BOSTON - The Bruins were prepared for a grind heading into Tuesday night's matchup against the St. Louis Blues, who came in winners of four straight and 10 of their past 11 games.
Both teams forecheck hard. Both teams play heavy along the boards. Both teams roll four lines. Both teams are backed by solid goaltending.
"They play hard. They don't give you much," Reilly Smith said pregame, teeing up the battle. "Probably won't be one of the prettiest matchups this year, but it's definitely going to be an important one, and we need those two points."
Through 60 minutes, the Black and Gold fought their way to a 2-0 win over one of the top teams in the Western Conference at TD Garden.
The Blues pulled goaltender Brian Elliott with more than three minutes left in regulation, but Rask and the Bruins stood firm.
BOSTON - Defenseman Adam McQuaid left Tuesday night's game against the St. Louis Blues in the second period, and did not return.
Bruins Head Coach Claude did not yet have an update on McQuaid following the game, and did not know the severity of the situation.
"I haven’t even – they just told me he wasn’t returning, and I don’t even bother asking at that point," Julien told reporters postgame from TD Garden, after the Bruins put up a 2-0 shutout of the Blues.
"I still have to see what it is, and even if I do go see, I don’t think I’ll get the total answer. [The trainers] have to have a look at him first and assess the whole thing."
McQuaid's final shift ended with 15:01 still left in the middle frame.
The Bruins had to finish out the game with five defensemen, and banded together for a solid defensive effort, backed by 33 saves from Tuukka Rask for his first shutout of the season.
BOSTON - Brad Marchand won't be in the lineup when the Bruins host the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Marchand took part in pregame skate on Tuesday morning, but left the ice early.
"[He's] not well, he went off the ice. He won't be going tonight," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the skate.
The winger didn't practice with the team on Monday at Ristuccia Arena. His last shift in Saturday's game against Carolina at TD Garden ended with 13:45 left in the third period.
The Bruins are being cautious with the undisclosed injury. Julien confirmed on Tuesday that it is not a head injury.
David Krejci is a possibility for Tuesday night's game. He took part in the pregame skate, skating in his usual spot with Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith. He's missed the past four games with a day-to-day, undisclosed injury.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - David Krejci practiced with the team on Monday at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since being out of the lineup with an undisclosed, day-to-day injury.
The center has missed the past four games, last suiting up on November 6 against the Edmonton Oilers.
He began skating on Friday with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides before practice.
"I haven't gotten anything from our medial staff yet that says he's cleared to go," Head Coach Claude Julien said following Monday's practice, when asked by a reporter if Krejci would be ready for Tuesday night's game against St. Louis. "So I can't answer that right now."
"He's been coming along and I think he's felt pretty good, from what I'm told," Julien said. "But they want to make sure that they make the right decision, so they haven't cleared him yet for me."
Krejci had missed two games prior to the game against Edmonton, dealing with the same day-to-day situation.
BostonBruins.com - Matt Bartkowski had been awaiting his chance to get back into the Bruins' lineup.
When he did get in, he knew he would be a more confident player.
"Yeah, I'll be myself," he anticipated. "Mentally, I'm where I need to be, whereas before, I was just lacking confidence."
After seven games as a healthy scratch, and the Black and Gold coming off back-to-back 6-1 and 5-1 road losses, he was awarded that chance on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins came away with a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden.
"I think I did alright, for how much time I sat out," Bartkowski said after the win, and after 17 days between games. "I was moving, didn’t really give them too much, a few chances but other than that, it went pretty well."
BostonBruins.com - Tuukka Rask likes to get right back it after a tough loss.
Wednesday night in Toronto qualified as that, with the netminder being replaced by Niklas Svedberg at just 3:32 into the second period after the Bruins fell down 4-0 in an eventual 6-1 loss.
There wasn't much help in front of him, with the Bruins all agreeing that the only thing they did together as a team on Wednesday was play poorly.
He had entered the game with a 10-2-0 record against Toronto, along with a 1.59 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.
"It wasn’t my best night, it wasn’t the team’s best night, and we just have to live with that and move on," Rask told reporters in Toronto.
On Thursday night, he sat and watched from the backup seat at the Bell Centre as the Bruins were scorched again, this time 5-1, at the hands of the Canadiens.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins were back on the ice for practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday morning, following a rough road trip through Toronto and Montreal.
Prior to practice, David Krejci skated with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides. Krejci did not travel with the team and has been still dealing with his day-to-day undisclosed injury.
Friday marked the centerman's first day back skating since last playing against the Edmonton Oilers on November 6. Towards the end of the skate, he practiced wraparounds and one-timers, before wrapping up after a half hour.
MONTREAL - The Bruins went into Thursday night at the Bell Centre looking to rebound from a tough 6-1 loss the night before in Toronto.
"I don't think there is a right place to get back on the bike, except to get back on it," Head Coach Claude Julien said an hour before puck drop. "It was a real off night for us [in Toronto] in all areas."
The team scrapped that game, and tried not to consumed by the frustration.
"The biggest thing is to show the character that you have as a group and bounce back with a much better game," Julien said.
The Bruins did that for 20 minutes in Montreal, before collapsing in the second period and then not pushing back in the third, as they fell 5-1 for their second straight loss.
"We played the way we wanted to play [in the first] and we got the results we wanted to after one period," Julien said following the loss. "But to make a long story short, we weren't able to sustain it."
TORONTO - The Bruins don't give up six goals often. They don't usually allow three power play goals in a single game. They don't give up time and space freely.
Against the Maple Leafs, Phil Kessel and company are usually kept on tight watch. The middle of the ice gets closed off. When odd-man rushes happen, Tuukka Rask - with his 1.64 goals-against average against Toronto in tow - makes the stops.
But the Bruins defied their own odds on Wednesday night, dropping a 6-1 decision to the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
"We were just terrible all around," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said from outside the visiting team room after the game, noting that he didn't have enough time to talk about the lesson learned in the loss.
Because of that fact, his time speaking with media finished about 60 seconds after that statement.
"As a coach, there's not much you can say on a night like tonight," Julien said. "We just stunk the joint out."
Down 1-0 after the first, the Bruins allowed Phil Kessel to pot his second of the night just 18 seconds into the middle frame. A big rebound was fired past Tuukka Rask 1:16 later. Kessel was then tripped up in the Bruins' offensive zone, and a power play produced a 4-0 lead for the Leafs 1:58 after that, prompting Niklas Svedberg to replace Rask between the pipes.
James van Riemsdyk added the 5-0 dagger on the man advantage before the second period was halfway gone.
TORONTO - The Bruins kick off a two-game road trip against divisional opponents starting on Wednesday night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs, before heading to Montreal to play the Canadiens on Thursday.
The Black and Gold head into the matchup on a five-game win streak, while the Leafs have won two straight, putting up five goals in both wins over New York and Ottawa.
In October, the Bruins took the first meeting of the season between the two teams, posting a 4-1 win in their first game after Zdeno Chara was sidelined with his knee injury.
With players forced to step up to fill the void, the end result was a greater focus on playing a team game and respecting the system.
"Like we always say, it doesn't really matter who's in the lineup," Dennis Seidenberg said following the Bruins' optional pregame skate on Wednesday morning. "Zee is a big part, huge part of our team, but if everybody sticks to the system, communicates, we're doing fine and I think we just have to keep continuing to get better and just work hard."
"We play well defensively, and go from there."
"You know, we've got some good players on this team and you lose a few players here or there, you rely a lot on your team concept and your structure and you play as best you can," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.