WILMINGTON — For the Bruins, Thanksgiving Day marks an important milestone.
With a little less than two months of the season under their belts, the Bruins consider themselves satisfied if they are in the playoff picture — relatively satisfied. As of now, they are in the mix for a postseason spot, and while that is obviously a positive, they are the first to admit that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Historically, teams that are there at the time stay there, but guys on the fringe move up and down,” said General Manager Peter Chiarelli after Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day practice at Ristuccia Arena. “But it’s a good milestone for us, and this year, the amount of injuries the amount of roster fluctuation that we’ve had — I’m relatively satisfied with where we are now.
“I think what I look at when I assess a team and assess the games, game by game — it’s effort and work ethic, and I think the system will eventually come into place and the proper personnel will eventually be in place. Those first two things have been good, I’ve found. So we’re in a spot where we say we want to be in that kind of area, where historically you’ve made the playoffs, if you’re there at this time.
“So we’re there. We’ve reached an interim goal, and relatively satisfied.”
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Chris Kelly was back practicing with the Bruins on Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
The alternate captain missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. It was his first time back skating with the team since he sustained the injury in Columbus on November 21.
When asked about the injury, Kelly could confirm it wasn't related to his back (a herniated disc in his lower back kept him out of the 2014 postseason and caused him to have offseason back surgery), or his head.
"I think we thought [it was] better to be on the cautious side of things," Kelly said following practice. "It was exactly kind of how we thought it would be. And it felt good today, and we'll see how it feels again [on Thursday]."
When pressed about what he 'thought' the injury was, Kelly jested, "I thought it was 'hurt feelings,'" before designating it as "upper-body."
"He was only light contact, so I'll see how our medical staff evaluates him here in the next few days and we'll take it day-by-day," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
With Kelly back, David Krejci was the lone Bruins forward missing from Wednesday's practice.
BOSTON - There was one message that the Bruins heard loud and clear from their head coach for Monday night's tilt with the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.
Drive the net. Drive the net. Drive the net.
"You just have to battle more, throw pucks to the net - you have to sacrifice more," Reilly Smith said prior to the matchup. "That's definitely the biggest factor we're focusing on."
It could be solace for the Bruins that they played what they preached, and picked up a point. But they unfortunately came out on the losing end, falling 3-2 to the Pens with Evgeni Malkin providing the dagger 32 seconds into overtime.
"It was a hard fought game, especially in front of the net," Tuukka Rask said postgame. He stopped 30 of 33 shots between the pipes. "We just fell short in the overtime, but a pretty good hockey game."
"It reminded me a little of playoff hockey there at times because it was hard fought around the creases," Rask added. "And it’s a bounce here, it’s a mistake here and there that ends up deciding the game and we fell short, so it’s disappointing but at least we got the point. I guess we’ve got to take the positive out of it."
BOSTON - David Pastrnak has waited for the opportunity to suit up in his first NHL game with Boston, and that chance may come on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pastrnak was recalled on Monday morning, and joined the team on the ice for pregame skate.
Head Coach Claude Julien deemed Pastrnak a game-time decision, as the Bruins have question marks with their lineup. While David Krejci and Chris Kelly remain out due to undisclosed injuries, Brad Marchand could be ready to return from his own undisclosed injury.
Jordan Caron was also recalled with Pastrnak. The transactions reunited three P-Bruins who have played together on Providence's top line this season: Caron, Pastrnak and Alex Khokhlachev, who remains with Boston on an emergency basis.
"I'm happy I got this opportunity to come here and it's - I don't know if [I'll] play, but practicing with those guys and everything it's great, so I'm just trying to enjoy it," a smiling Pastrnak said from the locker room following pregame skate.
Pastrnak found out he was getting his first NHL recall on Sunday, when he was set to play in Providence's afternoon game at the Dunkin Donuts Center, before he was given the news.
BOSTON - The Bruins have game-time decisions on Monday night as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.
The Bruins are capping off three games in four nights, after earning a 4-3 shootout win in Columbus on Friday night, before falling 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
David Krejci remains sidelined by an undisclosed injury that will see him miss his third straight game and his ninth in the past 11 games. Chris Kelly is also out day-to-day with an undisclosed injury suffered during Friday night's game in Columbus.
