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Austin Czarnik is used to top-line duties. The 25-year-old leads Providence with 42 points in 38 games this season and anchors the P-Bruins’ lead trio.

But when Czarnik was recalled to Boston for Saturday night’s showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he knew he would have to make an impact in a different way. Playing instead in a fourth-line role, Czarnik was tasked with creating energy and momentum each time he hit the ice.

The Detroit native delivered, forming a solid unit with Frank Vatrano and Sean Kuraly. Czarnik did not land a shot on goal in just over nine minutes of ice time, but did pick up an assist on Torey Krug’s power-play tally.

“I think he was good. Lots of energy, on the puck, made a play on the power play, which we’re used to seeing him make. So, I thought that whole line did their job pretty well,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “No complaints…and that’s what we need.”

While playing in a slightly different role, Czarnik felt comfortable alongside Kuraly, his former teammate at Miami (Ohio), and Vatrano, his former linemate in Providence. While with the P-Bruins, Czarnik and Vatrano were a lethal combination that combined for 56 goals during the 2015-16 campaign.

“I played with Sean in college for three years and Frank in Providence and a little bit here so I know what type of players they are and what they like to do,” said Czarnik, who will be back in the lineup on Tuesday night in his hometown against the Red Wings. “I think we are just one step off from getting a lot of chances, but it was a good game for us…it was exciting, just create energy out there was my goal and our line did a good job of forcing a lot of turnovers.”

Czarnik was placed on Boston’s second power-play unit against the Maple Leafs, which proved to be a sound decision when he delivered a feed to Krug, who ripped home a one-timer to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the second period.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming into [Saturday night], so it was nice to get that [opportunity] – and we scored on one of them, so it was perfect,” said Czarnik, who has two assists in seven games with Boston this season.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound forward’s previous two stints with the big club this season came prior to the team’s 25-4-4 run. This time around, he said, there is a noticeably different feel within the group.

“We were struggling there a bit more then,” said Czarnik. “But now the team is playing together and they are doing everything they need to do every night. So, it’s a fun time to be a part of it.”

Opposing View

The Bruins will be making their second visit to Detroit on Tuesday night. Boston’s first trip to Little Caesars Arena resulted in a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory, during which Brad Marchand notched the winner in the extra session.

Detroit has posted a 4-5-1 record over its last 10 games and is currently 7 points out of the East’s second wild-card spot. The Rangers, who the Bruins will visit on Wednesday, have dropped two straight and have just three wins in their last 10.

As a result, Boston is expecting two teams with an added level of urgency.

“I think we’ve tried to always worry about ourselves first. I think we understand that the majority of the teams that we’re gonna be playing are in a little bit more of a fight than we are,” said Cassidy. “We all want our points…they are a little more desperate than we are – we have to be cognizant of that, but at the same time play our game.

“There’s too many games to get caught up every night in what the other team is doing. We always address what they do well, where we can attack them and go from there and try not to worry about the standings too much, to be perfectly honest. There’s no easy games in this league.”

Marchand’s Return Near

Brad Marchand will be back in the lineup on this trip, with the winger serving the final game of his five-game suspension for elbowing on Tuesday in Detroit. Boston’s leading scorer will be eligible to return on Wednesday against the Rangers.

“Time goes by slow when you’re out, but it’s been a lot of fun to watch the guys play the way they have,” said Marchand, whose teammates have posted a 3-1-0 record in his absence. “They’re playing very well. Looking forward to getting back. It’s fun to watch, but it’s not fun to be out. It just shows how good of a team we have. But you hate to miss time and be out. It will be great to be back be in the room.”

Noel Acciari (lower-body), Anders Bjork (upper-body), and Kevan Miller (upper-body) all missed practice. Bjork will not travel with the team on the road trip, while Miller and Acciari “are unlikely to travel [with the team] but could join us,” according to Cassidy.

Acciari, who has missed the last four games, has been skating on his own. Miller and Bjork have not yet resumed any on-ice activities.

Split Duties

Cassidy said that Tuukka Rask would be in net on Tuesday night in Detroit, while Anton Khudobin is expected to get the call on Wednesday in New York.

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Despite a thrilling four-goal outburst in the second period that propelled the Bruins to a two-goal lead, Boston headed into their bye week with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Evgeni Malkin potted his second goal of the night at 2:51 of the extra session, marking a sour – albeit respectable – end to the B’s first half, as they head into their five-day break riding an 11-game points streak.

