BOSTON - After missing the last two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins with an upper-body injury, Bruins center David Krejci returned to practice on Monday morning. The pivot was donning a maroon non-contact sweater for much of the 45-minute session, limiting his ability to join in fully during some spirited drills and making it unlikely that he's ready for Tuesday night's tilt against the Vegas Golden Knights.
"Krech will try it tomorrow morning [at pregame skate]," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "Didn't participate in the physical part of the practice. We definitely had a harder than normal day-before-a-game practice. Him not being able to do that makes it more likely he wouldn't play.
"But he is gonna try it in the morning. No matter what, he'll have nine days or whatever it is to recover. Or are we just better off giving him that? We'll see how he is."
Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, skated on his own before practice, but is also unlikely to suit up for Tuesday's game with the Golden Knights. Rask suffered a concussion last Tuesday in Columbus when he was stuck in the head by Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom.
"I don't believe he'd be ready tomorrow," said Cassidy. "He's back on the ice. I have to double check on that. That's just my guess because of the nature of the injury."
Video: Cassidy updates media after Monday's practice
There was also some positive news on the injury front for defenseman Kevan Miller. The 32-year-old blue liner, who has not played since April 4 of last season when he suffered a broken kneecap, skated on his own for 15 minutes on Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena.
It has been an excruciating grind for Miller, who re-injured the knee during off-ice training at last spring's Eastern Conference Final and suffered another setback after returning to practice in early November.
"There's Step 1," said Cassidy. "That's a positive…he was in this morning doing off-ice workouts, so I don't know if he's an every second day guy on the ice. I guess we'll find out tomorrow."
Locking It Down
The Bruins' loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday was the their third of the season after leading by three goals at any point. And it was the sixth time they've blown a multi-goal lead, with five of them resulting in losses (1-2-3). It is not a trend that they would like to continue.
"It's something that we want to correct," said DeBrusk. "It's something that's been a trademark of this team in years past...we obviously want to address that and close games out. That's what good teams do, that's what winning hockey is. I think it's just a lack urgency on certain plays…it's not necessarily systematic, it's just a matter of us executing and making the play that's in front of us."
Torey Krug, now in his ninth season with the Black & Gold, went on to say that is the job of the team's veteran core to lead the group in the right direction during those situations.
"At the end of the day, it falls on the older group in the room to set the standard and the bar when we get those leads. It's about the culture we've built over the years," said Krug. "We've got to make sure we sustain that level of play throughout. Everyone's got a voice and everyone's got a huge role on this team. I think it starts at the top and works its way through the lineup. Everyone has to be a little bit better."
Video: Krug talks with media following Monday's practice
After potting power-play goals in a franchise-record 14 consecutive games, the Bruins have now gone 0 for 10 over the last three contests. Boston also surrendered a shorthanded tally on Sunday afternoon, as the Penguins tied the game at 3 early in the third period.
"We didn't like giving up that shorty last game, but for the majority of the year we've been pretty consistent in that aspect," said Jake DeBrusk, the net-front on Boston's top power-play unit. "Obviously there's gonna be things like that that happen in the game, breakdowns, things that we don't want to happen. But in saying that, we still had some good looks, especially on that first one we had."
Video: DeBrusk talks power play, third periods