Bruins prepare for back-to-back road games

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Bruins prepare for back-to-back road games

WILMINGTON, Mass. The Bruins prepared for their first back-to-back road games of the season this upcoming week at Ristuccia Arena.

Gregory Campbell was the only Bs player missing from the ice on Sunday, and both Steve Kampfer and Jordan Caron were promoted back to the NHL after tune-up games with the Providence Bruins.

The Bruins travel to Pittsburgh to play the class of the Eastern Conference on Monday night. That game will be a noteworthy event in and of itself, but then the Bs will feel the pain of their first road tilt against Southeast Division foe Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night.

The Jets are toward the bottom of the pack in the Eastern Conference, but theyre also 7-4 in their own building playing for fans drunk on the return of NHL hockey.

Pittsburgh is a team thats doing extremely well and we know what that challenge represents, said Claude Julien. But its also a good thing where its going to give us one of the best possible challenges we could have right now, and its not going to get any easier the next night when we have to fly to Winnipeg. Theyve been playing pretty well at home, so weve got two good tests there.

The road games kick off a busy week with four games in six days, including a home game against the Florida Panthers and another road tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets to finish things off.

Tuukka Rask's start Saturday night against the Leafs will likely begin run of appearances for the backup goaltender with the density of games beginning to thicken for the Black and Gold. Expect Thomas against Pittsburgh and Florida, and a pair of likely outings for Rask against the Jets and Blue Jackets.

It was about giving Rask an opportunity to be as well-tuned as possible before this stretch, said Julien. Thats why we tried to give him some games even though the schedule was favoring us a little bit.

For Tim to have played as many games as he did last year, rest certainly isnt going to hurt him. One thing I really like about Tim is that he can get some rest and it doesnt seem to affect his game. He can come back and I havent seen him look rusty at any time. I think last year he took a whole week off and Thomas still came back strong.

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask