I couldn't be happier right now, seeing that."

Thornton was also asked about rookie Petteri Nokelainen chipping in with a big goal.

"He might be one of the hardest working guys I've ever played with," said Thorts. "And it's good for it to finally pay off for him.

"[Chuckling] Unfortunately, he keeps scoring when I am not on the ice, so I can't get the numbers to pad my stats.

"But it was great to see," he said.

Nokelainen was subdued about his goal, but it was clear that he was happy to have contributed.

"I try to make the most of all of my shifts," said Noke, who found out he was playing only after the warm up before the game.

"I think there was a change," said Nokelainen of his goal. "[Lucic] made a great play [when] he dangled in and found [Stuart] from the point."

Mark found Nokelainen going to the net and the young forward beat Carey Price.

Coach Julien pointed to his goal as an example of what the Bruins must do to manufacture more offense.

"If there is one thing that [Nokelainen] has given us is a good effort," said Julien. "And he was rewarded with a goal by going to the net -- [just] like the way we want the rest of the team to do it.

"It was certainly a good example, there."

5:55 p.m.
Afternoon update...We have arrived in Toronto.

But even before the Bruins left, Coach Julien gave a brief update on Marc Savard and Andrew Ference.

Tough news for a team enduring a tough stretch.

"Savvy's situation is a result from the crosscheck the other night," he told the media gathered in the Ristuccia Center on Monday. "He's having a CAT scan done today and we'll probably know more later on today.

"But he will not be making the trip, there is no doubt about that."

And Ference?

"With Ference it is a leg injury and that happened last game, as well," said Coach Julien. "He's day-to-day. And will definitely not be making the trip with us for tomorrow's game.

"But after that, he'll be a day-to-day situation."

Matt Lashoff skated in Ference's place at today's practice.

6:12 p.m.
Here's the latest on Marc Savard -- the Bruins forward has a lower back/mid-torso injury which will keep him out of at least the next two games. He will be reevaluated later in the week.
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