CHICAGO, Ill. — The Bruins face another tough test on Sunday, when they close out their two-game road trip against the Blackhawks.
Game time is set for 11:30 a.m. local time on NBC (12:30 ET).
“A big game, we’ve known that coming into it,” said Torey Krug. “These games down the stretch mean a lot obviously and it’s a good test for us. I think we’re ready for a big matchup, and hopefully we respond.”
The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Saturday afternoon at Johnny’s IceHouse in Chicago, after arriving late Friday night from St. Louis.
With their 6-5 win over the Blues on Friday, the Bruins managed to stay third in the Atlantic Division at 90 points.
Detroit picked up a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild to stay one point back of the Bruins. The Red Wings are right back in action on Saturday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Boston is still in control of its playoff hopes, with now just four games left.
Friday’s offensive outburst should serve as a source of confidence.
“I think this group just always sticks with it, no matter what happens — the outcomes of games or the situation,” said Krug. “We just try to keep an even-keel perspective and make sure we come back and play with the right attitude and the right way, and just keep it going.”
The Bruins could be down another defenseman when the puck drops against Chicago on Sunday.
They are already without Dennis Seidenberg, who stayed back in Boston with a lower-body injury. In Friday’s game, Kevan Miller left with a lower-body injury late in the first period.
Head Coach Claude Julien labeled Miller “doubtful” for Sunday’s matchup.
“We’ve got some guys who have played with us all year — it’s not like we’ve got somebody coming in who hasn’t been with our team yet this year,” said Julien. “And we’ll deal with it the right way and get the right pairs out there at the right time.”
“We’ll have enough guys there to do the job [on Sunday], so that’s just part of the concept of having some injuries.”
“We’ve just got to make sure we stay within ourselves and no one can try to act like a superhero out there,” said Krug. “Just stick to your guns and what makes you successful, and hopefully as a group we can pull it together and just try to do it as a committee.”
Zach Trotman would likely slot into the lineup.
“You know, we have guys who can step up,” said Tuukka Rask. “Everybody — the younger D’s, they’ve played a lot this year, so they’re comfortable stepping in, so we’re not going to be worried. We know we have a good team, and injuries happen, so you need to have depth for guys to step up.”
No matter who’s part of the Bruins’ defense corps, the entire team will need to lock down defensively against the skilled Blackhawks.
While the offense was finally there in St. Louis, the Bruins didn’t like how they let the Blues back into the game in the third period after holding a 5-2 lead.
“Well, maybe score six goals, but don’t let it any,” Rask said of what he’d like to replicate — and chance — about Friday’s game. “I thought we played a good game. A couple kind of bad bounces from my standpoint, point of view. Great offense, we were skating and working hard. Obviously letting in five goals is not ideal, but we got the win. Just try to keep the battle level high.”
The last time the Bruins faced Chicago, in Boston on Mar. 3, they earned a strong 4-2 win.
“I thought we played a real good game. I thought we skated well. I thought we were moving the puck well from our own end, the D’s were making good first passes,” said Julien. “We had good speed going through the neutral zone.”
“But at the same time, this is a team that creates a lot from just inside their blueline, getting some speed and attacking through the neutral zone, and I thought we did a real good job of minimizing that, neutralizing that, so that they didn’t have that speed that they normally have.”
“We have to do the same thing. They’re a good skating team, a team that can make a lot happen from the rush, and obviously in the zone they’re very active, they move around a lot, so we can’t get caught out of position as well. We’ve got to respect that part of our game.”
Practice Groupings 4/2
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Loui Eriksson
White Jerseys: Matt Beleskey—David Krejci—David Pastrnak
Gray Jerseys: Frank Vatrano—Ryan Spooner—Lee Stempniak—Jimmy Hayes
Merlot Jerseys: Landon Ferraro—Noel Acciari—Seth Griffith—Tyler Randell
Defense: John-Michael Liles, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson