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The Bruins are looking forward to their league-mandated, five-day bye week. But they know they have some business to take care of tonight in Pittsburgh before they get to settle in for some much-needed R&R.

“We have five days off after this, leaving on a high note – you don’t want to be thinking about a game that you let slip away for the next five days,” Riley Nash said following an optional morning skate at PPG Paints Arena. “Just sticking with it, doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve been playing well, all the lines have been playing hard.”

The Black & Gold will be attempting to extend their points streak (8-0-2) to 11 games when they take the ice against the Penguins on Sunday night. But the players don’t seem worried about the bye week throwing a wrench into their torrid stretch.

“I think everyone needs the rest. You can look at it anyway you want,” said Nash, who tallied his fifth goal of the season in the B’s 7-1 win over Carolina on Saturday night. “If a team is struggling, it comes at a good time, if you’re doing well it comes at a bad time. It’s just the way you look at it. All in all, I think we can keep it up.

“Over the Christmas break we obviously came back and still played good hockey. I think we’ve shown that after a couple days off we can do it.”

The bye week will be the second of three extended breaks for the Bruins within a month’s span. Boston also had three days off for the holiday break and will have three more at the All-Star break later this month (Jan. 26-28).

“It’s always good to get rest in the middle of the year,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “It’s going to be the second of three in a short period of time. I think for me, it they’re spaced out a little better it’s probably more effective for the players. But it is what it is.

“We’re going to get on feeling good about our game. That’s the good news. And hopefully come back re-energized because we’ve got a lot of hockey. We’re a little behind with our schedule.

“Again, hopefully the guys do take it for what it’s worth and come back ready to go.”

Opposing View

Boston took the first matchup with the Penguins the day after Thanksgiving with a 4-3 victory at TD Garden. David Pastrnak potted the winner five minutes into the third on a breakaway.

Pittsburgh has been up and down since that meeting, posting a 10-9-0 record. The Pens are 5-5-0 over their last 10 and sit 1 point behind Carolina for the East’s second wild card spot.

Cassidy noted the two-time defending champions’ potent special teams as the focus for the B’s this evening. Pittsburgh is first in the league on the power play (25.8%) and 11th on the penalty kill (82.1%).

“Very good special teams. You think of their power play all the time, but their penalty kill is pretty good too,” said Cassidy. “If you can keep it to a 5-on-5 game it plays into our benefit because I think we’re very strong there, our special teams are good as well.

“We’re not going to shy away from that. I think that would be more to their strengths, so hopefully we have the discipline to stay out of the box, check with our feet, good sticks and see where it leads us.”

Question Mark Up Front

Bruce Cassidy said there is one question mark among the forward group, which will be a game-time decision. Cassidy did not specify which player he was referring to, but Ryan Spooner missed the second half of Saturday night’s third period.

“He went off. He missed probably the last 10 minutes. I have no update. I don’t know if I would keep him out of the lineup tomorrow,” Cassidy said following the win over the Hurricanes.

Pasta Snaps Skid

David Pastrnak snapped his 10-game scoreless streak on Saturday night with a one-time power-play blast off a feed from Patrice Bergeron. The 21-year-old winger also notched two assists.

“Obviously it’s nice,” said Pastrnak. “It was a good PP and good battles there and a nice play by Bergy, so it felt nice to get it in…I wasn’t thinking about it until you guys told me – I had no idea. Obviously it’s been a while, but those things happen and it’s normal. It was a lot of help that we were playing really good.”

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Riley Nash will attempt his best Patrice Bergeron impression on Wednesday night against the Avalanche, as the veteran forward slots in to center the B’s top line alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak with Bergeron still out with a lower-body injury.

“Those guys are pretty creative guys,” Nash said following pregame skate at Pepsi Center. “If you can just be a guy that’s consistent in the spot they know you’ll be then I think that benefits them and they can use their skill and their talent to the best of their abilities. I think just try to get to the net and be outlets for them and try to be as Bergy-like as possible.”

That being said, Nash – in the midst of his seventh NHL season – will not be trying to imitate Bergeron to a fault.

