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At the Rink: Blues at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand didn't practice Monday, but he took the ice with his teammates Tuesday for morning skate and took the first line rush during a 3-on-2 drill with his usual linemates Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith.

But then Marchand left after one shift and Matt Fraser replaced him on that line.

"Not well," Bruins coach Claude Julien said in response to a question about how Marchand was doing. "He went off the ice, so he won't be going tonight."

The Bruins host the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden.

Marchand, who has five goals and 11 points in 19 games this season, missed the majority of the third period of the Bruins' win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. The injury is undisclosed.

Julien said he did not yet know the status of center David Krejci, who has missed the past four games with an undisclosed injury. Krejci, who has three goals and 10 points in 10 games, participated in the morning skate.

According to Julien, defenseman Kevan Miller, who has been out since Oct. 18 with a dislocated shoulder, will skate in warmups and be a game-time decision.

If Fraser remains in Marchand's spot, it'll complete a tour of the Bruins lineup. Fraser has played at least part of a game, including the preseason, on every line. Fraser has two goals and a minus-1 rating in 11 games. During one stretch of the season, Fraser was scratched for eight of nine games. He has since played in seven straight. Although he hasn't scored since the first game of the current stretch Nov. 1, Fraser says his game is coming along.

"Yeah, I think so. I'd like to be contributing a little bit more offensively. But I feel like I've been getting my chances," Fraser said. "I've been around the net and the biggest thing for me is, being a younger guy in this organization, you've got to be good defensively and you've got to be good in all three zones. … You've got to gain that trust from the coaches and the guys in the room so that they know when you're out there you're going to get the job done."

The Bruins will have a lot to contend with against the Blues, who are 10-1-0 in their past 11 games. The Blues have been led by the hottest line in the League comprised of Jaden Schwarz, Vladimir Tarasenko and the NHL First Star of last week, Jori Lehtera. Lehtera had four goals and six points last week.

"It was a good week," said Lehtera, who along with Tarasenko became the second player from that line to win First Star in the past three weeks. "We played good. And of course it's nice and I hope I can keep going like this."

The Blues shouldn't have a problem knowing what the Bruins are doing because the two teams are so similar, according to coach Ken Hitchcock.

"We see everything in our team, except for one aspect. Claude, he's gone and cheated and changed some of his backchecking tactics like we did in the Olympics. He's gone and done that," Hitchcock said. "Our offensive zone, you can replace the numbers, the way both teams play in the 'O' zone is identical. The way their defense play defensively, the way their end zone defensive responsibilities is identical. We are mirror images of each other. And the only change, quite frankly, from last year to this year was their track and reload responsibilities. He's changed and they're way more aggressive in hunting the puck carrier down from the inside, which is a pretty big change from them."

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrik BerglundDavid BackesT.J. Oshie

Alexander SteenPaul StastnyJoakim Lindstrom

Jaden SchwartzJori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Steve OttMaxim LapierreRyan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Carl GunnarssonKevin Shattenkirk

Barret JackmanIan Cole

Brian Elliott

Jake Allen

Scratched: Chris Butler, Chris Porter, Magnus Paajarvi

Injured: None


Milan LucicDavid KrejciSeth Griffith

Matt FraserPatrice BergeronReilly Smith

Chris KellyCarl SoderbergLoui Eriksson

Simon GagneGregory CampbellDaniel Paille

Dennis SeidenbergAdam McQuaid

Matt BartkowskiTorey Krug

Joe MorrowDougie Hamilton

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Scratched: None

Injured: Brad Marchand (undisclosed), Kevan Miller (shoulder), Zdeno Chara (knee)

Status update: If Krejci can't play, the Bruins could need to call up a forward from Providence of the American Hockey League. Kelly would probably center Lucic and Griffith. … If Miller can play, Bartkowski would probably be out. Bartkowski had been scratched for seven straight before he returned to the lineup Saturday.

Who's hot: Lehtera has a seven-game point streak with five goals and 11 points in that span. Schwartz has a point in six straight, with two goals and 10 points. … Rask stopped 33 of 34 shots in the Bruins past game.

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