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Bruins' Bergeron game-time decision vs. Blue Jackets

Center has missed past two games; Columbus looks to extend 4-0-1 run

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

BRUINS (30-20-6) at BLUE JACKETS (23-28-6)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; NESN, FS-O, TVA Sports, NHL.TV

COLUMBUS -- Boston Bruins leading scorer Patrice Bergeron will be a game-time decision against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in Nationwide Arena.

Bergeron, who has 21 goals and 47 points, has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. 

In his absence, Ryan Spooner has centered the top line with Brad Marchand and Brett Connolly. Spooner has two assists in those games. 

"I've seen him be a little bit better, not to say he hasn't been good, but at this time of the year we expect a lot out of our players," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "When you're battling for a playoff spot you need to show some character and we're asking that of everybody." 

Connolly said Spooner, who has 11 goals and 40 points, has handled the responsibility well. 

"He's a guy that can make plays," Connolly said. "He's been good on the draws the last few games. He's done good so far. He's looking obviously to step up and fill [Bergeron's] role. It's not an easy task, but he's a guy that can do that." 

The Bruins have goals nine from seven players in the past two games without Bergeron. 

"You need that," Julien said. "It's important you have that when those kinds of things happen. Hopefully it creates some confidence in those guys to continue to do that when guys come back to the lineup." 

One player Julien doesn't have to worry about is Marchand. He has a seven-game goal streak (eight goals) and has 13 goals in 13 games to match his NHL career-high 28 goals in the 2011-12 season. 

"It's pretty remarkable," Connolly said. "It seems like every time you give him the puck in good areas he's scoring. He's a confident player right now. It's fun to watch. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if he scores again tonight. He's been playing that well." 

The Blue Jackets, 4-0-1 in the past five games, are getting major production from the line Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson.  

"We want to make a difference every night," Jenner said. "We expect to be a good line for us, be a big line for us and score goals." 
In the past 10 games Atkinson has six goals and 11 points, and Dubinsky four goals and 10 points. Jenner scored twice Saturday in a 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators. 

"Their wall play, both offensively and defensively, has really been consistent," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "They've won a lot of battles. They support one another along the wall so they end up with the puck quite a bit. 

"They have a ton of confidence. They're doing the right things. That's a situation where you play well but not forgetting why you're playing well." 

Atkinson said the line works off their individual strengths. 

"Boone's the type of guy that goes to the paint hard and wins his one-on-one battles," he said. "The same with [Dubinsky]. He likes to work behind the net. I like to create space and get open for them." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

Brad Marchand - Ryan Spooner - Brett Connolly 
Loui Eriksson - David Krejci- Jimmy Hayes  
Matt Beleskey - Joonas Kemppainen - David Pastrnak  
Landon Ferraro - Max Talbot - Tyler Randell  

Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman  
Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller  
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller  

Tuukka Rask  
Jonas Gustavsson  

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Zac Rinaldo  
Injured: Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed), Chris Kelly (broken leg), Adam McQuaid (upper body) 

Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson 
Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad  
Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Nick Foligno  
Kerby Rychel - Gregory Campbell - Rene Bourque  

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones  
Jack Johnson - David Savard  
Fedor Tyutin - Dalton Prout  

Joonas Korpisalo  
Curtis McElhinney  

Scratched: Justin Falk, Jared Boll, Cody Goloubef  
Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Clarkson (upper body) 

Status report: McQuaid, who has missed 18 games since Jan. 18, might be activated. "He's getting closer," Julien said. "He had a little bit of a setback yesterday. He had a minor setback. He looks fit today, so he could be a game-time decision as well." … McElhinney returns from injured reserve after missing 17 games since Jan. 5 with an ankle sprain. Anton Forsberg was sent to Lake Erie of the American Hockey League on Monday. 

Who's hot: Saad has goals in two straight and five of the past eight games. His 21 goals lead Columbus and are two shy of his NHL high. Korpisalo is 8-1-2 with a 1.94 goals-against average in starting 11 of the past 13 games. "He's been our best player for quite a while here," Tortorella said. … In the past three games, Krejci has one goal and five points; Eriksson has three goals and four points and Hayes has three goals and four points.

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