BOSTON - As the start of the 2019-20 season inches closer, the Bruins were down to one practice group on Friday morning, following Thursday's round of cuts, which had 12 players sent to Providence. With Boston's roster beginning to take shape, the team's excitement for Opening Night is building.
"Definitely, we are less than a week away," said David Pastrnak. "You've been working the whole summer to get ready for the season and it's getting close…you can see it on the faces of the guys."
But before the Bruins turn their full attention to the Oct. 3 matchup with the Dallas Stars, the Black & Gold have one last preseason game to play as they'll welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.
Most of Boston's Opening Night roster is likely to suit for the contest, including Patrice Bergeron, who will be making his preseason debut after managing a groin injury throughout training camp.
"He's gonna play tomorrow. That will be a good test for him, some live action," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He felt good today in practice. Sunday is a scheduled off day, he'll get some rest. Then we'll ramp it up Monday…he looks good right now and I anticipate he'll be full go on Thursday in Dallas."
Video: Pastrnak addresses media after Bruins Practice Friday
Here are some of the other notes from Friday's session at Warrior Ice Arena:
In other injury news, David Krejci (lower body), Joakim Nordstrom (foot), and Jack Studnicka (dental work) all missed Friday morning's practice. Here is the latest on all three, per Cassidy:
Krejci: "He's in today getting treatment. Obviously not on the ice. He won't play tomorrow. I think he'll be back on the ice Sunday or Monday and hopefully with the group early next week to get ready to go."
Nordstrom: "He won't play tomorrow. I was hoping that he'd get a game in before it was all said and done. We didn't think he would play until at least Wednesday or Saturday, but he's got neither. So, a little behind schedule. We'll see how that plays out.
"I think something just lingered. I guess setback may be the word. Didn't come around as quickly as he'd like…we don't expect it's gonna drag on forever, but we were hoping he'd be back up to speed by now or early next week.
"It could still happen early next week, but we did want to get him in a game and it didn't happen."
Studnicka: "He had dental work today. He'll be back on the ice tomorrow. Won't play tomorrow."
Video: Cassidy Addresses Media After Friday's Practice
With Krejci and Nordstrom question marks for the start of the regular season, there may be some added opportunity for Par Lindholm. Signed as a free agent on July 1, the center has performed well to this point in training camp and could provide Cassidy with some valuable depth lower in the lineup.
"He feels that he has more to give offensively," said Cassidy. "He knows what we have in the middle of the ice, but still feels given an opportunity that he could certainly slide up there if the situation were to allow him to do that. So far he's been a man of his word saying he could do it."
Lindholm had a strong performance in the Bruins' preseason win over New Jersey on Wednesday night while playing on a line with Anders Bjork and David Backes. Lindholm assisted on Backes' third-period tally and also rang a breakaway attempt off the post late in the final frame.
"He made some good plays - that line was lights out offensively the other night," said Cassidy. "They worked hard away from the puck. Backes' goal was a great example. Bjorkie gets back to break up a play and off they go the other way.
"Lindy makes a good play, breakaway, nice shot, beat the goalie clean. Made some plays in small areas. It doesn't cost him anything at the other end defending, he's been solid. So far, so good."
The 27-year-old Sweden native is entering his second season in the NHL after nearly a decade of playing in his home country. Last year, he played 61 games for Toronto, posting a 1-11-12 line, before being traded to Winnipeg at the trade deadline.
As he once again deals with a change in scenery, Lindholm is beginning to get more comfortable with his new teammates.
"When you get to know them it's easier to play with them too," said Lindholm. "I feel comfortable. I think we had a really good game - me, Backes, and Bjorkie. It felt good. We worked hard for each other, scored a goal too. Could have been more goals, but we won the game."
Video: Lindholm speaks to media after practice
Clearing the Hurdle
Forwards Paul Carey and Brendan Gaunce and defenseman Alex Petrovic all cleared waivers and will be assigned to the Providence Bruins. On Thursday, Petrovic was signed to a one-year contract with an NHL cap hit of $700,000.
Friday's Practice Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - Charlie Coyle - Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork - Par Lindholm - Brett Ritchie
Cameron Hughes - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Danton Heinen - Trent Frederic - David Backes
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Steven Kampfer
Jakub Zboril - Connor Clifton