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.
BOSTON - By now you've already seen the end-to-end goal by Seth Griffith.
The highlight reel tally proved to be the game-winner en route to the Bruins' 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at TD Garden. It helped them pick up their fifth straight win.
After being hemmed in the Bruins' zone, Griffith went on his right knee to block a shot from the left point by New Jersey defenseman Bryce Salvador. Absorbing the puck and then rushing through center ice, Griffith nearly split the defense before being double-teamed by Marek Zidlicky and Salvador.
Still racing towards the net, Griffith got around Salvador and outmuscled Zidlicky just before the blue paint. With his back to the net, Griffith then found the puck on his backhand and flipped it between his legs and under Cory Schneider's left pad.
The goal gave Boston a 3-2 lead with 1:59 left in the second period, and sent the Garden crowd into a frenzy, roaring when the replay was shown.
Chris Kelly made sure to watch the replay as well.
"It's one of those great goals where he blocks a shot and goes down and wins a battle - you didn’t realize how nice it was until you saw it on the replay," Kelly said postgame. "It was a great goal by him. Obviously it’s nice to be the game-winner, too."
A few questions into Kelly's time in the locker room speaking with reporters, Griffith walked into the room for his own media session. Most of the reporters parted ways with the alternate captain so that they could hear what the 21-year-old game-winning-goal scorer had to say.
BOSTON - David Krejci was absent from the ice when the Bruins returned to practice on Sunday morning at TD Garden.
"He's day-to-day, we'll leave it at that," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the skate. "He's still going through the same thing."
Krejci returned to the lineup on Thursday night after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. He has not been part of the Bruins' past two practices. The team was off on Saturday.
His status for Monday night's game against the New Jersey Devils is in question.
Julien was asked if Krejci's situation is something "chronic" that the bench boss will have to manage for a while moving forward.
"No, I think those are just speculations," Julien responded. "So I'm not going to comment more on that, but those are speculations right now."
Kelly's versatility has made the lineup juggling fairly easy for the Bruins so far in Krejci's absence.
"I roll with the punches," Kelly said after Friday's practice. "I think just you have some chemistry with certain guys, and then you're bouncing around and trying to figure out the strengths of other guys and things like that, but everyone, if you're communicating, it makes things easier."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Defenseman Torey Krug was back practicing with the Bruins on Friday at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since having his left pinky finger broken with a slash.
Krug suffered the injury on October 28 against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.
"It's doing well. It's coming along nicely, made some good progress the last couple days," a smiling Krug said following Friday's skate. "And it's great to be back on the ice with my teammates, and competing and everything like that, so it's feeling better, that's for sure."
He had his left pinky finger wrapped in black tape.
"It was pretty bad," Krug smiled, acknowledging the photo of his broken finger that had surfaced around social media the night of the injury. "I mean, it's a freak accident, you know. You get slashed all the time, and it caught me in the perfect spot."
"It's not a good feeling - obviously you could see my reaction on the ice, but it's alright. It's feeling good, feeling better and hopefully I'll be back soon."
Krug has missed five games with the injury. The Bruins have Saturday off, and then will hit the ice Sunday for practice before hosting the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at TD Garden.
The blueliner's not sure what his status will be for the game.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Defenseman David Warsofsky, who was filling in on the Bruins' blueline in the wake of injuries, will now be out for a while with an undisclosed injury.
"I know he's out for a while, I don't know how long," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said on Friday following the team's practice at Ristuccia Arena.
Warsofsky's absence from practice prompted the update.
"I haven't seen him today, to be honest with you," said Julien. "So I don't know [the situation], to be honest with you. I can't tell you more about that. When guys are injured, they're out of my sight. I deal with players who are healthy, and sometimes they could be here, sometimes they could be getting checked by a doctor, I have no idea."
Julien stressed the fact that he's not a doctor, but knows that Warsofsky is dealing with more than just a day-to-day situation. He did not know the amount of time the defenseman is projected to miss.
Warsofsky saw power play time amidst the Bruins' three-goals-in-three-minutes barrage in the third period of Thursday night's 5-2 over Edmonton at TD Garden. That served as his final shift of the night, with 6:46 left.
"I mean, those injuries don't always come at the greatest of times and you've got to - again, same with everybody else - we've just got to live with it, and adjust," said Julien.
BOSTON - In a span of just two minutes and 34 seconds in the third period on Thursday night, the Bruins struck for three goals to flip their fate, and pick up their fourth straight win.
Down 2-1 to Edmonton early in the final frame at TD Garden, Loui Eriksson careened in a bouncing puck for the equalizer, before the Bruins power play went to work for two straight tallies from Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton.
Hamilton added two assists and a goal in the barrage, and Milan Lucic powered in an empty-netter as the Bruins took a 5-2 win from the Oilers.
"With our team, we never quit, so there’s not going to be a lot of third periods where we’re getting out played and quitting," said Hamilton, who put up his third multi-point game of the season in less than three minutes.
