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McQuaid Encounters Setback, Third Line Gelling, Caps on Tap

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, MA - It's been a trying season for defenseman Adam McQuaid. At first projected for a possible return on Saturday, the Bruin encountered a setback with his recovery from a leg injury.

"Yeah, [the trainers] told me this morning, yesterday they gave him some rest and today, they wanted to give him some more and they felt that there was a bit of a setback," Bruins Head Coach Julien said following Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena.

"So, again, it becomes day to day, week to week, month to month, I'm not sure anymore. So I'm relying on their feedback almost every day."

"It's been a frustrating injury for him and I know he's really itching to get back, and those kinds of things happen, he's set back a little bit, so hopefully we'll get some better news here in the next few days."

Ruled out for Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden, the Bruins' defenseman will now have to wait a bit longer for his impending return.

"I would probably say [he's ruled out for] the weekend," said Julien. "If he didn't skate today, I don't think you'll see him on Sunday either [in New York]. Probably what you see on the back end is what you'll get on the weekend."

The Bruins start a back-to-back at home against the Caps on Saturday, before facing off against the Rangers in New York City on Sunday. They'll cap off three games in four days back at TD Garden next Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Right now, Boston's blueline consists of Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.

Where they have lost considerable size, physicality and strength with the absences of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid, first year NHL defenseman Kevan Miller has helped fill the void.

"We've gotten a player who's big, strong, physical, and we've lost two guys that are big, strong, physical, so at least he's really helped fill that role for us," said Julien. "And at the same time, I think he's been pretty reliable."

"You know, you don't see too many mistakes on his part, moves the puck well, very physical, and we've seen how tough he can be as well, so he's been a real great addition to us, especially after what we've been through with our back end."

Logging his first two NHL fights in January and February, he's also shown he's not afraid to drop the gloves and add that level of toughness.

Not a Topic of Conversation

The NHL's trade deadline is coming up on March 5, and while it's oft talked about in the media, that same discussion doesn't ever surface in the Bruins' locker room.

"We don't even talk about it," said Julien. "We're all professionals in there and I think the guys in there also understand that every year we've done that for the most part, we've tried to add, not subtract so it's a matter of us feeling good about our team right now, which we do, and maybe adding a piece here or there, but we're certainly going to do our best here to not subtract and that's been the case every year."

"I like our team. I think we're a good, hungry group of guys," said Shawn Thornton. "You never know what's going to happen - that stuff's out of our control anyways, so we just play."

Third Line Gelling

Since right winger Loui Eriksson's return to the lineup, the third line has remained consistent with Carl Soderberg at center and Chris Kelly on the other wing.

The trio accounted for a goal and 11 shots in the Bruins' first game out of the break in Buffalo. With Eriksson's growing confidence after the Olympics, Soderberg's progression and Kelly's stability, they've provided the Bruins with solid offensive depth.

"I think if you look at how they've played, how they produce and perform, I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with that line," said Julien. "And to me, it's given us three solid scoring lines and we've got that energy line that's always going to be there for us."

"When you look at that, it's kind of what we wanted, and we've got it, so when you get near the end and it's time to play your best hockey, you've just got to hope that all three of those lines are playing at their best, because it's going to be needed in the playoffs."

"It'll be nice to from some chemistry," said Kelly. "I thought we were starting to do that prior to the break, and Loui played really well at the Olympics, and Carl's been getting better and better every game, so it's nice to try to form some chemistry with two guys."

"I just need to pick up my Swedish," he smirked.

Caps on Tap

The Bruins quickly got rid of their "playmaking rust" in Buffalo, but weren't too fond of their defensive lapses, especially late in the game when they had a one-goal lead under control.

As they head into Saturday's matinee, that was the clear focus.

"You know, I thought we played pretty well the other night. A little lax defensively, but the energy was there, the guys were moving the puck, but we were playing the game the right way with puck possession and moving our feet," said Shawn Thornton.

"Except that we gave up a few goals on a few mistakes that can be fixed easily so after a two-week break, I actually liked our game. But, we've got a lot of hockey coming up, and the goal will be consistency going into the playoffs here."

Friday's Practice Lineup

Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron were given Thursday and Friday off to get in more rest after returning from Sochi. Both played Wednesday night's game in Buffalo with jet lag and hardly any sleep, but were two of the top forwards minutes-wise for the Bruins.

Olympian Tuukka Rask had stayed back in Boston to get his own rest on Wednesday. It hadn't been decided yet whether he would start on Saturday, but all of the healthy Bruins will be back together for the game.

White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Gold: Brad Marchand - Reilly Smith

Gray: Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Jordan Caron

Merlot: Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Chad Johnson

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