“We got the start that we wanted, we got that first goal. But then we got away from our game and they took it to us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We know they’re a good team, especially on the power play. We didn’t go a good job on the penalty kill. We got back, the second period was a great period and third was up and down, we could have done some better things.

“But they’re a good team, they’re good offensively and there’s some breakdowns that were uncharacteristic of us lately, but we stuck with it and got a point out of it. Obviously we know we can be a lot better.”

After the four-goal barrage during the second, which included tallies from Brad Marchand, Noel Acciari, David Pastrnak, and David Backes, the Bruins appeared poised to pull away for another convincing victory as they opened up a 5-3 advantage. But Pittsburgh was not interested in going down quietly.

With 3.6 seconds to go in the middle frame, Malkin struck for his first of the game and the Penguins’ second power-play tally of the night to get back within a goal. It was not quite a dagger, but it was certainly a damaging blow, as Pittsburgh came out with plenty of momentum in the third and tied the game, 5-5, on Riley Sheahan’s tally just 2:54 into the period.

“I imagine it gave them more life than sucked life out of us. We still had a lead, we came from two down. But I think it gave them some pop going into the third and it showed,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “You don’t want to give those up. We had two opportunities to clear, that’s the unfortunate part. But that’s been a bit of an Achilles’ heel – our PK’s been terrific all year, the one area that we need to sure up is our clears and it got us there.”

Boston had a golden chance to re-gain the lead when Marchand was awarded a penalty shot with 1:01 to go in regulation. Marchand nearly sneaked a backhander through Matt Murray, but the netminder – who had replaced Jarry following the Bruins’ fifth goal – made the stop, as he did on all six shots he faced in relief.

“When I pulled to my backhand it got stuck in the snow a little bit. There was room there, I just missed it,” said Marchand, who had a goal and an assist. “Back-and-forth game. We didn’t have the start that we wanted, but we bounced back. Gave away a point there, but three out of four on a back-to-back is not bad and now we have to make sure we continue after the break.”

Boston’s five-goal output marked the fourth straight game and fifth time in the last six that it has scored at least five. Four of the goals came within a 9:50 span of the second period.

After Marchand’s goal brought the Bruins back within a goal at 7:18, Acciari struck just 60 seconds later when a Brandon Carlo shot tipped off his chest to tie the game at 3. Pastrnak followed up with his marker just under four minutes later to put Boston ahead, before Backes doubled the lead with 2:52 remaining in the third.

“Ebbs and flows I guess,” said Cassidy. “It seemed like we had pockets of really good hockey. We had pockets where we just lost focus and didn’t look like the team I’m used to seeing every night, in terms of how we played, respect of the game, manage pucks and decisions on line changes – right to the bitter end.

“At the end of the day, we get a point out of it, so you look at the positives, against a good hockey club. But it looked like we were gonna do better than that.”

Bergeron Stitched Up

After taking a Kris Letang shot to the inside of his right knee, Patrice Bergeron needed assistance as he hobbled down the tunnel to the dressing room in the closing seconds of the first period. But the centerman, fresh off a four-goal, five-point night against the Hurricanes, escaped any major damage and returned for the second

Bergeron said he felt more and more stable on the knee as the final two periods progressed. X-rays taken during the first intermission were negative, though he did require a few stitches following the game.

“It didn’t feel good. It was one of those that hit where there was no padding and it was a pretty good shot,” said Bergeron, who still managed to play over 18 minutes. “It definitely stings. We just wanted to make sure there was nothing – X-rays were negative, nothing’s broken. I needed stitches there.

“I was trying to get that going and we decided to just do them after the game so that I could come back for the second. It was good that I had the intermission to kind of reset.”

His return was certainly appreciated by his teammates.

“He’s a warrior. Got to give that guy a lot of credit, he’ll play through anything. We’ve seen it plenty of times before,” said Marchand. “He’s the kind of guy you want to follow and that’s why we’re good because we have that leadership. He’s an incredible player to watch and learn from and we’re lucky to have him.”

Rask Streak Continues

Tuukka Rask (29 saves) extended his career-high points streak to 13 games (11-0-2) with the overtime setback. But Boston’s ace netminder was far from pleased with his performance, as the six goals allowed were a season high.

“I was [bad] all game, all night. I felt like [crap] and didn’t see the puck,” said Rask. “Wasn’t sharp. Weak goals…one of those days. Not feeling as sharp as usual. Against a team like this that’s going to create some scoring chances, probably not ideal.”

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The Bruins certainly hope so.

