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Bruins Pregame Notebook vs. NYI

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – Tonight, the Boston Bruins will take on the New York Islanders in their first match-up of a six game road swing. 

The Bruins, who have now lost three straight in regulation for the first time this year, are looking to bounce back on the road where they are 16-7-4 this season. 

“We know that obviously we lost three in a row and we need to bounce back. Now we are playing a few games on the road and it is going to be a challenge for us,” Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara said after the team’s practice yesterday. 

Boston (31-19-7) will take on the Islanders (21-29-7) for the second of four match-ups between the two clubs this season.  The Bruins took two points from the first game of the series with a 5-2 win in Boston on Dec. 9.

While the Bruins continue to sit on top of the Northeast Division, the Islanders find themselves last in the Atlantic Division with 49 points.

But despite their low ranking, the Black & Gold are not taking the Islanders lightly.

“Right now we are focusing on tomorrow’s game and it’s going to be big for us. The Islanders are playing extremely well, playing as a team and it seems like they are having a lot of fun and they are enjoying themselves,” Chara said.

“For sure it’s going to be a tough game but we just have to be focusing on the job we have to get done and that starts tomorrow.”

Kelly Will Meet Bruins in OTT
Following the Bruins 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the club has acquired forward Chris Kelly from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the Bruins second round draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

“Well he brings a real responsible game,” Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said on Tuesday. “And I say that first, it doesn’t mean that he’s defense first because he’s good on the forecheck. He’s got an element of energy to his game and hockey sense, so he combines both those things well in his game. You know what and there’s an element of accountability.”

The Canadian-born Kelly, who has played all of his 463 NHL games with Ottawa, will not be available to play in tonight’s game.

"At this time we have not received the proper immigration approval necessary for Chris to play in tonight's game against the New York Islanders," said Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "This is the normal operating procedure for a non-immigrant to legally work in the United States. Chris will meet the team in Ottawa tomorrow and will be available to play in tomorrow's game against the Senators." 

Nevertheless, whenever he does join the club, the B's will be getting a very useful player.

“It’s definitely something we feel is going to help our hockey club. He is an experienced player; plays center, plays the wing. He takes a lot of draws, (and has) playoff experience,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said yesterday. 

I think there are a lot of things, I like his grit and compete level—certainly a great addition for our hockey club.” 

The 30-year-old Kelly has 12-11-23 totals in 57 games for the Senators this season.

“He is a hard working player, he’s a smart player. He always plays his role well and for sure is going to give us more depth in the middle and the experience he has,” said Chara, who played with Kelly in the 2005-06 season while with the Ottawa Senators. 

“I think it’s a great addition.”

Marchand Among Rookie Leaders
Boston Bruins rookie Brad Marchand, who began the season on an NHL roster for the first time, finds himself among rookie leaders in multiple categories.

Marchand is amid the top ten rookies in scoring and goals, and is 12th in rookie assists. 

The Halifax, Nova Scotia native has a 16-15-31 line in 54 games this season. 

Marchand leads all rookies in shorthanded points with five, and is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with four. 

In addition, Marchand, who recorded only one assist in his 20 games with Boston last season, is tenth in the league in rookie shots (99) and second among rookies in shooting percentage (16.2 percent).

Marchand has recently been playing on a line with veterans Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi and has often found himself going toe-to-toe with opponents’ top lines. 

But the 22-year-old has responded, posting a plus-20 rating, second among rookies. Fellow Bruin Adam McQuaid leads all rookies with a plus-21.

Since the Bruins tilt with Carolina on Jan. 18, Marchand has not gone goalless in two consecutive games, while also not scoring goals in consecutive games.

Marchand did not record a goal in Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to Toronto.

Boychuk Looks to Improve
Bruins second-year defenseman Johnny Boychuk is looking to work his way back into the line-up after being a healthy-scratch for the B’s Tuesday night tilt with Toronto. 

“I did but I didn’t,” Boychuk said when asked if he expected to be scratched.

“I never really thought that I was going to be sitting, but that was their choice and you have to respect that. I’ve been maybe rushing my plays a little bit and not making the right plays at the right time. 

“I respect their decision."

In 46 games this season, Boychuk has posted a 1-8-9 line to go along with a plus-8 rating. 

He missed 10 games with a fractured forearm suffered on Oct. 23.

But the 27-year-old found himself in suit and tie on Tuesday night and watched the game from the press box, something Boychuk said was a good learning experience.

“I watched how much time I had and just different situations that I might have been rushing before and maybe just learn from it,” he said. 

Julien has been pleased with Boychuk’s effort, but would like to see the blueliner work on moving the puck.

"I think his compete level is always there," said Julien on Wednesday. “Johnny is a guy who will give you everything he’s got every game.

"But he is another guy that struggles with puck movement and plays have died in our zone because of that. 

“Taking a step back again, and looking at it from [the press box], you hope will help him find that element of his game again," he said.

Boychuk has become a physical presence on the blueline for Boston this season, registering 64 hits and engaging in two fights. 

Boychuk, though, knows what he has to do to get back in the lineup come game time,

“Just work hard, stay positive,” said Boychuk. “Just things that I did last year and just make sure to learn from this experience.”

---Hannah Becker
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