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Spooner Likely Sticking on the Wing, Pastrnak In for Final Preseason Game Against Detroit

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - The Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at TD Garden in their final preseason game. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

The game will serve as the last tune-up for the Bruins before they open the 2014-15 season on Wednesday, October 8. Opening night rosters must be submitted to the League by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Most of the group hit the ice for a pregame skate at the Garden. Those who played Friday night in Bridgeport, Conn. as the Bruins earned a 6-1 win over the Islanders had the morning off.

The players called up from Providence - Chris Breen, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Alex Khokhlachev, Justin Florek and Zach Trotman - were all reassigned to the P-Bruins.

"Yeah, they all went back last night after the game. We’re anticipating probably recalling Spooner for tonight again," Head Coach Claude Julien told media on Saturday morning. "So far, that would be the only one."

Spooner is expected to play on the left wing again, as he did on Friday night, potting two goals in the process. It was only the second time in about five years that he can remember playing on the wing.

Even though Spooner is a natural centerman, he said he was open to giving it more time to adjust to the new position. It appears that he'll get another shot to do that against Detroit.

"Maybe we have to see [him on the wing] a little bit more," Julien had said following Friday's game. "But you don't let one game convince you; it takes more than one game to convince us whether he's able and comfortable to play there and that's what I mean, we may have to look at him again."

David Pastrnak is also expected in the lineup against the Red Wings, following up his NHL preseason debut in Bridgeport.

"For a guy, his first game, you see his skill level that a young player has, and again, this is his first NHL game so getting his feet wet and trying to feel his way through," Julien said following Friday's game. "I thought that as the game went, he started feeling better and was making good plays, so to me, he looked like a player playing in his first game, with talent - and he'll only get better as he feels more and more comfortable."

The biggest adjustment for Pastrnak was having less time to make plays.

"It's still hockey, you know?" the young forward said after getting his first taste of NHL action. "It's still hockey, it's just not so much time like in Europe. It's still the same thing and doesn't matter if it's the U.S. or Sweden, it's still hockey and I just try to play my game."

While he missed out on the first week of preseason action, he gets one more chance to make an impression. The biggest question around him has been if he's strong enough to make the jump and win his share of one-on-one battles against faster and stronger players at the NHL level.

"You know, I don't think I'm the only guy who's 175 pounds in the NHL. There's many guys who are light but I felt pretty good," said Pastrnak. "The only problem at the beginning wasthat it was a little bit shorter timing."

"It would have been ideal to see him play more preseason games - he's in the lineup [Saturday night] again and we need to see him," said Julien. "It would have been a lot better if we could have seen him play more and be with us for the whole camp, versus just this latter part."

"And you have to look at maybe the potential that he has and maybe make your decision based on that. Like saying, listen, a month from now - because he missed a couple of weeks - a month from now, how good will he be? Or do we still think that he'll benefit more by either going to the minors or whatever decision upper management decides to make for him?"

Gagne Still in the Mix

Simon Gagne remains with Boston on his tryout agreement, and will have another chance to get up to speed on Saturday night.

The veteran has been focusing on learning the Bruins' systems, and making sure he plays the right way.

He commented pregame on the fact that fans haven't seen flashes from him and dazzling plays, but can feel his offense coming around.

Julien sees that as well.

"Just the fact that I’ve seen him get better as camp has progressed," said Julen. "When a guy like him who’s been in the league, had some success, who’s got some experience, has been off for a year and you see him improving, you’re a little intrigued on what kind of progress he can make."

"We're gonna have a tough decision to make with him. We want to certainly give him that opportunity for his sake and for ours."

Smith Building Off First Preseason Game

Reilly Smith ended Friday night's game against the Islanders with a highlight reel goal, starting his shift by mowing over an Isle, before hunting down Ryan Strome, stripping him of the puck, and putting it past Chad Johnson while falling. Julien even called it "a beauty."

That was about the only thing Smith was happy with about his night, though, even if he looked OK.

"Far from midseason form, so there's a lot of work to be done and hopefully I take another step forward [on Saturday night]," Smith was quick to say following the Islanders' game.

"It's good to see the positive, even if that was right at the end of the game, but that will definitely make me sleep a little bit better, but other than that, it doesn't mean too much. It's the little things I need to work on - definitely felt a little slow out there, so I've got to get back to that."

Smith feels he's right on the cusp of adjusting back to the speed and the pace of the game, even if he did start camp weeks later than he would liked to.

"It's kind of just right on that border, getting used to the pace of the game, making decisions a little faster," he said. "So hopefully it's a little better [Saturday] and I'll try and make it better every day."

Saturday Morning's Practice Lineup

Forwards: Krejci, Eriksson, Marchand, Bergeron, Fraser, Paille, Campbell, Caron, Cunningham, Gagne, Robins, Camara

Defensemen: Chara, Hamilton, Boychuk, McQuaid, Bartkowski, Warsofsky

Goalies: Rask, Svedberg, Subban

*Bartkowski, Cunningham, Paille, Caron, Subban and Svedberg all played on Friday night in Bridgeport. The rest of Friday's lineup had the morning off.

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