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Toronto vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Pascal is in the house...

Providence's leading scorer (and fourth in the AHL), Pascal Pelletier, minus mustache and goatee,  has arrived and should play at least a small part in tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Admitting that he was a little "tight" in the optional pregame skate, Pascal said, "I am just really happy to be here."

He got the call from former Bruins defenseman and current Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development, Don Sweeney.

"I was really happy."

That seemed to be the understatement of the century, since the young man was grinning from ear to ear and looked to be enjoying his new parking space in the Bruins dressing room -- between Dennis Wideman and Mark Stuart.

Wearing number 42 on his helmet, Pelletier said he welcomed the prospect of joining other members of the P-Bruins who have traveled north on I-95 and made an impact.

"It's just a great day...and I hope to be able to help the team," said Pascal.

Auld in the net?
Although Bruins head coach Claude Julien did not mention it specifically, Alex Auld left the ice early and seemed to signal the he would be in the barrel for Boston this evening.

The B's usual starter, Tim Thomas, admitted yesterday that he had felt the effects of the flu-like bug that has made its way through the locker room since last Friday.

Auld, who made several terrific saves against the Flyers on Saturday, stands at 8-10-2 on the season with a 2.92 GAA and a .901 Sv%. Since being traded to Boston, Alex has played in nine games with a 5-4-0 record and a 2.29 GAA and a .922 Sv%.

Nerves or No Nerves
Several of the Bruins reminisced about their first NHL game.

Mark Stuart faced the prospect of joining future NHL Hall of Famer Brian Leetch on the Bruins blueline when he first joined the Bruins.

"Just hearing him say that he was a little bit tight in the skate, that was the same way I was," said Stuart. "But then, when I went out for the game, it was a little bit different.

"I just sort of concentrated on playing and kind of forgot about it."

But looking over to see Leetch in the locker room, especially for an American defenseman, was special.

"It was crazy."

Milan Lucic reminded me that his first pregame Skate was canceled because the Bruins got into Dallas a little late for the first game of this season.

"Obviously, your first game in the NHL is something that you are going to be nervous about," said Lucic. "So, all of us have been telling (Pascal) that there is nothing to be nervous about and to just go out there and play hockey.

Like Stuart, Lucic said that looking out at the ice was a bit daunting.

"You had watched all of them on TV all the time," said Milan. "Zdeno (Chara) and Savvy (Savard)...(and the) guys you play against, too, like Mike Modano.

"You see them and you are like 'Wow, I am in the same league as these guys'."

Phil Kessel said he just tried to take it all in stride.

"I wasn't too nervous," said Phil. "I just wanted to go out there and play.

"You've played hockey your whole life, so you just have to go out there and play your game and you'll be fine.

"I enjoyed it," he said.

"Mine was in Buffalo," said Petteri Nokelainen. "It was a couple of years ago (with the Islanders).

"The day goes fast, just thinking about the game and I was nervous...your first regular season game is really special and it's a nice feeling," he said.

1:18 p.m.
This morning, Boston Bruins center Marc Savard was surrounded by Boston and Toronto media who got their first chance to ask the center about his All-Star selection.

"It's an awesome feeling and I owe a lot of thanks to the guys in the room and the coaching staff," said Savard. "I am going to have some fun."

"And it's an honor."

Marc was also questioned about the team's break (no games since last Saturday).

"Obviously we have a lot of injuries (and illness), so we got some rest," explained Savard. "We feel a little more energized in here, so hopefully we can get two points tonight."

3:01 p.m.
Savard was also asked about the youngsters on the roster:
"Just because we have injuries, they are not excuses...the kids have a chance to play here and they want to produce. And they've been doing a great job.

"I look around the room here and Krech (Krejci) came back up and has really had new life and has played well. Sobotka -- I love the way he plays. He's a little killer and likes to go out and (hit) guys as a small guy who's solid. And Pelts (Pelletier) will probably get a chance tonight.

"We are excited to see him and hopefully get a win."

4:29 p.m.
No friends or family in the stands for Pelletier this evening.

"Unfortunately, they are not going to make it for tonight," said Pascal. "If I am fortunate to be here on Saturday they should be here."

4:51 p.m.
The news on Glen Murray continues to be good and he continues to make progress as he attempts to return from a hip flexor injury.

"Yah, he is," agreed Coach Julien. "Obviously, we are being very cautious because of the type of injury that he's got. So he skated again this morning...and hopefully it will get to the stage were we can move on to the next level.

"We hope to have him back as soon as possible."

And there was finally some good news on Andrew Alberts.

"He is doing better," said Claude. "Is he ready to play, no. Obviously, you haven't seen him on the ice, but he is doing better.

"His situation is, at least, a positive one...and the real positive sign will be when you see him on the ice."

5:35 p.m.
It looks as if the unveiling of the newest incarnation of the Ice Girls will be this evening. Pictures of Our Girls are being flashed on all of the scoreboards...

The looks like the lineup:
Jamie, Eastham
Rebecca, Mansfield
Shannon, Salem
Samantha, Grafton
Jenn, Reading
Emily, Cape Cod
Alexa, Middleton
Andrea, Danvers
Christina, West Boylston
Audrey, Boston
Fasha, West Boylston
Grier, Milton
Jules, Hanover
Katherine, Dorchester
Kim, South Boston
Lauren, Bedford, NH
Megan, Cape Cod
Sydney, Boylston

Best wishes, Ladies!

6:02 p.m.
It's a small world...

So I am in the locker room at Wilmington and I see a book sitting in one of the stalls, Saved, which I have been reading myselt -- it just so happens to be written by my journalism professor at Boston University, Jack Falla.

It came out last week! And there it is in the locker room. Nice!

I don't know where I am going with this, but the point is, "It's a small world."

Good luck with the book, Prof!

6:39 p.m.

Vesa Toskala will start for Toronto, with Andrew Raycroft as his backup.

Alex Auld is the starter for Boston, with Tim Thomas in reserve.

The Boston Bruins lineup:
Chara-Wideman (sg) Auld
Ference-Ward (bg) Thomas
Stuart-Hnidy Go BRUINS!

6:43 p.m.
Lucic is without a cage or a visor. Be safe Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch!

I am heading over to the Running Recap. See you on the other side. Go B's! JB

6:47 p.m.
Almost forgot...
This Date in Bruins History:
All-Time Record on January 17: Home, 12-5-2. Road, 3-9-4. Overall, 15-14-6.
1984    Mike O’Connell extends his goal streak to seven games in a 7-3 loss at the Quebec Nordiques. It is a Boston club record for a defenseman.

7:03 p.m.
FYI: Lucic returned to the ice in a cage.
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