Brad Marchand has missed three straight games with an undisclosed injury, but he was out on the ice for pregame skate on Monday morning, and is a game-time decision against the Penguins.
David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron were both recalled from the Providence Bruins and are available for the matchup. Pastrnak would be suiting up in his first NHL game. It would mark Caron's first NHL action of the season.
BOSTON - The Bruins' play on Saturday night at TD Garden against the Montreal Canadiens may not have warranted a win, but it also didn't necessarily merit a loss.
Playing with injuries up front to David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, in addition the well-documented injuries on the back end, the Black and Gold worked hard. They didn't head into their second game of a back-to-back against the heated rival who's had their number already this season ready to fold.
In the end, the Canadiens took the 2-0 win and handed the Bruins their first loss in four games.
It wasn't a pretty game, but it also wasn't as ugly as Head Coach Claude Julien would have liked, around the front of the net.
"If there’s something we’re going to critique here it’s probably the fact that we didn’t put enough pucks on net and get some net-front presence," Julien told reporters postgame. "We tried in the third to rectify that and did a little bit better, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and the goaltender was standing tall for them."
"We’re not scoring goals easily these days, so we’ve really got to get our noses dirty in front of the net and throw some pucks in areas where we can jump on those loose pucks."
The Bruins outshot Montreal 33-23, and had another 31 attempts that missed the mark or were blocked, and it takes plenty of bodies and jam around the net to beat Carey Price.
BOSTON — The Bruins entered Friday night’s matchup against Columbus knowing they were facing their first of three games in four nights. They knew that they desperately needed two points with tough tests against Montreal and Pittsburgh lying in the immediate future.
They knew they would have to do it without the help of Brad Marchand, who stayed back in Boston with an undisclosed ailment, and without David Krejci, who made the trip but was unable to play on Friday due to an undisclosed situation.
So when they found themselves down by two goals heading into the third period of Friday’s game, they just bore down and did what they needed to do with the personnel they had.
The Bruins overcame a 2-0 first period deficit, scoring three third-period goals and eventually triumphing over the Blue Jackets in the seventh round of a scoreless shootout, thanks to the craftiness of Alex Khokhlachev, playing in his second career NHL game in Krejci’s place.
COLUMBUS — The Blue Jackets and the Bruins have one big theme in common thus far in 2014-15: Injuries.
Granted, the Bruins have had it bad, but they haven’t had it as bad as Columbus — and that’s saying something, considering Boston’s captain has been out with a knee injury since Oct. 23.
Through 18 games this season, the Blue Jackets have already lost 124 man games to injuries. Nathan Horton’s struggles have been well documented — he has yet to play this season due to a back injury and is currently faced with the impossible decision between opting for potentially career-ending surgery or waiting it out.
BostonBruins.com - Brad Marchand skated in Thursday's practice at TD Garden, but was not expected to travel with the team to Columbus later in the afternoon.
"He skated but I don’t think we’re going to bring him on the trip," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following practice. "We’re going to give him some more time. But he felt much better, so he’s doing better. Day-to-day."
Marchand has been deemed "day-to-day" since last Saturday's game (November 15) against Carolina, in which he didn't finish out the third period. Thursday marked his first lengthy skate of the week. He missed practices on Monday and Wednesday, and only took part in Tuesday's morning skate for a few minutes before leaving the ice and not suiting up against St. Louis. His situation is undisclosed.
Dougie Hamilton was also back at practice after missing Wednesday's skate with the flu.
Defenseman Zach Trotman joined the group after being recalled from Providence Thursday morning, in light of Wednesday's news that Adam McQuaid is out six to eight weeks with a broken thumb suffered against St. Louis on Tuesday night.
BostonBruins.com - The new ProShop powered by Reebok at TD Garden will officially open this Saturday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m. prior to the Bruins-Canadiens game. The ProShop serves as the official team store of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.
On Thursday morning, Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs was on hand for the ceremonial ribbon cutting, along with Bruins President Cam Neely, Boston Celtics Team President Rich Gotham and Reebok General Manager of the Sports Licensed Division John Warren.
"I am so happy to have this done, and I expect our fans will really enjoy this new experience," Jacobs said. "This ProShop is roughly twice the size of our old footprint down in North Station, and it should be a great experience for our event-goers, whether it's Celtics, Bruins or a concert."