“I thought last game I had a better game and playing more straight-lined, being harder on pucks and getting in on the forecheck,” he said. “If I can create turnovers on their D-men and on their forward for odd-man rushes the other way, I think that will benefit those guys. Get them the puck with space and a little bit of time.

“As we watched all last year, they’re pretty talented guys, so their skill usually take over from there.”

Last season, during his first campaign with Boston, Nash was a stalwart on the Bruins fourth line, teaming with Dominic Moore, Tim Schaller, and Noel Acciari to form one of the team’s most dependable and consistent units. Despite their role not requiring much offense, Nash believes he is at his best when his creativity takes over.

“When I’m at my best, I’m thinking more about creativity and not inside the box, but trying to make plays, not just jamming down the wall and taking the easy way out,” said Nash. “Easy way out might be the right play some times but keep your head up and make the right play, whether that be finding a guy through the seam or whether it be cycling down low, just making the right play when you have the time and space to make a play, you’ve got to take advantage of that.

“In this league it’s obviously really fast now and those opportunities are few and far between.”

Bergeron Skates

Bergeron did take to the ice at the conclusion of Wednesday’s morning skate for some skating and stick handling. He had been ruled out for the game against the Avalanche on Tuesday by Cassidy.

“He’s out there testing it again, there’s not a lot of newness to report on it,” said Cassidy. “Obviously we’ll see how he reacts to being on the ice today. If it goes well, he’ll go out again tomorrow and continue on that path until he’s ready to go.

“Not a lot of news on it that I can give you other than that he’s back out there giving it a whirl.”

Cassidy did say that Bergeron would skate again on Thursday in Arizona if he made it through without any issues.

“That’s the plan if it goes well today,” said Cassidy. “Again, I’ll confirm that with the trainers. The team will be off – it’s a scheduled day off – we will find ice for him if there’s no ill effects from today.”

Heinen Slots In

Danton Heinen will make his 2017-18 debut Wednesday night when he skates on the right side with Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly. Heinen played in eight games with Boston last season and was one of the final cuts during this year’s training camp.

“He’ll probably start there. That’s the plan right now. He’ll go with Kuraly and Schaller on the right side and see how that fits for him,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I saw growth in his game…he showed that the last game in Chicago, he was winning puck battles below the goal line, making plays from there.

“That’s the type of line they are, he’ll add a little skill to that line, maybe a little finish. But shouldn’t get in their way, either, in terms of playing a North-South game.”

Heinen has played a top-six role for much of his collegiate and pro career – he had 44 points in 64 games for Providence last season – which means he will have to adjust slightly the way he plays on Boston’s fourth line.

“Got to realize where I am in the lineup and just try to keep it simple and try to complement those guys in any way I can,” said Heinen. “Just try to fill the role that I was put in, try to play with energy and keep it simple.”

Face-off Fun

David Krejci has been among the handful of best face-off men in the league thus far, winning draws at 73 percent success rate through two games. As a team, the Bruins are leading the NHL with a 62.7 success rate.

“He’s been real good in there, we’ve needed him to be good, obviously with Patrice out,” said Cassidy. “He’s stepped up and done a good job. The whole group did the other night; we were good in there. Maybe guys are just adjusting [to the new rules].”

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BOSTON - Following Monday’s 4-0 loss to Colorado, Bruce Cassidy took to the podium and revealed his displeasure with the Bruins’ lack of execution while preparing for their matinee affair with the Avalanche.

The poor practices, he believed, carried over into Boston’s struggles in the first loss of the season. As a result, the Bruins turned up the pace during Tuesday’s practice and set a strong tone ahead of the team’s first road trip of the season.

“It was better, the effort was better,” said Cassidy. “We did some things to correct what we didn’t do well…but I did like the way they responded. They seemed to be in a work-like mode without being down on themselves and not caring and ‘we lost, no big deal.’ I thought there was a good balance, tried to have some zip, but still had focus.”

Brad Marchand said strong practice time is vital to the team’s success.

“We have to practice like that every day,” said Marchand. “I don’t think it’s that much to ask to come to the rink for an hour and work hard and do what we’re supposed to do. If we want to be a good team, you have to learn how to practice every day.”

