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Bergeron a Game-Time Decision Against Panthers

Bruins center missed pregame skate in Sunrise

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

SUNRISE, Fla. - Patrice Bergeron's status is in question for Tuesday night's matchup against the Florida Panthers.

The Bruins' alternate captain was not on the ice for the team's pregame skate at the BB&T Center.

"He's got some maintenance going on today and we'll have to probably make that decision tonight," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the skate.

Julien said the maintenance is not in regards to something that happened during Monday's practice.

"It happened after practice," he said, when he was asked more about Bergeron's absence.

The center missed the first three games of the season with a lower-body injury before playing five straight games, including the Bruins' 1-0 win in Detroit on Saturday that kicked off a three-game road trip.

"Not an old issue; it's a new one," said Julien, who deemed Bergeron a "game-time decision."

"We'll know more as we get near the end of the day, whether he'll be in the warmup and whether he'll play," Julien said.

With Bergeron's status up in the air, the Bruins recalled forward Sean Kuraly on an emergency basis. He's suited up in eight games for the Providence Bruins in his first professional season following four years at Miami University (Ohio).

He skated on a line with Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes for pregame skate. David Krejci centered Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen, while Ryan Spooner moved to center with Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik on his wings. The fourth line with Tim Schaller, Dominic Moore and Noel Acciari stayed intact.

The Bruins will still be without David Pastrnak for one more game, as he serves out the final game of his two-game suspension on Tuesday night.

They also remain without David Backes, who is recovering from elbow surgery (he had the olecranon bursa removed from his elbow about a week ago, on Oct. 24).

The latest update on Backes came following Monday's practice, when Julien said that he's "getting better" and that he's moved beyond the concern of infection.

"That's headed in the right direction that way," Julien said. "I think if everything goes well, he should start skating in the next day or two."

It's doubtful that Backes will join the Bruins on their road trip that ends in Tampa on Thursday night against the Lightning.

"I think the sooner we'll get him will probably be when we get home," Julien said. "I say doubtful [for these next two games] - doesn't mean it's impossible, but I'd say doubtful right now."

Regardless of who's in or out of the lineup, the Bruins need to find a way to put forth another team effort like they did in Detroit to earn the shutout.

"I think we've got to play good attention to details, especially defensively," said Marchand. "Missing those three guys, they're obviously very big parts of our team, but again, we have to find a way to win no matter what and the easiest way to do that is to play a very sound game and play strong defensively and work on our chances after that."

That's the type of game Kuraly will be looking to play, if Bergeron can't play and he slots into the lineup.

"For me, it's playing simple and hard and fast, and just sticking to the basics and trying to play my game and not get focused on other things," said Kuraly, who got the call for his first NHL recall around 5:30 p.m. on Monday night, before hopping on an 8:30 flight down to Florida.

"It's just good to be here and whatever happens, it's kind of out of my control, so I'm just going to be ready to play, and see what happens," he said.

Julien remembers well the type of player that Kuraly was during training camp.

"He was a hard competitor," said Julien. "I thought that he skated hard, competed hard and to me, just had to polish his game a little bit, and there's a possibility that he may be in our lineup tonight, and from what I'm told, he was the next guy to come up, so I'm OK with that, having seen what I saw in training camp."

"He's got to play his game and he's got to do the things I talked about that impressed us - his work ethic, compete level, and all of that stuff. He's a strong player, he's pretty strong on the puck, he's pretty good at battles."

"So, we always ask our guys when they come up to play their game and understand that the reason they're up there is because we like what we see."

Tuukka Rask looks to start his second straight game after his return from injury. He was the first goalie off the ice during pregame skate.

Pregame Skate Lines and Defense Pairings 11/1

Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Danton Heinen
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Austin Czarnik
Sean Kuraly-Riley Nash-Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Noel Acciari
David Pastrnak

Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
John-Michael Liles-Colin Miller
Joe Morrow

Projected Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Zane McIntyre

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