BOSTON - It doesn't take much for Patrice Bergeron to get up for a tilt against the Canadiens.
Through his 16 NHL seasons, the center has suited up for 95 games against Montreal across the regular season and four postseason series. For the Quebec native, the rivalry between the Bruins and Habs is unmatched, no matter where the teams sit in the standings.
"We're facing a team that [it] doesn't take much to get [excited] for," said Bergeron. "It's always fun to play against Montreal, always tough games…fun for the fans and everybody."
While the intensity level is always high between the divisional foes, the Bruins are preparing for an added level of desperation as the Habs (5 points out of a playoff spot with 24 games to play) fight to keep themselves in the postseason hunt with the stretch run fast approaching.
"As the season progresses, you see the desperation from a lot of teams," said Bergeron. "It's a good thing for us and for everyone. It's the type of hockey that you want to play and be a part of. Again, we know when that happens and that desperation comes in, they're not easy games. They're tough and hard fought…it's what we need to get ready for. Looking forward to it."
The Bruins, however, will have their own motivation on Wednesday night as they look to bounce back from Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Red Wings, a setback that snapped their six-game winning streak.
"Obviously we've had a good streak here," said Jake DeBrusk. "Didn't like our last game against Detroit, but we're moving on to Montreal - a pretty emotional game for both sides, so it should be lots of fun, understanding that teams are coming for us. They pretty much have been all year ever since our start."
Video: Bergeron talks to media after Tuesday's practice
Halak on the Mend
After being a late scratch for Sunday's game in Detroit, Jaroslav Halak practiced in full on Tuesday afternoon and did not appear to have any limitations. Cassidy believes the netminder is on schedule to start one end of this weekend's back-to-back, most likely on Sunday in New York.
"Just a little nagging thing that maybe if it's a night game he gets through it in the morning and gets some treatment. I think it had something to do with the timing as well," Cassidy said while referring to Sunday's 12:30 puck drop. "Just a lot of bad things running together. I don't believe it will be a problem. It does make us think, 'How are we gonna schedule it this week because he's gonna play one of the two.'
"Maybe he just goes in Sunday, we set it up that way, he has a chance to get off the plane and relax and get his treatment the next morning."
Video: Cassidy talks with media after Tuesday's practice
Clifton Returns to Practice
For the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 29 against Buffalo, Connor Clifton participated fully in practice. He split reps with John Moore alongside regular partner Matt Grzelcyk and is nearing a return to game action, though he will not play on Wednesday against Montreal, according to Cassidy.
"Felt really good, felt good to be back with the guys, first contact practice. It was nice to get that under the belt. Progressing well. Hopefully [back] soon," said Clifton. "Just like anyone, you don't want to really watch, you want to play. But injuries happen in this game. It's part of the process. You've just got to battle through when you're injured to get back."
When he returns, there will be plenty of competition with Moore and Jeremy Lauzon - currently serving his two-game suspension - battling for playing time on Boston's third pairing.
"It's awesome to have competition in the lineup," said Clifton. "Obviously we have a lot of great defensemen here. It will be a battle. I'm just excited to get back and get healthy and have the ability to play."
Cassidy also noted that Joakim Nordstrom - out for the last four games due to complications with allergies - is expected back in the lineup against the Habs.
Video: Clifton returns to practice as full participant
Tuesday's Practice Rundown
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom/Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - Anders Bjork
Anton Blidh - Sean Kuraly/Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - John Moore/Connor Clifton
Video: DeBrusk and Carlo talk with media after practice