After 11 straight losses to the Washington Capitals, Boston is looking to snap the maddening streak when they visit Capital One Arena on Thursday evening. The Bruins have not defeated Washington since March of 2014 and have dropped both meetings so far this season.

But as the winners of five straight and 14 of their last 18 – yes, one of the losses came to the Capitals – the Bruins are hoping to finally break through in the teams’ final matchup of the year.

“Obviously we’re playing well, that helps,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “For whatever reason – there’s a number of them – but the biggest one is we end up chasing the game against them a lot, so that’s going to be our focus. Hopefully we get off to a better start.

The Bruins may be catching the Capitals at the right time, as they have lost three straight for the first time this season and have been shut out in back-to-back games, including a 1-0 shootout loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night.

“Both teams played last night, so there’s no advantage other than them being at home,” added Cassidy. “They’ve been able to make more plays than us at the appropriate times. That’s the second part of the focus – get off to a good start and make the plays that you need to to put yourself in position to win.”

Certified Bruins killer Braden Holtby, who has won nine straight against the B’s, did not play against New York and is expected to get the start in goal tonight.

“I think we just have to keep playing the same hockey we’ve been playing,” said Noel Acciari. “We need to have a good start and play our game – right now it’s working for us and if we stick to that we should be OK.”

Acciari Good to Go

After taking a hit to the head from Ottawa defenseman Fredrik Claesson on Wednesday night, Acciari said he was feeling no ill effects and would be ready to go against the Capitals. The winger, whose nose took the brunt of the blow, missed the final five minutes of the first period before returning for the second.

Acciari’s linemate and former Providence College teammate Tim Schaller took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with Claesson, earning 17 minutes in penalties. It was a gesture that Acciari greatly appreciated.

“Tim stepped up for me,” said Acciari. “Just being a good teammate. It’s great to see and I know that any guy will step up for any guy on our team. That’s the type of team we are.”

Schaller said he was trying to avoid the instigator penalty, which automatically triggers a 10-minute misconduct, but the officials weren’t budging.

“I think anyone in the lineup would do the same thing I did,” said Schaller. “I talked to the ref before I got in the box – I said I was polite about it and I made sure [Claesson] said yes. I was surprised when I got it, but it was worth it.”

Pursuit of Happiness

Cassidy has been searching for a just a little bit more from Anders Bjork of late, particularly away from the puck, asking to see a bit more jam out of the rookie winger’s game to complement his patented speed and skill.

During Wednesday night’s win over the Senators, Cassidy got his wish. With the Bruins up, 3-1, late in the second, Bjork turned on the jets and delivered a dogged forecheck on Ottawa blue liner Dion Phaneuf.

Bjork tracked down the veteran defenseman just inside the Ottawa blue line and was hot on his tail as Phaneuf tried to escape the zone. Eventually, Bjork swatted the puck away, corralled it, and fed Riley Nash, who finished things off with a dangle past Craig Anderson for a 4-1 Boston advantage.

It was the exact kind of puck pursuit Cassidy has been looking for.

“We want him to be harder on pucks and puck pursuit because it is an avenue that he can certainly make our team look faster by tracking down pucks,” said Cassidy. “That is why we have asked him – even when he has it sometimes when he runs out of space – to chip it and go get it because he puts a lot of stress on the D. He is starting to understand that part of it.”

Rolling Along

With his win against the Senators, Tuukka Rask has now grabbed points in his last 10 games (9-0-1). The netminder, who was named the NHL’s First Star last week, has accomplished that feat four times in his career, with the last coming in 2015.

Over the 10-game stretch, Rask has a 1.41 goals against average and .946 save percentage.

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Jake DeBrusk was not interested in sugarcoating his situation. To him, a trip to TD Garden’s ninth floor for Saturday night’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs was nothing to pleased about.

“You can take it however you want to take it. I believe it’s a negative thing, it’s never good when you’re not helping the team,” DeBrusk said of the first healthy scratch of his young career. “There’s certain reasons why it happened and that’s where you take a positive approach on changing those things so that it doesn’t happen again.

“Taking it day-by-day getting better, but there are some things I learned for sure.”

Watching the game from above provided DeBrusk with a different perspective on the game and allowed him to take a step back from what has been a challenging stretch for the 21-year-old rookie, who has just one goal over his last 11 games.

“It’s not one big thing,” said DeBrusk. “I think I need to calm down and just play hockey, just do what I was doing at the beginning of training camp, being one of the fastest guys, buzzing around out there, being a hound on the forecheck, simple things like that [and] stop thinking so much.”

