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Flu, injuries keep Bruins regulars from practice

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins' first practice since the end of the regular season featured a skeleton crew of players on the ice at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Six players that usually would be expected to skate were missing when the Bruins began preparations for the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round is scheduled for Friday at the Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Bruins coach Claude Julien said some of the players were missing due to a flu bug that's been going around. He would not differentiate between who was out with the flu and who was injured.

Center Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed), defenseman Kevan Miller (undisclosed), and forwards Daniel Paille (head) and Chris Kelly (back) missed time toward the end of the regular season and did not practice Tuesday. Forward Loui Eriksson, and defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros also were missing.

Julien said he didn't know how many players would be available for the rest of the practices this week. The extra time before the start of the series should help Boston.

Julien, asked if he's grateful the series doesn't start until Friday, said, "Well I am today, when you see what's happening with our group here with the flu bug going around, they'll take the extra days. That's maybe a little blessing in disguise there."

In order to have enough bodies for practice and to be prepared for any absences when the series starts, forward Justin Florek was recalled from the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate in Providence. The rookie played four games for the Bruins in 2013-14 and finished with one goal and one assist. A Michigan native, Florek grew up a Red Wings fan and admired Steve Yzerman and Tomas Holmstrom.

"They were my favorite team growing up," Florek said. "But it's awesome to have this chance to play against them, beat them. So I'm looking forward to it."

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