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Kobasew misses practice with flu

by Shawn P. Roarke / NHL.com
The Boston Bruins held a full practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, their training facility in Wilmington, Mass., before flying to Raleigh in the afternoon for Wednesday's pivotal Game 3 of this best-of-7 series.

There was little news to come out of that practice, other than checking-line winger Chuck Kobasew missed the session. Afterward, Boston coach Claude Julien said that Kobasew was fighting flu-like systems that cropped up Monday evening. Julien said Kobasew would be evaluated Wednesday morning, but should be available for that night's Game 3 at the RBC Center (7:30 pm ET, Versus, TSN).

Kobasew, along with center Patrice Bergeron and winger Mark Recchi, is often deployed against the opposition's top line -- in this case whatever line is centered by Eric Staal.

But, with the venue switching from Boston to Raleigh, Carolina coach Paul Maurice now gets the luxury of the last line change before faceoffs, meaning that Julien would have to work far harder to keep that match intact.

Boston has not been a line-matching team this season, so it should be interesting to see how Julien uses his forward lines. It is a safe bet, though, that Julien will still do everything in his power to get defensemen Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward on the ice whenever Staal is out there.

Boston Bruins Playoff GearMost coaches find it easier to match defensive pairs than forward lines, as a rule. Julien matched Chara and Ward against the Saku Koivu-Alex Kovalev line during both road games against Montreal.

The other news to come out of Tuesday's practice is Matt Hunwick had a brief skate, joined by Marco Sturm, another injured player.

Hunwick, a rookie defenseman with an offensive bent to his game, was lost before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when he had his ruptured spleen removed. It is believed he suffered the injury in Game 1 against Montreal.

Sturm, an alternate captain for the Bruins, has been out since Dec. 18 because of a knee injury.

Contact Shawn Roarke at sroarke@nhl.com
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