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Bruins Hope to Break Bye Week Trend

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

SAN JOSE - After six days without a game, the Bruins are back in action against the San Jose Sharks at the Shark Tank on Sunday night. 

 

Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. EST (5:30 local time) on NBCSN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. 

 

With the bye week gone, the Black & Gold are hoping to curb a trend around the league that has seen teams coming off their bye weeks go 3-12-4, and get outscored by a 60-23 margin. 

"Yeah, you know, and we're not going to overanalyze it," said Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "I think we're well aware that teams have struggled."

 

The B's do have the slight benefit of being in the road mindset.

 

"But I think the road teams are a little different animal - I think they've actually played decent hockey," said Cassidy. "Chicago, we watched some of that game [on Saturday] night, they were pretty good even though they lost, so getting out of town and re-focusing, I think it's an advantage being on the road, to start out of the break."

 

The players were just as cool and calm as Cassidy. There's a highly apparent energy around the team - partly from five days of recharging, and partly because they went into the break on a three-game winning streak, having earned wins over San Jose (6-3), Vancouver (4-3) and Montreal (4-0). 

 

"I think we're confident in the tweaks that we made, and the system, and we're playing much more aggressive and assertive," said defenseman Torey Krug. "And I think when we do that, we're playing in the fun zone in the offensive zone, and everybody likes to do that, so if we can do that, and continue to maintain that aggressive style of play, then I think that it will be fun for us to be a part of."

 

Krug and the Bruins hit the ice on Sunday morning at the SAP Center in San Jose for a brief pregame skate to get the legs moving, and get themselves back in the right frame of mind. 

 

Often on the days of earlier games, the team won't practice.

 

"Typically, we probably wouldn't skate, but just to get out there and get your legs moving, get some of that mental rust out of there," said Krug. "So it's just about shaking off the cobwebs and getting read to go for tonight."

 

Video: Krug breaks down Bruins matchup with San Jose

 

While the Bruins sat out for six days, other teams around the Atlantic Division began to finally catch up in games played - giving the B's a better idea of where they sit in the standings. 

 

On Sunday morning, Boston was in the second Wild Card spot with 64 points through 58 games. Toronto has 63 points, with two teams at 62 points apiece, and the lowest teams - Detroit and Carolina - each owning 56 points (though Carolina has only played 54 games). 

 

The gist? The standings are tight. 

 

"Yeah, they're tight and I think they're going to stay that way," said Cassidy. "I've said it before - we've got to worry about the Boston Bruins, take care of business, win our share of games, and see where that leaves us at the end of the day."

 

"Coaches, we watch a lot of stuff, a lot of stats, a lot of standings - I just don't like bringing it into the room every day. I think the players in our room are very good professionals, they know the situation, so we're really trying to handle it one game at a time, play the opponent that's in front of us, and be good enough to control our own destiny."

 

Lineup Updates vs. San Jose

 

Cassidy said that forward Austin Czarnik remains on Injured Reserve, as he recovers from a lower-body injury. The forward has skated with the team for the past two days. 

 

Callup Peter Cehlarik will remain in the lineup, playing on a line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak. 

 

Matt Beleskey will be the healthy scratch up front. On the back end, Joe Morrow and John-Michael Liles will be out. 

 

Cassidy confirmed that Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes against the Sharks. 

 

Looking ahead, the plan for the Bruins' Southern California back-to-back against Anaheim and Los Angeles on Wednesday and Thursday is for Rask and Anton Khudobin to split the games. 

 

Pregame Skate Lines and Defense Pairings 2/19

 

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes

Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak 

Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes 

Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash

 

Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo 

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller-Colin Miller

 

Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Anton Khudobin 

 

Scratches: Matt Beleskey, Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles

Injured Reserve: Austin Czarnik (lower-body) 

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