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Rask a Game-Time Decision, as Bruins Face Flyers

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

PHILADELPHIATuukka Rask will be a game-time decision on Monday night, when the Bruins face off against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

Rask took part in the team’s pregame skate at the Wells Fargo Center, and was the first netminder off the ice.

“We’re going to make a decision tonight,” Head Coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “If he’s 100 percent, he’s going. So that hasn’t been answered yet.”

Rask had been scheduled to play on Saturday against Columbus, but he was not 100 percent, so a last-minute change was made to put Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes. Julien stressed Saturday night that the situations was “nothing major.”

Upping the Intensity

The Bruins have won four of their past five games, but it doesn’t feel like that around the group. They felt that they squeezed out two points on Saturday with the 3-2 shootout win over the Blue Jackets.

Their previous game — a 4-2 loss to Vancouver — was not the effort they wanted, either.

With their final two games before the All-Star Break coming in a back-to-back against Philadelphia and Anaheim, what do the Bruins need in order to improve their game?

“Better execution,” said Julien. “I think when you look at the way we’re passing the puck around, it’s not the way it should be, so execution has got to be better, and the intensity can be a little bit better.”

“We’ve been good on the road. Hopefully that continues here tonight and the best thing is not to assume, but to make sure it does happen.”

The previous two meetings against the Flyers this season haven’t gone the way that the Bruins would have liked. In both games, Philadelphia made third period comebacks to take the victories. The Flyers have never swept a season series against Boston.

“I feel like last game, we might have lacked a little bit of [grittiness], so come back to the basics and execute when the time comes,” said Max Talbot.

“It’s a focus. It’s mental, it’s before the game, you put your mind into it. [About] 10 days ago we played here and it was a pretty good game, a hard-fought game, and we’ve got to expect the same, so that will get us ready for sure.”

Spooner Stays on Wing

During line rushes on Monday morning, Ryan Spooner was again on the wing. This time, though, he was back on his strong side, on the left wing with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

Spooner played the last game on the right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s just been good enough to move around and fill spots,” Julien said. “When Krejci was hurt, he did a great job and the other night, he made a great play on Marchand’s goal, so he’s capable of playing there. He’s [also] capable of playing center on any line.”

The biggest adjustment for Spooner playing on the wing is the amount of starts and stops in his game. He’s played less than 25 games there in his career, so he’s fighting against his instincts.

“He may not be the ultimate winger that’s used to playing there all the time and stopping, but at the same time, he’s still a guy that can give you some good offense, can give you some punch up there,” said Julien. “We know he’s a centerman and he’ll probably continue to play center and so today, we’ve got him on the wing this morning and that could change. Again, it’s like every other game. I move guys around right now.”

“It’s not something that I’ve really done before, but I’d like to think that I’m smart enough to go out there,” said Spooner. “Whether I’m playing the right or the left, that’s fine with me, for sure.”

Connolly Slotting Back In

Other line switches in pregame skate involved Brett Connolly rejoining with Marchand and Bergeron after being a healthy scratch on Saturday. Landon Ferraro will likely be a healthy scratch up font, along with Tyler Randell.

“Even Bergy and March appreciate him on that line, because he’s big, he’s strong, he can make plays,” Julien said recently of Connolly. “He’s a little snake-bitten right now, as far as goal scoring, but there’s some guys in and out and we’re trying to find different things.”

“[Saturday night] was his night to sit out, but it doesn’t mean we’re totally unhappy with him and there’s certain things we’d like to see from him, but his game isn’t a game that’s really struggling right now.”

Other changes included Matt Beleskey joining Joonas Kemppainen and David Pastrnak, and Jimmy Hayes slotting on to the fourth line.

‘We’re just trying to find some balance in our lines that’s going to give us better performances from all lines,” said Julien. “We need to be good on the rush, we need to be good in the O-zone and sometime you have to move players around to try and accomplish that.”

Projected Lineup vs. Flyers 1/25

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronBrett Connolly

Ryan SpoonerDavid KrejciLoui Eriksson

Matt BeleskeyJoonas KemppainenDavid Pastrnak

Zac RinaldoMax TalbotJimmy Hayes

Zdeno CharaZach Trotman

Joe MorrowDennis Seidenberg

Torey KrugKevan Miller

Projected Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson

Projected Scratches: Colin Miller, Landon Ferraro, Tyler Randell

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