Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron practiced with his teammates Friday but in a non-contact jersey. Head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed after practice that for the seventh straight game, the Bruins top pivot will not be in the lineup when the B’s host the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston. Cassidy however, did express optimism that Bergeron could be cleared to play at Ottawa against the Senators on Monday night.
“Red sweater, that’s good,” Cassidy said. “He participated in some line rushes. It wasn’t a heavy contact practice. Won’t play [Saturday], but once you have the red sweater on, you’re that much closer. Monday [in Ottawa] now becomes more of a target day for us if there’s no setbacks.”
Forward Brett Ritchie, who has been in and out of the lineup with an infection, skated full contact and on a line with Anders Bjork and Par Lindholm and according to Cassidy could be back in the lineup against the Avalanche.
“Ritchie was skating today, skating better, so another practice under his belt,” said Cassidy, who added that the team wants to make sure the winger’s conditioning is up to speed. “We’ll have to look at that in the morning. If he goes in, obviously we have to take a right winger out or move someone around. But he’s very close as well.”
Backes May Sit Against Avalanche
Given that forward David Backes was skating with the injured Bergeron as an extra skater, that player that sits may be him Saturday. Backes scored the gamewinner against the Montreal Canadiens last Sunday and helped create Joakim Nordstrom’s goal Thursday night. Cassidy seemed satisfied but expressed cautious optimism about Backes’ game.
“I don’t know if anything’s stood out, just that he’s doing what’s asked of him,” said Cassidy. “Complemented that line, he’s been with both Bjork and [Sean] Kuraly, and Lindholm and Nordy. I think both those sets of center and left winger have some speed on the left side, some responsibility in the middle so he fits in easy with both lines.
“Obviously scored a big goal for us on the power play in the bumper, so those parts of his game, it’s nice to get a bit of production. Made a play to the net, something we’ve tried to emphasize a little more of, especially those bottom two lines that are probably going to score more that way; they’re a little harder to contain going to the net. That part’s all been good, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Potential Lineup vs Avalanche
Here’s what the lineup could look like Saturday if Ritchie plays”
Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Danton Heinen
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Anders Bjork – Par Lindholm – David Backes
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk
Tuukka Rask/Jaro Halak