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Bergeron back at Bruins practice, feeling good

by Matt Kalman

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron missed two of the last three games of the regular season and sat out the third period of the third game in that stretch.

The veteran alternate captain also didn't participate in the Bruins' first practice Tuesday in preparation for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN).

Bergeron returned to the ice Wednesday and practiced with linemates Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith at Ristuccia Arena.

Whatever was bothering Bergeron, it was classified as minor by Boston. Because the Presidents' Trophy winners had little to play for in the final week of the regular season, the Bruins were overly cautious with Bergeron and several of their players who might've had various ailments. Wednesday, the Bruins were without defensemen Kevan Miller (undisclosed) and Matt Bartkowski (undisclosed), and forwards Chris Kelly (back) and Daniel Paille (head).

Bergeron said he wasn't concerned about what was bothering him or about the time he missed.

"No, it's been fine. It's good and now I'm ready to get going and to get started," he said after practice.

The most recent time Bergeron suited up for a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he proved that almost nothing could stop him from playing. Already hampered by a cracked rib, Bergeron battled through a punctured lung and a separated shoulder in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks last June.

Although his courage has been lauded by outsiders and people within the organization for 10 months since, Bergeron said he doesn't reflect much on that night, which ended in disappointment when the Blackhawks clinched the championship with a comeback victory.

"It's great. I mean I'm feeling good and it was one of those times where it seemed like everything was happening at the same time all at once," he said. "But now it's good, it's in the past, and I'm looking forward for a tough, but a great series."

Already a defensive stalwart with a Selke Trophy win, Bergeron re-emerged as a dangerous offensive player this season. He scored 30 goals for the first time since the 2005-06 season to go along with his plus-38 rating. Bergeron downplayed the significance of scoring 30 goals, which tied Jarome Iginla for the Bruins lead. He said he's more concerned about team accomplishments and what it's going to take to beat the Red Wings.

"I mean, I think we've been pretty consistent throughout the season, but also especially down the stretch," he said. "And we've got to obviously carry that through the playoffs. It's been a fun year for us. We've just got to make sure obviously this is when it all goes back to zero and we all have to work even harder to get back in it. So it's going to be a tough series, we've got to approach it a game at a time, and we're looking forward to playing the Red Wings."

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