With the back end of a rare home-and-home with Colorado on tap for Wednesday, the Bruins made sure to focus on correcting the mistakes that ailed them in the loss to Colorado on Monday afternoon.

“A little more North-South, playing in a straight line, getting pucks to the net and creating opportunities there, defending the slot, all things that we didn’t do well enough [on Monday],” said Cassidy. “We need to get better in those areas. We happen to be playing the same team which doesn’t happen a lot, so let’s make sure we correct them and put our best foot forward [Wednesday].”

Bergeron Out

Patrice Bergeron (lower-body) will miss Wednesday night’s game in Colorado, but the center could return over the weekend in either Arizona or Vegas. Bergeron did not skate with the team during Tuesday’s practice.

“We’re aiming for the weekend,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know if it’s gotten worse – he just hasn’t responded well to treatment…probably the better way to put it.”

Riley Nash took Bergeron’s place in the middle of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak during Tuesday’s practice.

Hitting the Road

The first road trip of the season provides the opportunity for this version of the Boston Bruins to mesh together just a little bit better, with the three-game trip to Colorado, Arizona, and Vegas including plenty of time for some team bonding.

“It’s important…this road trip will be good for us to get away, something different,” said Cassidy. “Listen, you’re paid to be prepared and be ready to go…but to have a little bit of variety here coming up I think will be good for us and good for the group to get to know each other a little better now.

“Hopefully our play goes along with that and it’s not just getting away from Boston and being on the road…enjoy each other’s company, we are kind of each other’s second family when you’re at the rink. It’s another chance to bond.”

For rookies Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it will be their first taste of professional life on the road.

“Looking forward to a lot of things, first road trip…we’re looking for a big weekend here and a big couple games coming up,” said DeBrusk. “It’s gonna be a lot of fun…any time you go on the road, especially early, really helps. You bond and get together more, roommates and things like that.

“It’s gonna be a good time, but we’re prepared and we’re gonna be ready to go.”

Opposing View

The Avalanche will be looking to make it back-to-back wins over the Bruins in their home opener. Colorado shutout the B’s with a 4-0 win at TD Garden on Monday afternoon and improved to 2-1-0 on the season.

Nail Yakupov had two goals in the first meeting and leads the Avs with three points this season. Sven Andrighetto and J.T. Compher each potted goals of their own against the Bruins, while goalie Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves.

Colorado sits third in the Central Division with 4 points, behind St. Louis (6) and Chicago (5).

White Arrives on PTO

The Bruins announced on Tuesday that veteran forward Ryan White has joined the team on a professional tryout agreement and will travel with the club on the upcoming road trip.

White, 29, spent the 2016-17 season with Arizona and Minnesota, recording nine goals, seven assists and 84 penalty minutes in 65 games. In his eight-year NHL career with Montreal, Philadelphia, Arizona and Minnesota, the 6-foot, 200-pound forward has skated in 313 games, producing 31 goals and 30 assists for 61 points with 447 penalty minutes.

“When you’re on a PTO there’s not many options,” said White, who was banged up during a PTO with Vancouver this preseason. “Teams aren’t knocking down your door to sign you, so this is the best opportunity I can get right now and it’s good to be here. Just gonna come in here and work hard [and] train as hard as I would any other day and just do my best every day.”

With David Backes and Noel Acciari sidelined for an extended period of time, the Bruins are lacking size and strength on the right side. White could help if he ends up with an opportunity.

“We’ve lost that element…they may not be sexy players and Ryan White has a history of playing that way,” said Cassidy. “He was available for a look, we’re gonna look. There’s no definitive plan other than we’re gonna look at him. If we feel he’s a good fit, then we’ll talk about that. But he does have that flavor.”

Wait, There’s More

  • With Bergeron out, Danton Heinen, one of the team’s final cuts at the end of the preseason, was recalled on Tuesday morning. Cassidy said the 22-year-old could find playing time at some point on the trip.
  • Cassidy also said that Anton Khudobin will likely start a game during the trip, either in Arizona or Vegas