The Boston Bruins can't help but be concerned about Patrice Bergeron, but they know they still have work to do.
Five days after a brutal hit landed their star center in the hospital, the Bruins (6-4-0) return to the ice when they host the Buffalo Sabres (5-5-0).
Bergeron was knocked unconscious after he was pushed into the boards from behind by Philadelphia's Randy Jones in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Flyers. Bergeron was taken from the ice on a stretcher and driven to Massachusetts General Hospital, where team physician Dr. Bertram Zarins diagnosed him with a concussion and a broken nose.
Bergeron, who has three goals and four assists, was released from the hospital the following day. There is no timetable for his return, though general manager Peter Chiarelli said concussions of this severity usually require at least a month of recovery time.
Jones apologized after the game and was suspended by the NHL for two games. Boston coach Claude Julien called the play "a dirty hit."
"It's hard to see your teammate go down," defenseman Zdeno Chara told the Bruins' official Web site. "But at the same time, things like that happen. Unfortunately, it's part of hockey - the injuries. We cannot control them, and we have a job to do.
"Obviously we have a very tough schedule coming up, so we have to focus on these upcoming games."
The Bruins' next nine contests are against Northeast Division opponents, including three meetings with Buffalo. Boston is 3-12-1 against the Sabres since the start of the 2005-06 season, and only one of the Bruins' wins came in regulation.
"There's no doubt that we'll be looking back at that stretch at the end of the year, one way or another, and (seeing) how it propelled us or was a situation where it cost us," Julien told the team's Web site.
Saturday's defeat was Boston's second in seven games and first at home. Marco Sturm scored the Bruins' lone goal.
Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots for Boston but fell to 4-2-0. He will likely see a lot of time in goal in the near future, as Manny Fernandez strained his left knee in practice Tuesday. The Bruins recalled goalie Jordan Sigalet from Providence of the AHL the same day.
The Sabres, meanwhile, have won two straight after Saturday's 4-3 overtime road victory over Tampa Bay. Thomas Vanek scored with 40.5 seconds left in the extra period.
Buffalo, which is wrapping up a five-game road trip, plays 10 of its next 11 against Northeast opponents.
"A big step for us," said Ryan Miller, who made 31 saves. "Tonight was a great opportunity for us to stick together and prove we could win the game. We were down two goals quick in the second period and we didn't give up. We came right back."
Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who has missed four games with a shoulder injury, is hoping to return Thursday. Spacek is tied for the team lead with three power-play goals.
The Sabres have just five power-play goals in 30 chances in their last six games.
"We've made some adjustments, but (Spacek's absence) hurt us," coach Lindy Ruff told the Sabres' Web site. "That power-play unit, with him shooting off the right side, was going real well for us. I thought his penalty killing was excellent for us."