Bruins Start “Important” Stretch, Preview: Vs. Kings
The Boston Bruins (21-7-6, 48 points) return home after a 1-3-0 road trip to take on the Los Angeles Kings (14-18-3, 31 points). It is the first of two meetings this season between the two teams who won’t meet again until March 19 in Los Angeles.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub, as well as Sportsnet throughout Canada.
Bergeron Up And Running
Patrice Bergeron missed two weeks with a lower-body injury but returned to play all four games on the road trip. Bergeron collected three points (2 g, 1 a) in those four games. The veteran center is feeling good and back into the groove.
“I’m happy with how I’ve felt, with a back-to-back in there as well,” said Bergeron. “That’s always a big test and I felt good. That gave me confidence moving forward.”
Bergeron wasn’t exactly eased into the lineup either. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy played him over 18:30 in each of the four contests. Bergeron maxed out at 22:59. That was part of the plan for Cassidy, there was no limit on Bergeron.
“I can’t predict the future, but we are not (limiting minutes). He’s playing his average 19 minutes which is fairly typical of him, he looks good and has had no ill effects. Hasn’t had to take a day off other than scheduled days off with the whole team.”
Bergeron told BHN’s Jimmy Murphy on Monday that surgery was never an option during his tough month of November.
“Nope. It’s nothing that’s been discussed and that’s why we took the time to make sure that it wasn’t going to become an issue,” he told Murphy. “That’s why we took longer in that two-week period to make sure I was going to try and come back and feel good and not having to miss too many practices. That being said, it’s going to be something we’ll manage as the year goes on. It’s been the issue for a few years and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
Bruins Injury Updates
Monday was all smiles for Bergeron, but the same cannot be said for teammate Kevan Miller. The veteran defenseman has not yet played this season and doesn’t appear close to returning to game action. Cassidy confirmed on Monday that Miller has suffered a setback in his recovery efforts.
“It’s a good question. I don’t have an update. He had a procedure done that would require a little bit of time (to recover),” Cassidy told reporters. “By now I thought he’d be back in the mix, but he’s not. We were away for a bit (on the road) so it was kind of out of sight, out of mind a little bit. We’ll do our best to get an update on his progress because he should have been back by now.”
Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh, on the other hand, skated before practice. Both worked with skills coach Kim Brandvold prior to practice, while Blidh briefly took part in the team session.
Kuhlman has been out since October 19th against the Maple Leafs. It was in Toronto where he suffered a hairline tibia fracture.
“Obviously I can’t predict when they’ll be ready, they’re still on IR. Clearly not available now. But progressing well,” Cassidy said after practice.
Zach Senyshyn did not skate on Monday due to illness. He was expected to skate at some point on Tuesday morning.
Kings In Transition
It feels like a long time ago that the Los Angeles Kings won two Stanley Cups in three years. There are only memories of those days now in Los Angeles as Rob Blake and Todd McLellan lead a rebuilding effort in Southern California. The Kings placed winger Ilya Kovalchuk on waivers yesterday with the intention of terminating his contract.
Meanwhile, the Kings are working in young forwards Matt Luff, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Austin Wagner, Blake Lizotte and Michael Amadio. Defensemen Kale Clague, Sean Walker and Matt Roy have also been working into the NHL lineup. The Kings moved Jake Muzzin at the trade deadline a season ago and currently are without Alec Martinez.
Tyler Toffoli, who has nine goals this season, is likely to be moved between now and the trade deadline. That is of note for Bruins fans. BHN’s Jimmy Murphy has continuously reported the club’s interest in adding Toffoli, dating back to last season.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Chris Wagner – David Backes
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk
The Bruins will not meet with the media until later this afternoon due to the snowstorm currently in Boston. That said, the lineup is expected to remain the same as Saturday night in Florida. Cassidy admitted as much on Monday. Rask is the expected starter, but nothing is official until Cassidy meets the media this afternoon. Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie are expected to be scratched up front.
Los Angeles Kings Lines
Alex Iafallo – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Trevor Lewis – Jeff Carter – Kyle Clifford
Matt Luff – Mike Amadio – Nikolai Prokhorkin
Adrian Kempe – Blake Lizotte – Austin Wagner
Joakim Ryan – Drew Doughty
Ben Hutton – Matt Roy
Kurtis MacDermid – Sean Walker
The Kings will be without defensemen Derek Forbort and Alec Martinez tonight. Both are battling injury. Jack Campbell will backup Quick. Kale Clague is expected to be scratched on defense.