Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly were staying back in Boston. Callup Seth Griffith was also set to travel with the team on an emergency basis, while Austin Czarnik would rejoin Providence.
Seidenberg and Connolly missed their second straight practice on Thursday with undisclosed situations when the Bruins convened at Ristuccia Arena. Connolly did not play during the final two periods in New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Spooner and Krejci rejoined the group on Thursday after being absent from Wednesday’s practice.
“Obviously you like to be 100 percent in games, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Krejci said. “So, felt really good today and ready to go for [Friday].
The Bruins’ two-game road trip will have them facing the Blues on Friday night in St. Louis, and then the Blackhawks on Sunday in Chicago.
Spooner missed Boston’s game in New Jersey, after leaving the previous game in Toronto with an undisclosed injury. Neither he, nor Liles, traveled with the team on that trip. Liles has missed the Bruins’ past two games with a lower-body injury sustained against the Florida Panthers last Thursday (Mar. 24). Both are possibilities to return to the lineup in St. Louis.
“We’ll see,” said Head Coach Claude Julien, when asked about the possibility of Spooner playing. “There’s no decision made there. That’s why we’ve brought some extra guys.”
“It’s fine. Took a little time off there and taking it, I guess, day by day right now,” Spooner said after Thursday’s practice. “Feel better, though, so that’s good.”
“Wake up [Friday], check in with the [trainers] and see what they say. I definitely want to play, but I’ll just listen to them, so I’m just going to go, they’ll check me out, and see what happens.”
Griffith will serve as the extra body traveling with the Bruins. He was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis prior to Wednesday’s practice.
“Griffith is coming with us, because we still have some question marks there and maintenance guys, so Czarnik will be returning to Providence,” said Julien.
“I think you just approach it the same as usual — just want to come and help the team out any way you can if you get the chance to play in the game,” said Griffith, who has 22 goals and 67 points in 51 games with Providence this season. “So I’m just taking it day by day and just working hard in practice.”
On the back end, Liles senses that he is close to returning. The defenseman skated for most of practice on a pairing with Zdeno Chara. It marked his second straight day back skating with the team.
“Definitely dodged a bullet and just happy to be back as quick as I am,” Liles said following Wednesday’s practice. “Back on the team as quick as I am, it’s nice to be back out there and be skating, and fortunately it wasn’t as severe as originally thought.”
Thursday’s practice saw seven defensemen on the ice, along with both netminders and 15 forwards.
“We’ve got some situations here that are questionable, and we’re just covering all our angles here, it’s as simple as that,” said Julien.
A switch for the past two practices has seen Loui Eriksson skating on the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Lee Stempniak has been skating on the third line.
“So far in practice, we’ve been able to read off each other really well and especially when he’s around the net, he’s got a great touch,” Marchand said of Eriksson.
Of course, the way the lines shake out and who’s in or out of the lineup, aren’t the areas of utmost importance, as the Bruins head on their road trip and try to get their offense going after a tough loss in New Jersey.
“Right now, it’s just about playing the right way here to win hockey games,” said Julien.
“At this point in the season, with five games left, we’re in a playoff spot, so there shouldn’t be any reason why we wouldn’t get up for these kinds of games,” said Krejci. “No matter who we play against.”
“We kind of let one slip away in New Jersey, but we’re ready to bounce back.”
Practice Groupings 3/31
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Loui Eriksson
White Jerseys: Matt Beleskey—David Krejci—Seth Griffith—David Pastrnak
Gray Jerseys: Frank Vatrano—Ryan Spooner—Austin Czarnik—Lee Stempniak
Merlot Jerseys: Landon Ferraro—Noel Acciari—Jimmy Hayes—Tyler Randell
Defense: Zdeno Chara, John-Michael Liles, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson