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Skating in the Sunshine State

Bruins return to practice in Florida

Friday, 02.20.2009 / 8:04 AM ET / Features
By Angela Stefano  - BostonBruins.com
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Skating in the Sunshine State
On Wednesday, many of the Bruins went golfing. Here Stephane Yelle shows off his driving skills.
After a day off to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine, the Bruins returned to practice Thursday morning at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.  It was a long, intense workout, but with three days between games, the players welcomed the challenge.

“As much as it’s not fun to do it, right now, you feel a lot better,” forward Byron Bitz said. “You got that sweat in, and you got your legs back into the everyday grind. It’s the best thing for you.”

And, once again, the locker room was full of smiles – albeit, exhausted ones – after the skate.

“You’ve got to have fun out there,” Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson said of the team’s disposition. “That’s the whole point: Hockey is fun.”

Of course, a 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, after losing four games in a row, probably helped.

“The puck wasn’t going into the net as much as we’d like, and when you’re playing hard, you’re doing everything the coaches want you to do, and the puck’s not going in the net, you get frustrated,” Blake Wheeler said after practice. “But I think a lot of guys had some nice goals last game, so I think we’ve built up our confidence, got a little swagger back.”

And Wheeler speaks from experience. In a bit of a goal-scoring dry spell, the Boston forward netted the B’s first goal of the game. Patrice Bergeron also scored his first goal since returning from injury on Jan. 27.

“Sometimes the puck goes in the net; sometimes it doesn’t,” Wheeler said. “You’ve got to keep shooting, keep trying…You can’t really dictate if the goalie’s going to make a great save on you.

“Sometimes you’re going to score goals that maybe shouldn’t in, and sometimes he’s going to rob you; it’s just the way the game works.”

Head coach Claude Julien was pleased with the chance to get in a hard skate like this morning’s before “fine tuning” the team for two games over the weekend.

“When we looked at [the schedule] this year, we said hopefully this [lighter schedule in February and March] can benefit us down the road,” he said. “You want your team to be rested, and those breaks can sometimes help your team in the long run, especially heading into the playoffs.”

Boston will practice again on Friday before squaring off with the Florida Panthers on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.

John Bishop contributed to this report.

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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