BOSTON, MA - The Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at TD Garden in the third and find matchup between the two Eastern Conference rivals this season.
The series is tied, with the Pens picking up a 3-2 win at home in October. The Bruins earned a 4-3 overtime win on November 25 at TD Garden, thanks to Torey Krug's game-winner after Sidney Crosby had scored with just 0.3 left in regulation to tie it up.
The Bruins are looking for a bounceback performance tonight, following their 2-1 loss to Montreal on Thursday. The Pens, meanwhile, are looking to continue a five-game winning streak that started after the loss to Boston.
"They’re going to be playing on a lot of confidence," said Captain Zdeno Chara. "They won five games in a row so, we've just got to be ready for them. We’ve got to bring our best game, and finish on a good note before we head on our long road trip."
After tonight, the Bruins hit the road for a four-game trip starting in Toronto Sunday night. The matchup with the Pens presents an opportunity to play a more consistent game than what they showed in Montreal.
BostonBruins.com - Not playing the full 60 turned against the Bruins on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Gregory Campbell gave Boston a 1-0 lead over the Canadiens at the end of the first period, in which the Bruins outshot Montreal 10-3. In the third, trailing 2-1 and searching for the equalizer, the Bruins again tipped the scale with 16 to the Habs' 6.
It was the middle 20 minutes, in which the Canadiens put up two goals and outshot the Bruins 18-7, that led to the defeat.
"We didn’t play good enough in the second and that was the difference in the game," said Captain Zdeno Chara.
It's as simple as that.
And it's why the Bruins spent a good portion of their Friday morning at the practice facility, going over video, and hitting the ice for a determined practice.
"I thought our first period was still good; we had no issues there. Our second period, as I said in French, was atrocious and embarrassing," Head Coach Claude Julien had said in Montreal following the loss.
WILMINGTON, MA - When Head Coach Claude Julien addressed media following the Bruins' Friday practice at Ristuccia Arena, he gave an update on defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
"Johnny’s getting an MRI today for his lower back and we’ll probably have some details for you guys tomorrow [Saturday] on that," he said.
The extent of the injury is not yet known, beyond that.
"We don’t know yet. You have to be very cautious making any comments because you never know when it comes to backs."
Julien will next speak with media following Boston's 10:30 a.m. pregame skate on Saturday, before hosting Pittsburgh.
While the severity is unknown, it was still a great sign that Johnny Boychuk was able to fly back with the team Thursday night from Montreal.
The Bruins defenseman had been taken to Montreal General Hospital after colliding with the boards in the first period against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
MONTREAL, QC - For the fourth time this season, the Bruins had to play with a defenseman down.
Johnny Boychuk left the game 4:28 into the first period on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, with the Bruins taking on the Canadiens.
Boston was defeated, 2-1, by the Habs, but that wasn't the biggest loss of the night.
After a collision into the boards behind the Montreal goal following a hit by Max Pacioretty, Boychuk was slow to get his bearings.
It wasn't so much the hit, on which Pacioretty was assessed a minor penalty for boarding, as it was the way Boychuk went awkwardly into the boards.
Hunched over on both knees, the defenseman was first tended to by Bruins Head Athletic Trainer Don DelNegro. Bruins trainer Derek Repucci, along with Montreal's trainers and EMT, soon went over.
MONTREAL, QC - Ah, Bruins-Habs. The matchup that any fan of the game can appreciate.
"The rivalry – if you don’t get up for these games, what will [you get up for]?" said Patrice Bergeron, a 10-year vet of the storied matchup. "It’s always fun to be part of it; there’s so much history behind it. I’m just happy to play and to be part of these games."
There's something so riveting about the passion of the fan bases, of the teams, of their histories. You feel it within the confines of the Garden, and you certainly feel it the moment you step foot in the Bell Centre, and look up at the 20,000-plus stacked red seats, with names like "M. Richard" in the rafters.
The Boston Bruins have been around for 90 years. The Montreal Canadiens turned 104 this year.
Thursday night marks the 722nd regular season meeting between the two rivals, and the first of four games in 2013-14. Only Detroit and Chicago have met more (725 times).
Their last eight games against each other have been decided by just one goal.
MONTREAL, QC - The Bruins should have defenseman Torey Krug in the lineup tonight, when they face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET).
"I think he looked pretty good there this morning," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's pregame skate.
"So it will be a game-time [decision] but I’d be extremely surprised if he didn’t play."
Krug skated at Wednesday's practice back in Boston as well, and appears good to go. He's been working through a minor issue that kept him off the ice earlier in the week.
The blueliner played a preseason game here in September, but tonight would mark his first regular season game against the Habs at the Bell Centre.
WILMINGTON, MA - Torey Krug was back skating with the Bruins at their practice facility on Wednesday morning before the team traveled to Montreal.
The defenseman had been labeled as "day-to-day" on Tuesday, when Krug and Adam McQuaid were the only two Bruins absent from practice. Most of the team had stayed off the ice Monday, after a day off on Sunday.
The hope was that Krug would be back on the ice Wednesday, and that proved true. The defenseman was out early to work through some skating footwork, before joining the team for the full skate.
"He's doing well, you saw him on the ice today so he's fine," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "Those couple of days really helped him out a lot."
"Yeah, it was good to get back at it today, get out there, skate around, move around a bit," smiled Krug following the skate, clad in his suit before jetting off to board the team plane.
The extent of an injury, if even that, was never divulged, but the defenseman by all accounts appears fine. And will follow Coach's lead in the information department.
"They’re day-to-day," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the skate. "[Adam] kind of re-aggravated his injury when he came back. Was 100% and he re-aggravated it a little bit so managing that."
"With Torey, when I say day-to-day, it’s more about managing the situation because of the amount of days off we have, so we hope to see him back on the ice tomorrow [on Wednesday] or for Thursday’s game."
McQuaid made his return from a lower-body injury on November 27 in Detroit, and played in the Bruins' most recent two wins over the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. The injury had kept him out for eight straight games. He's never experienced an injury like it, and has said it's been a different experience to manage on a day-to-day basis.
With Krug, the extent of his situation was not divulged, but from the sound of it, the defensman took more of a 'maintenance' type day on Tuesday.
With McQuaid and Krug both "day-to-day," the Bruins had recalled blueliner Kevan Miller from the Providence Bruins on Monday evening.
BostonBruins.com - As the calendar turned to December, the Bruins sat in first place atop the Eastern Conference.
They finished November at 10-3-2, with an 8-0-2 record at home.
It hasn't been perfect Black & Gold style hockey. But it's been enough.
The month began on a sour note, with a 3-1 loss on Long Island that forced a bounce-back stretch of games, including a 3-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning amidst a four-game winning streak.
The B's would only suffer three more losses in November, none worse than the 6-1 rout by the Red Wings in Detroit just prior to Thanksgiving, that came during a span of three games in four days.
Those in the Spoked-B referred to the loss as a wakeup call, and their ensuing two straight wins, 3-2 over the New York Rangers and a 3-1 over the Columbus Blue Jackets, featured their best hockey of the season.
It was emotional, physical and passionate play. It was a full team effort.