As Matt Beleskey skated to the penalty box, he flipped his hair back into place and took a glance up at the raucous TD Garden crowd. With the cheers continuing to build, he gestured to the Black & Gold faithful to turn up the volume just a little bit more.
The Bruins had just grabbed a 2-1 lead over the Minnesota Wild, and just eight seconds after Frank Vatrano’s tally, Beleskey dropped the gloves with Luke Kunin in front of the Minnesota bench.
It was a quick bout, but one that provided an extra jolt of energy to the Boston bench – and the fans in attendance. For Beleskey, it was mission accomplished.
“You’ve got to have some fun,” said Beleskey, who played just over 11 minutes in the 5-3 win against Minnesota. “It’s fun here in the Garden. They get loud, so you know, you get into the game, and if I can get people out of their seats that’s good.”
Miller Dons the ‘A’
With Backes, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand out of the lineup, the Bruins were in need of a second alternate captain against the Wild. The choice was not a difficult one for Cassidy as he tabbed blue liner Kevan Miller with the ‘A’ on his sweater.
“Kevan’s always been that guy, sticking up for his teammates, practices hard every day, fitness is through the roof. All of the things that you want young kids coming in to notice out of a player,” said Cassidy. “He’s not flashy in terms of leading with numbers. He’s a good soldier for us every night…Kevan is well deserving of a letter.”
Miller was grateful for the recognition, while also taking a predictably team-first approach when addressing the honor.
“It was a huge, huge honor for me,” said Miller. “But I think there’s a lot of guys in here without letters that are just as big of leaders. We can pride ourselves on that as a team that, whether you wear the letter or not, you have a responsibility to lead as a veteran guy.”
Marchand Won’t Travel
Cassidy said following Monday night’s game that Brad Marchand, who missed the win over the Wild with an upper-body injury, would not travel with the team on Tuesday.
David Krejci skated for a portion of Boston’s optional practice on Tuesday morning, doing some light skating, shooting, and stickhandling. It was his first time on the ice since suffering an upper-body injury against Vancouver on Oct. 19.
The pivot will not play in any of the remaining three games scheduled for this week.
“He’s back skating. He’s out this week,” said Cassidy. “This is part of the progression of him getting back in the lineup, getting out there and getting his reps.”
Ryan Spooner (torn adductor) also took part in the session, mostly working with skating and skills coach Kim Brandvold.
Khudobin, Acciari Nearing Returns
Anton Khudobin (lower body) and Noel Acciari (broken finger) skated on Tuesday and were expected to travel with the team. Khudobin will back-up Tuukka Rask against the Rangers on Wednesday night barring any physical issues following practice.
Acciari, who has been out since Opening Night, will not play against the Rangers, but Cassidy said “there’s a chance” he could return against Toronto on Friday.
“He’ll be out [Wednesday], but he is a possibility [for later in the week] or he wouldn’t be traveling,” said Cassidy. “Let’s check in again on Thursday, but there’s a chance.”