Thomas among the absent at B's optional skate


Thomas among the absent at B's optional skate

By Joe Haggerty Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs

An optional skate for the Bruins on Saturday morning which meant that players like Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara werent full participants at the game day practice prior to tonights game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Shawn Thornton also enacted his veteran option to skip the morning skate. Thomas' absence is interesting when determining the goaltender for tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rask would seem ready to receive the starting call if it truly is a situation with two No. 1 goaltenders sharing time until one of them develops the hot hand, but it would also be logical to save Rask until the Monday afternoon game against the Colorado Avalanche.Perhaps sensing that the emotion of the last few days had taken a bit of a toll on the players, Julien gave some slack on the reigns prior to Saturday nights match against last years Eastern Conference rivals. The Bs coach seemed to intimate that an opponent like evil genius Guy Boucher and the Lightning should be able to get the Bruins playing their style of hockey after an aberrational opening night.

Its probably a good thing for us. We might as well face the kind of opponents that we think were going to be facing for most of the year, said Julien. Its a good way to get us focused on the game tonight.

Its about understanding how good we have to be and how hard we have to work. I dont mind that at all. Right now our team has to focus on the way were playing the game and not so much on the outcome. Theres a lot of focus on the outcome and winning game, or whether were going to struggle to win games. Our focus has to be more on how we want to play, and let that dictate whether we win or lose games.

One player that appears ready to go for tonights match against the Bolts is Adam McQuaid, who has sufficiently recovered from a virus that landed him in sick bed for a couple of days.
McQuaid took part in the optional skate, felt fine afterward and should be the most obvious change for the Bruins from their season opener to Saturday night. Tuukka Rask took part in the optional skate and it would appear that Thomas is going to get the starting nod against Saturday night with Rask perhaps ready to go on Monday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche.

I feel pretty good and I feel a lot better than I did a couple of days ago, said McQuaid. They said it was a virus. Really bad headache and so exhausted I literally couldnt even get out of bed. No fun at all.

No Dwayne Roloson for Tampa Bay during a very limited morning skate for the Lightning, so it looks like Mathieu Garon will be getting the start between the pipes against the Bruins. Roloson backstopped the Bolts to their first win of the season last night over Carolina, so it should be interesting to watch Tampa Bay playing the second night of back-to-back games.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

Bergeron 'feeling good' in return, plays role of third period hero

BOSTON – It certainly feels appropriate that Patrice Bergeron would author a clutch game-winning goal late in the third period of his first game back after missing a week of games with a lower body injury. That Bergeron’s game-winner also arrived in the home opener at TD Garden was an added bonus once No. 37 hammered a shot from the high slot with 1:15 to go in the third period to give the Bruins their first lead of the game in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The goal arrived courtesy of a nifty setup from linemate Brad Marchand working behind the New Jersey net, and also thanks to David Pastrnak winning a battle in the corner thanks to newfound grit in his game. But the hero of the day again turned out to be No. 37, who went from missing an entire week of action to reclaiming his center role on the top line, playing 16:49 of ice time and winning 13-of-24 face-offs while generating five shot attempts.

“I think it’s pretty obvious with what he did [against the Devils]. After being off for over a week and to come back and have one practice with us then back into the game, he scores a clutch goal for us. That’s what he has always been, a clutch player for us,” said Claude Julien. “I think the third period we gave it a really good push there and I like seeing that from our team that you come out and you don’t play on your heels and you push hard and we went down by a goal but we got our game going like I said and we got a couple goals to win this for us.”

Bergeron modestly said postgame that he was just trying to get into the flow of the game after missing a healthy chunk of time with injury. But he certainly looked like he was vintage form once it crunch time. The timing was perfect as he stepped into the one-timer shot off Marchand’s pass, and beat Cory Schneider amid a strong 34-save performance by the kid from Marblehead.

“I mean I was just trying to, I guess, get my feet wet right away and use the first few shifts to kind of just get, feel good about my positioning and my skating,” said Bergeron. “As the game went on I just felt better. Of course you want to start on a good note, especially at home, and we talked about our home record in the last few years. We wanted to do the job early, especially in the first game, and it’s one step but we’re happy with it.”

It was like Bergeron didn’t miss a single beat after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, and those kinds of instincts and natural ability are things worth marveling about when it comes to the Bruins.

“I was feeling good [on the ice],” said Bergeron. “It would have been nice to ride the wave of the World Cup, but that being said I thought in the first I was trying to be good position ally and kind of get myself going with the first few shifts, and just kind of go from there. Overall I thought that happened.”

While the comeback win was certainly good news for the Bruins, the best news of all is that Bergeron has returned to the lineup with no signs of an injury that surprised everybody right before the start of the regular season.