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The Bruins are in their third jerseys tonight. Thomas led the club out of the locker room and Krejci, Morris and Ryder are all on the ice for warmups.
Pregame Pressbox Notes
STORYLINES: The Bruins welcome back David Krejci
to the lineup tonight. The third year centerman – who missed the last two games due to H1N1 – was the club’s second leading scorer last year with 73 points and had posted 1-4=5 totals in 14 games before being diagnosed with the illness last Tuesday. Michael Ryder – who did not practice yesterday after feeling “under the weather” – is also expected to play tonight.
“They’re both good, and they both feel good, so hopefully that’s still the same by the time tonight comes around,” said Head Coach Claude Julien after the team’s morning skate today. “We plan on using them both.”
A victory tonight would mark the first time the Bruins have won back-to-back games all season.
“It’s about getting ourselves on a bit of a streak here, a winning streak,” said Julien. “Right now we’ve been winning losing, winning losing, and that’s not how we climb up in the standings. So I’m really not putting as much focus the other team as I am on mine.”
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins arrive in Boston having lost two straight for the first time all season. They are a banged up bunch as well, as key contributors Kris Letang (shoulder), Sergei Gonchar (broken left wrist), Max Talbot (torn rotator cuff), Tyler Kennedy (undisclosed) and reigning scoring champion Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) will all miss tonight’s contest with their respective ailments. Despite the recent losses and the rash of injuries, the Pens still own the Eastern Conference’s best record with a 12-5-0 mark.
Look for Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma to roll out different line combinations tonight, as Sidney Crosby will likely center Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko, while Crosby’s linemates for the majority of the season to date Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz will join Jordan Staal. Crosby has gone a career long four games without a point.
Both teams have struggled on the power play of late, as the Penguins are in the midst of an 0-21 slump and the Bruins recently snapped an 0-20 drought on Saturday.
The goaltenders tonight are reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas
for Boston and Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh. Fleury won his first eight decisions this year and currently boasts a 10-4-0 record, good for the second most wins in the league.
STU SUPPORTS ARMED FORCES, FANS CAN TOO THROUGH BRUINS “SEATS FOR SOLDIERS” PROGRAM: Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart has purchased $5,000 worth of tickets to the Bruins/Panthers game on November 12 and will donate them to local servicemen and women and their families. Fans can follow Stuart’s lead and support the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” program online at www.bostonbruins.com. November 12 is “Military Appreciation Night” at the TD Garden.
SPECIAL TEAMS WATCH: The Bruins rank 27th in the NHL on the power play overall (13.6%) and tied for 24th at home (14.3%). They rank 14th on the PK overall (81.4%) and 17th at home (80.5%).
The Penguins rank 25th on the PP overall (14.7%) and 28th on the road (10.3%). They rank 12th on the PK overall (81.9%) and 11th on the road (82.9%).
Shawn Thornton on tonight's game...
"Obviously, we’d like to get a streak going. We had a pretty good one going last year around this time and it helped us in the end so...you want to put some back-to-back [wins] together and that’s our goal right now."
The Boston Globe's
Fluto Shinzawa reported that Marc-Andre Fleury was the first Penguins goalie off the ice and is expected to start tonight.
I neglected to talk about the status of fowards David Krejci
and Michael Ryder.
"They’re both good, and they both feel good, so hopefully that’s still the same by the time tonight comes around," said Coach Julien earlier this afternoon.
Krejci was recently diagnosed with H1N1 and just returned to practice on Monday. Ryder missed Monday because he was "under the weather."
"We plan on using them both," said Julien. "They both feel good and as long as they’re cleared from everything, why not?"
With the B's facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, Coach Julien was also asked if tonight's game could be used as a barometer of his club's abilities.
"Not necessarily," he said, "because again they don’t have their full team and if they had their full team they would probably be a different team too.
"But I use this game more [to see if the B's can put] consecutive wins together here for the first time since the beginning of the season, and build on it.
"That’s what we have to do now, not so much who we play against but we have to get ourselves on a bit of a roll if we want to move up here in the standings," he said.
There was an interesting question to Coach Julien about Brad Marchand
late in his pregame scrum.
Coach was asked about rookie agitator Brad Marchand
's (who had a couple of calls against him in the last game) ability to see the fine line between hard-nosed play and a penalty.
"I felt one of the penalties called on him was probably from reputation," he said. "The referee who called it was one that had him in junior hockey.
"I really felt that sometimes there’s a reputation that follows you and the one of those penalties I felt was really based on that.
"Again, as I told him, you can get under a player’s skin and be smart about it but the one thing you don’t want to go is get under the referees’ skins."
B's defenseman Derek Morris missed this morning's game day skate with "a bit of a bug," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
The team is monitoring Morris (in light of the recent outbreak of H1N1 in North America) and are being cautious. However, Boston hopes that Morris will be in uniform, tonight.
On the ice for the possibly optional morning skate: Rask and Thomas. Chara, Ference, Stuart, Hunwick, Wideman and Boychuk. Ryder, Recchi, Stuart, Thornton, Bergeron, Krejci, Sobotka, Wheeler, Bitz, Begin, Paille, Whitfield and Marchand.
Derek Morris is the only Bruin missing.
Michael Ryder is on the ice for morning skate.