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Krejci, Kelly Remain Out; Game-Time Decisions Coming as Bruins Host Penguins

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - The Bruins have game-time decisions on Monday night as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

The Bruins are capping off three games in four nights, after earning a 4-3 shootout win in Columbus on Friday night, before falling 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

David Krejci remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury that will see him miss his third straight game and his ninth in the past 11 games. Chris Kelly is also out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury suffered during Friday night's game in Columbus.

Brad Marchand has missed three straight games with an undisclosed injury, but he was out on the ice for pregame skate on Monday morning, and is a game-time decision against the Penguins.

David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron were both recalled from the Providence Bruins and are available for the matchup. Pastrnak would be suiting up in his first NHL game. It would mark Caron's first NHL action of the season.

Callup Alex Khokhlachev remains with the team on an emergency basis.

"All I can tell you right now is we've got some game-time decisions, like usual," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the Bruins' morning skate. "With everything that’s going on, it’s hard for me to confirm certain players right now."

"There’s some questions mark there, still."

The morning line rushes saw Marchand and Matt Fraser rotating in the left wing spot with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Milan Lucic, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson remained together as a trio, as well as Simon Gagne, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.

Caron, Khokhlachev and Pastrnak skated as a line, with Seth Griffith taking turns with Pastrnak during rushes. When together in Providence, Caron, Khokhlachev and Pastrnak had strong chemistry and served as the P-Bruins' top line.

The best indication of Monday night's lineup will come during warmups at 6:30 p.m. ET (follow live updates on Twitter @NHLBruins).

Kelly's Status Day-to-Day

Julien hasn't yet gotten a diagnosis from the trainers on Kelly's status. The alternate captain missed Saturday's game against Montreal, along with Krejci and Marchand. All are currently being deemed day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

"I don’t think there’s a specific timetable - it’s not three to four weeks, or four to six weeks, that much I can tell you," said Julien. "But that’s why I can only say day-to-day, I guess, at this point."

Krejci's Situation Won't Last All Season

The Bruins' bench boss made sure to stress on Monday morning that while Krejci's injury situation is complicated, the team believes that it's not something he'll have to battle all season.

"Right now, what I’ll tell you is we’ve taken a step back again," said Julien. "Like I said, it’s something that I can’t even go into. It’s been way more complicated, again, as you know, these are not machines, these guys, and there’s certain things you try and fix and then you find out there’s a little bit more and nobody knows and nobody should know until you go from one stage to the next."

"The one thing I can tell you is that when he played he was 100 percent, but we took him out because after that he wasn’t 100 percent anymore. And that’s where it’s tough. You say well, he’s 100 percent, should you hold him back? I don’t believe in holding anybody back because if he’s OK the next day then we wasted a game with him, so we’re working on that."

"The only thing I would tell you is that from everything I’m being told, it’s not something we’re going to have to manage all year and I know that’s a big issue in wondering what’s going on, but it’s something that’s going to be fixed is what I’m being told. So, don’t shoot the messenger."

Julien was taking the "hindsight is 20/20" approach, in regards to the two games (Nov. 6 against Edmonton and Nov. 18 against St. Louis) that Krejci has returned for during his injury stretch.

"Hindsight is 20/20, right?" said Julien. "Like after, 'Oh, they should have held him back.' Well what if he would have been OK? Would you have said that to us, that we should have held him back?"

With players like Krejci, Kelly and Marchand coming and going from the locker room, in addition to the injury carousel that hit the blueline with Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug and David Warsofsky all spending time out of the lineup in the past month, the dynamic of the room hasn't quite been the same.

"It's tough. The worst part about it is we're so close in this locker room - you don't want to see guys out with injuries and it's not fun watching guys do that and they have to leave the locker room for an extended period of time," said Krug, who spent his own time out of the lineup with a broken finger earlier this month.

"At the same time, when guys are returning to the room, it's created excitement, and you're excited to see them back and working hard. But it can definitely be frustrating when so many guys are going down, you never know what's going to happen next."

Chara Starts Skating

One of those players who's been back around the team, in his skates, is Captain Zdeno Chara, who will miss his 14th game on Monday night, after suffering a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) of his left knee on October 23.

Chara skated on his own for the first time in a month on Monday morning, nearly an hour before the Bruins hit the ice for pregame skate.

"It's a start, yeah, it’s a start," Julien said. "Again, he’s certainly not close to being [with us] yet. It’s his first time in a long time, and it’s always encouraging to see your player back on skates, that’s for sure."

Capping Off Three Games in Four Nights Against Pens

The Bruins and Penguins are both finishing up three games in four nights on Monday, after completing back-to-backs on Friday and Saturday.

Pittsburgh came away with two losses in a home-and-home series with the New York Islanders, falling 5-4 in a shootout on Friday and then 4-1 on the second night in New York.

Even if their play hasn't been as strong as of late, their always high-powered offense led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (along with offseason newcomer Patric Hornqvist) can always do damage.

"You've got to slow them down," said Reilly Smith. "We wanted to get two wins out of these three games, so tonight's pretty important. We let the last one kind of slip through our fingers, so we have to come out with a good effort."

Smith noted the Bruins' tighter defensive play as of late and compete level, but stressed having "more of a nose for the net." Boston wasn't able to do that against Montreal.

"You just have to battle a little more," said Smith. "Throw pucks to the net, you have to sacrifice more, maybe take a couple of hits to finish a play, but that's definitely the biggest factor we're focusing on."

Projected Lineup 11/24 vs. Pittsburgh

Brad Marchand* - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic
- Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Simon Gagne
- Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille
Jordan Caron
- Alex Khokhlachev - David Pastrnak

Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug
Matt Bartkowski
- Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow
- Dougie Hamilton

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg

*If Marchand can't go, Fraser will likely slot into his place.

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