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Beleskey Back in Lineup Against Anaheim

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Matt Beleskey will be back in the lineup on Wednesday night in Anaheim against his former team.

 

Game time is set for 10:30 p.m. EST (7:30 p.m. local time) on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. 

 

Beleskey was a healthy scratch in San Jose on Sunday night, as the Bruins kicked off a four-game road trip out West. 

The Bruins forward has been a scratch for two of the last three games. Earlier in December and January, he missed 23 games with a right knee injury from Dec. 5 through Jan. 18. He has two goals and five assists in 33 games played this season. 

 

"I think that's really all you can do when you don't play, is just work hard, and try and get better," Beleskey said of not being in the lineup. "And I've been working with the coaches, trying to work on the foot speed, get back from missing a lot of games - it's taken me a bit to get going, but hopefully tonight I can make some strides and hopefully stay in the lineup."

 

Beleskey could also get a boost from playing against the team that he spent seven seasons with before signing with the Bruins as a free agent in 2015. This is his second time playing in Anaheim as a member f the visiting team. 

 

"It's always fun to come back here, see some familiar faces," said Beleskey. "We had a lot of fun here, but I'm looking forward to getting two points tonight, hopefully coming back in the lineup and being able to contribute and play my game."

 

The forward hopes to help the Bruins extend their win streak to five games on Wednesday night. 

 

"I think we've just got to look at the first period, get a good start, and kind of go from there," said Beleskey. "I think we've been playing pretty well, putting together a full 60 minutes, and that's going to keep winning us games."

 

Bruins Benefit from Practice Time

 

The schedule has been kind to the Bruins lately with a stretch of practice days - a rarity this season. 

 

"Well, I think every team probably has their scheduling where it's difficult to get your practice time in. We needed it earlier in the year and we didn't have it," said Bruins Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "Now we have some, and we're going to take advantage of it."

 

The players have felt the positive effects of it so far. They had two more practice days on Monday and Tuesday to hone their skills and work on improvements after Sunday's game in San Jose. 

 

"It's been a weird season, just because we've been playing so much, so having these little breaks, I think guys quite appreciate it, getting a couple practice days to work on little things out there," said Riley Nash. "I think the preparation level goes up a little bit. But at the same time, when you're in game mode, you react pretty quick out there."

 

Rask Expected to Start vs. Anaheim 

 

Tuukka Rask is expected to start in goal on Wednesday night against Anaheim, with Anton Khudobin slated to start between the pipes against the Kings in LA on Thursday. 

 

The back end will remain the same for Wednesday, wit Joe Morrow and John-Michael Liles the healthy scratches. 

 

With Beleskey slotting back into the lineup, Tim Schaller will be a scratch up front. 

 

Austin Czarnik continues practicing with the group, but he remains on Injured Reserve and is not available for Wednesday's game. 

 

On Wednesday morning, the Bruins held an optional pregame skate that was well-attended.

 

"Everyone has their own decision to make on that - generally you at least get half the guys, especially when we didn't play for a couple games," said Cassidy. "I thought we had two good spirited practices and we gave them the option, and a few of the guys took it, but right now, they're enjoying being at the rink, so I think that's the biggest reason they're out there."

 

Projected Lineup vs. Anaheim Feb. 22

 

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes

Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak 

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes 

Matt Beleskey-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash

 

Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo 

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller-Colin Miller

 

Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Anton Khudobin 

 

Scratches: Tim Schaller, Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles

 

Injured Reserve: Austin Czarnik 

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