BostonBruins.com — “That’s why I put you out there.”
David Pastrnak made his return to the Bruins’ lineup on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Prior to that, he had been out of the Spoked-B sweater for nearly seven weeks, first dealing with a fracture in his foot, then getting up to speed down in Providence, before heading overseas to compete for his native Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship.
Pastrnak's season hasn't necessarily gone the way Pastrnak — or the Bruins — would have hoped.
So, on Tuesday night against the Canadiens, in just his 14th game of the season, getting fourth line minutes wasn’t surprising. It was beneficial.
Pastrnak made use of the shifts doled out to him. He focused on doing his job. He earned a goal and an assist in Boston’s 4-1 win.
“I don’t have problem to play with any line, you know,” Pastrnak said following the Bruins’ practice at TD Garden on Wednesday, the morning after the big victory. “I try every time that I’m on a line, no matter what line I play and I try to read from the players, what they kind of need from me, so just trying to fit into every line.”
BOSTON — David Krejci is getting closer to his return to the Bruins’ lineup.
The Bruins next face the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night at home.
“Still day-to-day with David. So we’ll see,” Head Coach Claude Julien said following Wednesday’s practice. “Today was his first day with contact. We did a little bit extra there at the end, and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, and just continue to evaluate that way.”
He stayed on for extra work after practice and took part in battling drills in the corner.
MONTREAL — The Black & Gold left the Bell Centre crowd disgruntled on Tuesday night, changing the “Go Habs Go!” chants in the first minute of the game to boo birds by the time the buzzer sounded.
For the Bruins, the 4-1 victory in Montreal meant three straight wins for the first time since mid-December.
For the Canadiens, the loss marked their fifth straight defeat.
Boston added two more points to their repertoire, while the Habs fell out of a playoff position.
“It is very satisfying,” said Max Talbot, who scored his second goal of the season (and as a Bruin) to put Boston up 1-0 in the first period. “You know, yes, it’s Montreal in one way, but it’s the standings, you know? These are points we need to get that we work hard to get, because everybody’s so tight in the standings.”
MONTREAL — Center David Krejci has missed the past nine games and will miss No. 10 on Tuesday night, when the Bruins face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Krejci is close to a return from an upper-body injury sustained on Dec. 27, but he remains on Injured Reserve. Krejci practiced with the team for the first time on Monday and did not take or give much contact.
“No. No chance for Krejci,” Head Coach Claude Julien said on Tuesday morning, confirming the center’s status. “He had one practice.”
As for winger David Pastrnak, who has missed the Bruins’ past three games with an upper-body injury, Julien suggested that he could be a game-time decision.
“We’ll see about some of those guys there,” Julien said, when asked about Pastrnak’s status. “We’ll have some decisions to make tonight. So we’ll make those later on.”
This season has been tough injury-wise for Pastrnak. He only played 10 games at the start before fracturing his foot and missing 21 games. He returned from a conditioning stint with Providence and playing at the World Junior Championship in Finland, suited up in three games with Boston and then was faced with an upper-body injury.
Both forwards practiced with the team Monday at Ristuccia Arena.
The skate marked Krejci’s first with his teammates since he suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 27 in a collision with the Senators’ Bobby Ryan in Ottawa. He has missed the Bruins’ past nine games and remains on Injured Reserve. His status is day-to-day.
“It’s nice to see him out there,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “You know, both Davids are back in there, so it was nice to see those guys.”
Pastrnak has been out for the last three games with an upper-body injury. He was on the ice for the Bruins’ pregame skate on Friday, but Monday marked his first full practice back with the team as well. Like Krejci, he is day-to-day.
Post-practice on Monday, Julien was not sure how close Krejci is to returning.
“Don’t know,” said the bench boss. “Really don’t know. We talk about day-to-day, so we have look at it that way. [The trainers will] let us know here as we get closer, but first day of skating for him and for David [Pastrnak], for the most part, jumping back in with us.”
Krejci had started skating on his own while the Bruins were on their long, nine-day road trip.
“It was kind of lonely here by myself, but it was good to get out there with the guys and get a real practice,” said Krejci.
“I’d like to come back as soon as possible, but this kind of injury — at this point, where I’m at now, it’s kind of day to day, so we’ll see how I feel [on Tuesday]. Hopefully better and see how it feels [Tuesday] in warmup.”
Krejci didn’t take — or give — much contact on Monday, which usually happens before an injured player makes his return.
“I need to feel 100 percent skating and 100 percent shooting,” Krejci said. “I’m getting there. But it was a good day today.”
“Today was a good practice. Lots of skating…There wasn’t much contact, so — I don’t think I hit anyone, I don’t think anyone hit me, but it was a good day,” he added.
The centerman had to deal with injuries throughout last season. He’s itching to get back, but doesn’t want to rush it.
“It’s my body, and I make the decision, so trainers tell me when I’m ready — I tell them how I feel and they tell me if that’s good enough to play,” he said. “But the decision’s on me mostly.”
The Bruins will be happy whenever they can get a healthy Krejci back into their lineup. Ryan Spooner has played his best hockey in the interim, but Krejci’s presence will provide them a much-needed boost for the second half of the season.
“They’ve been playing really hard,” Krejci said of his teammates. “Even in the games they lost, they could have gotten at least a point, so they’ve been playing well, so hopefully once I come back, I can just kind of jump in and just keep going with the guys.”
Next Up: Montreal
The Bruins head on the road having won back-to-back games on Friday in Buffalo (4-1) and on Saturday against Toronto (3-2).
They needed last-minute heroics with Torey Krug saving a goal at one end, and Brad Marchand scoring the game-winner at the other, but the two victories should give the Bruins enough confidence heading into Montreal for Tuesday night’s matchup with the Canadiens.
