Patrice Bergeron had a little extra skip in his step following Saturday morning’s quick skate at TD Garden with the knowledge he’ll be in the lineup for the Bruins on Saturday night in their preseason tilt against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The B’s two-way center will be manning the middle between Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson as is the plan to start the regular season, and Bergeron hopes to build chemistry through the game action.
The Bruins had held Bergeron back for the first three games while he continued to recuperate from shoulder, lung and rib injuries sustained during last year’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. But he’s looked good in practice as the tenderness in his rib area begins to dissipate, so now was the proper time to get him back in the lineup.
The return of Bergeron and Gregory Campbell means the Bruins are close to full health at training camp, and Bobby Robins knee injury is the only issue worth mentioning. But Robins was expected to start this season at the AHL level anyway, so the Bruins are looking and feeling good.
“Right from the first day [of camp] he was involved in all of the training camp drills including contact and everything else. So it wasn’t an issue of whether he could take it. It was about him getting through the little bit left [mentally] where he felt 95 percent, and he needed to feel that last five percent in camp,” said Claude Julien.“ [It’s the] same with Campbell. We looked at the beginning of camp as guys that might just play the last few games of the preseason, but they are ahead of schedule. Our medical staff didn’t feel any need to hold them back.”
Bergeron is just hoping his new look line can be nearly as effective as the new Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla forward group that has looked like an unstoppable offensive force in the preseason.
“[We’re] finding chemistry, but looking to get into a rhythm a bit and trying to get back at it,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It's the first game and I’m just trying to feel good and enjoy it at the same time.”
It should be good for everyone to finally get their first look at a Bergeron/Eriksson/Marchand line that is going to be a significant one this season for the Black and Gold.
The line combos and D-pairings are below based on the morning skate in Boston, and veteran goalie Chad Johnson is expected to play the full 60 minutes for the Bruins against Detroit: