BostonBruins.com - Tuukka Rask is in a groove.
The netminder has started eight straight games, most recently backing the Bruins to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings and their eighth win in 10 games on Saturday night.
The victory capped off an 8-1-3 month of January for the Bruins. Rask started 11 of those games, going 7-1-3, including a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers on Jan. 15.
For his efforts, he was named the NHL's Third Star of the Month for January.
Rask and the Bruins only had one regulation loss throughout the month, coming on Jan. 17 against Columbus. Through his 11 appearances, he allowed just 18 goals for a 1.64 goals-against average and stopped 336 of 354 shots for a .949 save percentage .
Rask held opponents to two goals or less in nine of those 11 games.
"Tuukka’s been solid for so long," Daniel Paille said. "So even when he was playing [earlier in the season], he was still playing well — just no one was helping him."
"Maintenance days, for all three of them," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "I would expect them, all three, to be at practice [on Tuesday]."
Eriksson left Saturday night's win over Los Angeles late in the third period after taking a hit from Robyn Regehr into the boards.
"He’s doing OK," Julien said on Monday. "He’s stiff from that neck thing. He’s expected to be OK for the next game, but it wasn’t as, I guess, as severe as it could have been. But it was a neck injury."
Given Eriksson's two concussions last season that kept him out for nearly half of the 2013-14 campaign, the forward's exit from the game didn't look optimistic. But Julien confirmed that there is no worry in that regard.
"No. It was not concussion-related," said Julien. "It was neck-related."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Within the first few minutes of Thursday night's eventual 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Long Island, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien made swift line changes with his right wingers.
The Bruins' fourth line stayed intact.
Isles bench boss Jack Capuano was trying to match his top line with John Tavares to Krejci's line, hoping to take advantage of the young Pastrnak and his 12 games of NHL experience heading into the matchup. Tavares is tough for vets to contain, let alone 18-year-olds.
"[Thursday] night, they were trying to exploit a young player, an 18-year-old, by putting their top line against him so I have to be willing to make those kind of changes, sometimes quicker than others," Julien said following the team's Friday practice at Ristuccia Arena. "And at the same time, we got good results from all the guys that moved around."
"I thought Reilly, as you know, had a good game and I thought that Loui played well on Bergy's line, and Dave, as the game went on, seemed to find his legs and his groove there with Carl's line, so wasn't a bad change in my mind."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - On Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, following a few hours of pre-practice drills and a standard team skate with a shootout tacked on the end, Malcom Subban took a seat in his stall, took a minute to catch his breath, and took down a protein drink.
Just another day's work for the goaltender.
Only, this was after his first official NHL practice with the big club, following his first NHL recall on Friday morning.
"Just try to take a professional approach and get myself ready for practice and practice hard and try hard every shot," said Subban, of his approach to the callup. "And just be ready in case anything happens. When you're up here, anything can happen, so I'm just trying to stay focused right now and practice hard."
In his second year pro, Subban was taking in the experience of being in the Bruins' dressing room, seating next to Tuukka Rask's equipment, though his stay could due short.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced the recall in conjunction with another roster transaction that sent Boston's backup Niklas Svedberg to the Providence Bruins on a conditioning loan.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins did not have practice on Tuesday, due to inclement weather.
They are set to practice on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena at 12:00 p.m. ET, before traveling to Long Island to face the New York Islanders Thursday night in their first game following the NHL All-Star Break. The B's have been off since January 21, when they dropped a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche in Colorado.
COLUMBUS - Patrice Bergeron has accolades upon accolades that give him all-star status.
He's a Stanley Cup winner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time Selke winner as the NHL's top defensive forward. He'll score, put up assists and backcheck until the end of time, making sure to take care of his own end.
The NHL All-Star Game doesn't always lend to the latter, with shutdown defensive structure not a high priority, as was the case in the 2015 version in Columbus at Nationwide Arena on Sunday night.
Bergeron and Team Toews took the game 17-12, with 92 total shots fired on goal, including four from the Bruins center in his first All-Star Game.
He scored one of his team's 17 goals and recorded four assists, setting up the Islanders' John Tavares for every one of his goals. He was a plus-4, went 57-percent on the faceoff dot and logged 14:35 in ice time, the third lowest total on the team, just above rookies Filip Forsberg and Johnny Gaudreau.
He was one of the candidates for MVP, though Columbus' Ryan Johansen earned the honors with some help from the home crowd.
Bergeron played like Bergeron. He wasn't flashy, though putting up the primary assist on a player's four goals gives a little flash to the night. He put his stick in the passing lanes, and just played his game.
COLUMBUS - The light atmosphere of NHL All-Star Weekend has lended itself to a more relaxed Patrice Bergeron.
After being the ninth selection of "Team Toews" during Friday night's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, Bergeron walked the red carpet prior to Saturday night's Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.
The Bruins center hasn't ever been flashy and never will be, but he's been embracing these star-studded events, like the NHL Awards in Las Vegas last June.
"Yeah its definitely different, I don't think I could get used to those red carpets but it's fun to see the fans and how people are happy to be here and love hockey," Bergeron said, after pausing for a dozen interviews on the red carpet. "So far it's been great and just looking forward to the Skills Competition."
For five days, the talk around the League and the Bruins has turned from scoring, forechecking, turnovers, wins and losses, and 'turning their game around,' to all-stars, red carpets, fantasy drafts, shootout moves and topics that don't pertain the 2014-15 season.
Knowing that, Bergeron has embraced the weekend for what it is - a time to enjoy it and relax, while knowing that once Monday rolls around, the mindset will shift right back to much more important matters.
When we caught up with the alternate captain before the Skills Competition, he was enjoying himself and preparing for his duties for the night on Jonathan Toews' team (Columbus' Nick Foligno is serving as captain of the other squad).
COLUMBUS - Not many experiences are new for Patrice Bergeron, Stanley Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist.
But this weekend in Columbus serves up his first experience as an "NHL All-Star." His first bid for the All-Star Game took more than a decade to be handed out.
Bergeron, naturally, didn't find it that surprising that he hadn't yet been chosen to represent the Black and Gold and the League at the All-Star festivities.
"No, I think I was part of great teams and great teammates, so it wasn't really something where I'm necessarily surprised," Bergeron said to gathered reporters during Media Day on Friday at Nationwide Arena.
"I'm just happy to be here and trying to soak everything in. It's another thing I can say I was part of and I lived the experience and now I know how it's like and definitely something when I look back on my career, I'll be happy I've done it."
In the past year, Bergeron has received the Selke Trophy, the NHL's Foundation Award for community service, and was chosen to be the face of EA Sports NHL15 video game. Being named as an All-Star is yet another accolade for the never-flashy forward.
DENVER - Bruins' Hall of Famer John "Chief" Bucyk had a simple thought for Wednesday night's game in Colorado against the Avalanche that finished off a back-to-back and served as the team's final test before the NHL's All-Star break.
"A win tonight would make the trip home nice," Bucyk said with a slight smile, sitting in Chris Kelly's stall in the visiting team room at the Pepsi Center.
Twelve hours later, the Bruins were headed out of town to begin their break with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avs.
They played a strong defensive game, with their textbook layers all over the ice. They were tasked with killing five penalties, including three in a row, with back-to-back 5-on-3 chances for Colorado. They killed them all, backed by another one of Tuukka Rask's sharp night between the pipes.
Brad Marchand returned after his two-game suspension and fired in his team-leading 13th goal of the season, off a slick setup on David Krejci's 400th NHL point, to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the third period.
DENVER - Brad Marchand should be raring to go on Wednesday night, as he slots back into the Bruins' lineup against the Colorado Avalanche following his NHL-imposed two-game suspension.
"Yeah, really excited to get back," Marchand said from the Pepsi Center on Wednesday morning. "Last game before the break — we obviously want to finish on a good note and very excited to be back with the guys."
Marchand received the suspension on Jan. 16 from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during the teams' matchup at TD Garden on Jan. 15.
The Bruins dropped their next game 3-1 against Columbus in Boston, before earning a bounce-back 3-1 win in Dallas on Tuesday night to kick off their final two games before the five-day break for the NHL All-Star Game.
During his time out of the lineup, Marchand has been pulling extra hard for his teammates to pull out the wins.
"Yeah, definitely. I know anytime a guy is out of the lineup, it messes up the dynamics, and we’re such a good team when everyone’s in the lineup and we can roll four lines," said Marchand.