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Bruins Ready for Back-to-Back Against Red Wings in Detroit

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

DETROIT - Following the Bruins' 2-1 season opening win over Philadelphia in Boston on Wednesday, the Black & Gold are right back at it on Thursday night against the Red Wings in Detroit.

The tilt will be Detroit's home opener, with the game time set for 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

A back-to-back situation, with travel added in, may not be an ideal way to kick off the season, but the Bruins don't mind it.

It offers an opportunity to get a quick four points before the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes even open their seasons.

"We don’t make excuses, so it’s a reality of the schedule, and we just have to go out there and play and put those excuses away," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said on Thursday morning from Joe Louis Arena.

The players who suited up on Wednesday night stayed off the ice. Only Niklas Svedberg, Matt Bartkowski, Simon Gagne and Jordan Caron - recalled Thursday morning by the club - skated.

"Our guys are in good shape, and we try and manage that the best we can, and that’s what professional athletes do, so we’ll just go out there and play tonight like any other game and certainly not use the back to back as an excuse."

Thursday night completes the first of 16 back-to-backs on the season.

The Bruins are amidst three games in four nights. They play seven games in the first 11 days of the season. It's a busy October.

"That’s not a bad thing. I know we have some situations where we’d like to be able to work on certain parts of our game, but we don’t always have the time," said Julien. "But you pick your poison and you do the best you can, and you tweak those things along the way."

"Again, we’re not unique. I think it’s the same for a lot of teams, so it’s just a coaching adjustment that you have to make, so that’s where we’re at right now."

"I think everybody likes to play a lot of games," said Carl Soderberg. "You don’t want to think too much — you just want to play the game. So we’ve played a couple of back-to-backs in the preseason, too, so I think we can handle that well."

Boston and Detroit will be playing the first of five games on the season. The Red Wings have a young team that's not all too different from the one that the Bruins defeated in five games in the first round of last year's playoffs.

Pavel Datsyuk will miss the season opener with a separated right shoulder.

On the Bruins' end, David Krejci is sidelined with an undisclosed injury and was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday. He won't be eligible to return until after Saturday's game against Washington.

Boston is also without Gregory Campbell, on Non-Roster IR after a mid-core injury caused him to miss the entire preseason.

In their absence, Carl Soderberg's strong game at center has become even more important. He and Patrice Bergeron solidify the middle right now, with Ryan Spooner and Craig Cunningham filling in for Krejci and Campbell.

"Yeah, I do [have more responsibility], but still, we miss David," said Soderberg. "And I try to do what I can to help the team and hopefully he’s back soon and we’re even stronger."

Cunningham has fit in well on the fourth line, though he's mostly a top-nine player with Providence who can find the back of the net.

"Soupy being out for camp and for the start of the year, it’s definitely been a little bit of an adjustment," said his longtime linemate Daniel Paille. "But in the same sense, Cunny’s adjusted very well, is a smart player, talks and is able to read the play. So far I’ve enjoyed playing with him and I look forward to working with him tonight as well."

Campbell Progressing

Though Campbell is on IR, he's on the right track in his recovery from the core injury.

"He’s progressing every day," Julien said on Thursday morning. "He stayed back but he’s skating and he’s progressing every day, and I think right now I can say everything that’s related to his recovery is positive."

Starting Goaltender

As is customary, Julien didn't disclose Thursday night's starting goaltender. It's a toss-up, whether Tuukka Rask wants to get the back-to-back right away to start the season, or if Niklas Svedberg will slide.

"I don’t really divulge my goaltenders," Julien smiled. "So, those are decisions I’ll make here during the day as far as finalizing that roster."

I won't be surprised to see Rask get the back-to-back, but warmups will be the best indication at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Projected Lineup vs. Detroit 10/9

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - Matt Fraser
Daniel Paille - Craig Cunningham - Jordan Caron/Bobby Robins*

*While Robins made his NHL debut on Wednesday vs. Philly, Caron could slot in on Thursday night.

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Matt Bartkowski*

*Bartkowski could slot into the lineup for this first game of the season, or the Bruins could go with their six blueliners from Wednesday night (listed out as pairs above).

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg
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