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Bergeron Questionable for Saturday’s Game in Minnesota

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

ST. PAULPatrice Bergeron was the only player absent from practice on Friday when the Bruins hit the ice at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota, on the second stop of their six-game road trip.

Head Coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron’s absence was considered maintenance.

“Yeah, and right now, I can’t guarantee [Saturday],” said Julien. “We’ll see [Saturday] how he is, so I’d leave him as questionable right now.”

The Bruins face the Minnesota Wild in a Saturday afternoon matinee at 2:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. local time).

Bergeron played only four shifts in the third period, logging 3:15 in ice time.

“I’m not quite sure all the details, but you know, the trainer told me — that’s why I kind of minimized his ice there in the third period,” said Julien. “So I was trying to manage and save him there and so we really cut down his ice time.”

The centerman dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler with about six minutes to go in the second period on Thursday night in Winnipeg. It marked his second NHL regular season fight during (with the other one coming against Tyler Myers, in addition to two postseason fights against Josh Gorges and Evgeni Malkin).

“You know, you don’t like seeing your star players but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and there’s stuff that happens,” said Julien. “And at one point, a player says, ‘You know what? Enough is enough here, I’m going to stand up for myself here.’”

“And from what I gathered, there were a lot of slashes behind the play and stuff like that, so he took things upon himself.”

Despite the time management of Bergeron’s shifts, he made the most of them, notching his second goal of the night to make it a 5-2 game en route to the 6-2 win.

“He’s a phenomenal player and he’s such a warrior and one that we can all look at and try and follow in his footsteps,” said Marchand. “And the way that he played [in Winnipeg] — it was such a big game and you know, he had two very big goals and especially in the third there after that fight where, he didn’t have to go after Wheels [Blake Wheeler], but you know, I think he was going to show the team that he was going to step up and lead the way.”

“You can’t have enough respect for that guy and we wouldn’t be the same team without him.”

Bergeron’s teammates are hoping he’ll be ready to go for Saturday’s game.

“Well, first of all, we’re hoping he’s not going to miss anything,” said fellow centerman David Krejci. “But if he is, then it’s not going to be easy. A guy like that, you can’t replace, so we’re going to have to find a way to do it without him if he won’t be playing.”

During Friday’s practice, Landon Ferraro slotted into Bergeron’s spot alongside Marchand and Brett Connolly, while David Pastrnak slotted into the center’s position on the first power play unit.

Managing the Game

On Thursday night, the Bruins allowed 30 shots on goal in the first 30 minutes of the game, before clamping down defensively. They then held the Jets shot-less for the ensuing 23 minutes, allowing just six more shots on Tuukka Rask, which all came in the final seven minutes of the game.

“We didn’t have a very good first period, but as the game went on, our best players became our best players and they took control of the game,” said Julien. “Our third period was very good as far as managing the score. We made it 4-2 and then we kind of made sure that we weren’t giving them any kind of momentum and because of that, we were able to score our fifth, and obviously an empty-netter.”

“So it’s about managing the clock. It’s about managing the game situation, and I thought our team did a good job of that in the third.”

The Bruins will have to carry over that smart play from the end of the game into this weekend’s back-to-back with Minnesota and Detroit, and the rest of the road trip, for that matter.

“Everyone has to step up and be better,” said Marchand. “With the position that we’re in, on this road trip, we want to make sure that we’re playing well every night and to do that, you can’t have four or five guys going — you need the whole team and if you have one weak link, it’s enough to kill the game so we need to make sure we’re prepared each and every game and we need to make sure we step up.”

Wild Outlook

Minnnesota has lost seven straight games and is 1-7-2 in their last 10. The most recent loss came on Thursday when the Wild was edged by the Washington Capitals, who remain at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota is still a tough Central Division team to play against, with big bodies always causing havoc in front.

“We started on the right foot,” Krejci said of the Bruins' road trip. “Saturday, we have a tough game. I know they might not be playing their best hockey, but still, they’re a good team. They’re going to play a hard-fought game, so we’re going to have to be ready.”

Practice Lineup 2/12

Brad MarchandLandon FerraroBrett Connolly

Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Loui ErikssonRyan SpoonerJimmy Hayes

Zac RinaldoMax TalbotTyler Randell

Zdeno CharaZach Trotman

Joe MorrowDennis Seidenberg

Torey KrugKevan Miller

Colin MillerAdam McQuaid

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson

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