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Bruins' Trip Shifts to Minnesota

Goaltender Anton Khudobin nearing return

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bruins have reached the last destination of their three-game road trip. After picking up wins in Arizona (2-1) and Colorado (2-0), they will finish off the trip against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. 

 

In preparation for the matchup, they traveled from Colorado to Minnesota on Wednesday and hit the ice for practice at the Xcel Energy Center. 

 

Austin Czarnik was back on the ice for practice after a maintenance day on Tuesday in Denver.

 

David Pastrnak also had a maintenance day on Tuesday, but he was not back on the ice in Minnesota. Riley Nash skated in Pastrnak's spot alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.  

"A lot of it is maintenance - this is going to happen all the time, I guess, this year, is that guys are going to miss because of maintenance," Head Coach Claude Julien said following Wednesday's practice. "Pastrnak is not better today so we weren't going to let him go on the ice and I don't know - I'd say he's day to day right now."

 

Tuukka Rask was also not on the ice for practice, but Julien labeled it a maintenance day for the netminder. Rask skated in Tuesday's practice and has backstopped the Bruins to both wins on the road trip. 

 

Having three goaltenders helped make it easier for Julien to give Rask the day off from skating, with Zane McIntyre and Anton Khudobin both on the trip.

 

Khudobin has been practicing with the team on the road, and is getting closer to a return from his upper-body injury. 

 

"I'm going to wait to get the clearance on him, so if he's not cleared soon, he will be," said Julien.

 

"I still have to talk to the doctors," Khudobin said. "I feel great, I felt great on the ice today in a full practice. First time full practice. I felt the puck and everything, felt great, but I'm not the doctor so I have to talk to them and see what they're going to say to me."

 

Khudobin has been a great addition since he re-joined the group, both on and off the ice. 

 

"It's given us an extra goalie to work with, and it's great when Tuukka needs a day off - but he's just trying to get himself back in shape here and get his timing back and he's working hard," said Julien. "He's got a good work ethic, so it's nice to see him come around, and [have a] great attitude and that's contagious around our hockey club."

 

Defenseman Kevan Miller skated in his second practice with the team on Wednesday, as he works his way back from surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand. He is not yet ready for game action. 

 

"No, he's not. He's just skating with us right now, so he's not ready yet," said Julien.

 

The Bruins had a rare three-day break from games between their 2-0 win over the Avs and Thursday's matchup against Minnesota, and they feel that they made the most of it, getting in a rest day and two solid practices.

 

They may be 2-0-0 on on the road and on a three-game win streak, but they need to stay sharp. 

 

"It's been about giving those guys some rest, but at the same time, we're going in the right direction and you don't want to take the foot off the gas pedal right now," said Julien. "It's about staying sharp, staying on top of things, so we've had a couple of days there to do those kind of practices and to make sure our guys are still playing at the top of their level and making sure that we don't get comfortable here."

 

"I think when you have a break like this between games, it's important to stay on top of your game and that's with a lot of pace in practice and practicing fast and hard and making sure you're replicating what you're doing during a game," said defenseman Torey Krug.

 

"Obviously the on-ice stuff's important, but you get the bonding off the ice, too, and I think that's good for the chemistry in the locker room."

 

Practice Lines and Defense Pairings 11/16

 

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Riley Nash

Ryan Spooner - David Krejci - David Backes  

Matt Beleskey - Dominic Moore - Austin Czarnik

Jimmy Hayes - Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly  

 

Defense: 

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow - John-Michael Liles

Kevan Miller, Colin Miller  

 

Goalies: Anton Khudobin, Zane McIntyre

 

PP1: Krug, Krejci, Spooner, Bergeron, Backes

PP2: Liles, Czarnik, Marchand, Beleskey, Hayes

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