"That was our strength last season and the seasons before that, it was always the Bruins' strength to win those games," said Soderberg.
The Bruins had entered the third period with the game knotted at 1-1. When they have their confidence going, especially on home ice, they put those games away.
It was something they had failed to do a week prior against Minnesota, when they dropped a four-goal third period in the loss.
"When we were struggling, we didn’t have that confidence to finish off those games and get a win," said Soderberg. "So hopefully we get more confidence and can keep winning those games in the future."
BOSTON - As the Bruins were set to host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at TD Garden, they were winners of three straight and four of their last five games.
But the wins didn't come easily.
The Black and Gold needed overtime to get the job done against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, in a game where the team and their coach felt they had to fight through average puck movement on their part.
Two games before that, in Buffalo, the team fought with the same issues, but pulled out the win in extra time. Brad Marchand had both overtime winners.
After facing inconsistency to start the season and working to find their identity as a team, they've now been consistently finding ways to win - and that's a fine identity to have, especially when battling through injuries to Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.
"Well, we're finding ways to win hockey games," President Cam Neely said on his weekly call-in with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday afternoon. "We've got to kind of keep our head above water here. And the work ethic's there - it may not be pretty all the time, but we're finding ways to get points."
That quality has been part of the Spoked-B's MO for years. It was something they were missing earlier in the season.
"We’re trying to get back to it," said Reilly Smith. "It’s a tough start, and it seemed like last year, no matter any time we were in that situation, we kind of always came out [on top]."
"We’ve got to keep it going in the right direction, because it’s still so early in the season and things can go South pretty quickly. We have to do a better job playing a full 60 minutes and I don’t think [Florida] was our best effort."
BOSTON - David Krejci took part in the Bruins' optional pregame skate on Thursday morning at TD Garden and is questionable for the night's game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Krejci has been out "day-to-day" with an undisclosed situation and has missed two straight games as a result. The centerman skated before the team's practice on Wednesday as well.
"We’ll see after he gets off there," Head Coach Claude Julien said while Krejci was still on the ice.
Depending on how Krejci feels, he could take warmups.
"If he does [take warmups], there’s a chance he’ll play obviously," Julien said.
If Krejci plays, Chris Kelly would likely slot back in alongside Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. If not, Kelly would assume the role he's been playing as the center between Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.
Defenseman Torey Krug also joined in for the well-attended morning skate. He suffered a broken finger nine days ago on October 28 against the Minnesota Wild. His recovery was estimated at two to three weeks.
BOSTON - For the second time in three games, Brad Marchand was the overtime hero.
His arms stretched up and his smile drew wide, as his Black and Gold teammates left the bench and gathered around him in celebration of of a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Just two games prior, Marchand had lifted Boston to a 3-2 win in Buffalo, scoring the game tying goal and the overtime winner. The winger now has four goals and two assists in his past three games.
After the game, as he was announced as the game's First Star, he skated across the ice and sent an autographed stick up into the stands for a lucky fan. Skating back to the bench, he watched as his game-winner was replayed on the video board above center ice.
The replay showed Marchand flying into the Panthers' zone on a quick regroup, with a touch pass from Dougie Hamilton in the neutral zone.
Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson had started going off for a line change, and Marchand took his open ice over the blueline, blowing past the Florida line of defense, dangling around defenseman Dylan Olsen in the right circle, and roofing one over Robertu Luongo high blocker at 3:27 into the extra frame.
Even he was impressed by the effort, shaking his head and looking up to the fans with a smile.
"He had some great looks, I thought - all night - and we all stayed with it as a line and it was a great play by him on that overtime goal, and great finish," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored the game-tying goal to make it 1-1 in the second period.
BOSTON - Shawn Thornton is back in Boston, this time dressed in red.
With the Florida Panthers in town to take on the Spoked-B on Tuesday night, Thornton was back in the confines of TD Garden, settling into the visiting team room for the first time.
As Bruins have come and gone from the 2011 Cup squad, their impact has always been remembered. A few weeks ago, Johnny Boychuk made his return. Last season, the likes of Andrew Ference and Tim Thomas, among others, all made their first returns to the place they called home for so long.
Each former Bruin meets with Boston reporters, and flashes a smile about the excitement of being back in Boston, because he genuinely means it.
"I'm excited. It will probably settle in a little more tonight when I get here," Thornton said on Tuesday morning, as the Panthers went through their pregame routines at TD Garden. "It was a little weird walking in the other door, but it's good, it's good to be back."
Wearing his red Panthers' workout shirt and hat, Thornton agreed with Boychuk's obvious-but-still-worth-noting assessment of being back - it was "different."
"Yeah, there's no other way to explain it I guess, it is, it's just different," said Thornton, who spent seven seasons in Black and Gold. "It's part of the sport, you move on, you go to different places, but coming back here, after seven years and the success we had, it is, it's different being on this side."