“I mean, we didn’t lack confidence going into Buffalo. We didn’t lack confidence going into Toronto. I think it’s more — we don’t lose confidence, we just have to right our ship every time we slip a little bit,” said Julien. “And do certain things better to turn the outcome.”
The Black & Gold appear to have gotten themselves back on track. Their three losses to the Flyers, Rangers and Senators last week were all by a slim margin. Their game has been trending upwards.
“We’ve gotten better,” said Julien. “ When you’re leading after two periods, you’re doing something good on the road and had we been able to close those two games in the third period [in Philadephia and New York], we would be talking about 11 out of the last 12 points.”
“So it’s about looking at with open eyes and realizing that the margin of error is slim and we lost four valuable points there just because we couldn’t close in the third, but it didn’t mean that our team played poorly. So it’s nice to get those couple of wins and continue to build on that.”
The last time the Bruins saw the Habs — in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 — it wasn’t pretty. Some redemption would be nice.
“There’s always something on the line,” said Julien. “Like, last game against Toronto — you know what? We can’t afford to lose those games. So there’s always something on the line and whether we want to make it bigger than others or whatever, I just go in there — I’m just looking for one thing and it’s to win, so no matter how we do it, what the reasons are, looking for a win.”
Adam McQuaid Update
Defenseman Adam McQuaid has not started skating yet, Julien told reporters on Monday.
McQuaid was injured on Jan. 5, when he took a hard hit from behind by the Washington Capitals’ Zach Sill.
Practice Lineup 1/18
BUFFALO — Zdeno Chara brought out a chorus of boos from the 21,000-plus at First Niagara on Friday night.
Just 29 seconds into the third period, his wrister from the left point went under a jumping Ryan Spooner, through a Matt Beleskey moving screen and right by Sabres netminder Robin Lehner to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
It came after a faceoff win by Beleskey, who notched a goal and an assist on the night. It was Chara’s first goal in 19 games.
When the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winer was announced in-arena, the boos rained down.
This time around, the Bruins didn’t let up in the third. They closed out a 4-1 win to snap a three-game losing streak and end their five-game road trip with a much-needed victory.
“We wanted to make sure that we kept the high pace,” Chara said postgame. “That we stayed aggressive on the forecheck in our neutral zone and had good breakouts, clean breakouts and for most of the third, we did that.”
BUFFALO — The Bruins are in need of a win.
And not just because of the two points would significantly help in the standings, where the Bruins are squeezed in the playoff picture, tied with two teams for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Those points are important. Those are everything in this League.
But those wearing the Spoked-B day in and day out also need a win - in the form of a strong road victory on Friday night against the Sabres - for their pride.
“We’re in a spot where we need to win games, and we know that,” Max Talbot said following the Bruins’ pregame skate at First Niagara Center, as they prepared to close out their five-game road trip.
“We’re not playing bad hockey, but I think we can play better, and at the end of the day, it’s the results that count,” said Talbot. “So we’re going to keep on working hard and hope we get the two points tonight.”
The Bruins began their road trip with a 4-1 win in New Jersey a week ago. Losses to the Senators, Rangers and Flyers have all followed. Their 2-1 overtime loss in Ottawa could have gone either way. In New York (2-1 loss) and Philadelphia (3-2 loss), the Bruins saw third period leads slip away.
NEW YORK — The Bruins came out hard under the spotlights at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Ryan Spooner found room down the right side and sped in on Henrik Lundqvist just over a minute into the game, before being turned aside.
At the other end, Tuukka Rask had to be just as sharp.
The tight matchup continued all night long, but the Bruins ended it the way they began: just short.
Jimmy Hayes finally broke through Lundqvist midway through the second period, but a quick goal by the Rangers just 35 seconds into the third period and a late game-winner with just 1:42 to go gave the home team a 2-1 victory.
It handed the Bruins their second straight loss. They now sit at 1-1-1 on their five game road trip, having taken three of six points so far. They next face the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday and the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday.
NEW YORK — The Bruins have picked up three of four points so far on their five-game road trip with Game No. 3 set for Monday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
They earned a 4-1 win over the Devils in New Jersey on Friday night before being edged by the Senators 2-1 in overtime on Saturday.
The Black & Gold are quickly moving on, though. Their matchup with the Sens could have gone either way in the 3-on-3 OT.
With the Bruins at the midpoint of their road trip, a strong outing could also catapult them into a good position heading into their final two games in Philadelphia and Buffalo.
“We know it’s a tough road trip and our guys have played fairly well,” Head Coach Claude Julien said pregame. “I thought in Ottawa the first period was kind of one of those periods where we had to get our legs under us and then once we did, it became a pretty even game and we had some chances. In overtime, if it doesn’t hit the post, it’s a win, but that’s how things go.”
NEWARK — The Bruins needed to start their five-game road trip with a win, plain and simple.
Heading into New Jersey’s Prudential Center on Friday night with two straight losses and five of their past six games having ended in defeat, the Black & Gold were tired of the results they had been getting.
Their simple road hockey would be a good start to turn their recent dip around. They own one of the League’s best road records.
A 4-1 victory over the Devils did the trick. Three Bruins picked up two-point nights with Ryan Spooner and Colin Miller each recording a goal and an assist, and Dennis Seidenberg earning two primary assists.
The win helped Boston jump New Jersey in the standings and take over the first Wild Card spot with 46 points and still two games in hand.
“We’re in a battle here with a lot of teams in our division and we’ve got some games in hand,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “These are the kind of games you have to win when you’ve got games in hand to try and get back into that upper group and at the start of a road trip — I thought we played well.”