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is confident in the winger’s ability to bounce back and confirmed that he’ll be back in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Ducks. Boston’s bench boss would like to see more energy in DeBrusk’s skating game, an area he believes has been lacking of late.

“The message was, ‘Hey, watch from up top, there are certain areas of your game that need to be better, certain areas of your game that we like that you have to bring every night.’ We talked about that,” said Cassidy. “His energy is his legs…when he’s skating, the rest kind of falls into place. That’s what we’re looking for.”

In addition to watching from up top, DeBrusk took time to scour film and pick through the different areas of his game. Now, it’s up to him to apply what he absorbed and avoid another trip to the Garden’s ninth floor.

“It shows your character what you do after that. It’s just another test for me,” said DeBrusk, who will start on the right wing alongside Matt Beleskey and Riley Nash against Anaheim. “It’s one of those things when you’re watching players and seeing what makes them successful out there…it’s pretty evident that you need to change quick.

“You don’t want to be healthy scratch…at the same time there’s a lot of things you can learn up there and you learn about yourself up there.”

Krejci Out

David Krejci will not play against the Ducks on Wednesday night, but Cassidy termed the pivot as “probable” to make his return to the lineup on Thursday in Los Angeles.

“Doing much better, looks like [Thursday] will be a good target date for him,” said Cassidy. “He’ll be a game-time decision…for the immediate short term Krech would be the only [injured player] probable for tomorrow.”

Acciari Arrives

Noel Acciari rejoined the team after spending two days in Michigan for the services of one of his best friends and former Providence College teammate, Drew Brown, who passed away over the weekend after a lengthy battle with cancer.

“He was a tough kid, touched a lot of people with his smile. Never complained,” said Acciari. “He will be missed. It’s tough for me and it’s tough for his family right now, but they’re a tough group…he’s in a better place and he’s looking down on us.”

Ducks Banged Up

The Bruins are not alone in their injury woes, as the Ducks may be only team in the league with more players on the shelf. Anaheim (7-7-3) is without Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Cam Fowler, Jared Boll, Patrick Eaves, Ondrej Kase, and goalie Ryan Miller. And on Wednesday morning, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle termed defenseman Hampus Lindholm as a game-time decision.

“A lot of new faces. When they pre-scout, probably like us, they’re probably getting to the Hockey DB [reference website],” joked Cassidy. “But they still play strong defensively. They’re gonna try to protect the front of the net….they’re gonna be hard to play against.”

1,000 Games for Vermette

Ducks center Antoine Vermette is slated to play his 1,000th career game Wednesday night. The 35-year-old pivot has also suited up for Ottawa, Columbus, Arizona, and Chicago over his 14-year career.

Fellow Quebec native Patrice Bergeron has formed a friendship with Vermette over the years and often trains with him during the offseason.

“It’s definitely a big milestone for him,” said Bergeron. “I’m happy. It’s good timing that we’re playing each other for that game.”

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The Bruins had an off day Thursday after arriving in Toronto at 3 a.m. ET ahead of their Friday night showdown with the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy spoke to reporters at the team hotel, and he gave updates on Brad Marchand, Noel Acciari, the weekend goaltending plan and more.

Marchand/Acciari Game-Time Decisions

Cassidy said that both Brad Marchand and Noel Acciari will be game-time decisions for Friday’s game in Toronto.

“I’m not going to rule [Marchand] in or out right now, because like I said he’s going through what he needs to do. There is a chance [he plays tomorrow].”

“Noel will be a game-time decision. And he gives us a physicality, straight-line, can change the momentum of the game on the forecheck with some big hits. Be nice to have that element back in the game. I think he was rounding into his offensive game, that’s going to be a little more difficult I think after missing time.”

The physicality that Acciari provides is certainly something that doesn’t go unnoticed by opposing teams either, with one Boston reporter informing Cassidy that at least three Rangers brought up the absence of Acciari prior to Wednesday’s game.

“Well they know when he’s on the ice. A guy that hits and hits clean, people are aware of it. Guys that hit dirty, people are aware of it too, but they are talking about it probably in a different [way]. There’s respect for Noel’s game. I believe he’s earned that. I’m not privy to the conversations you’re talking about, but I assume they are talking about a good hard-nosed clean hockey player that brings that element every night and they need to be aware of it when they are on the ice.”

Goaltender Split

Cassidy said that the team is leaning towards starting Anton Khudobin in net Friday night, with Tuukka Rask returning in between the pipes Saturday in Boston.

“We’re leaning towards Anton [Khudobin] tomorrow to give Tuukka [Rask] the extra day, but we’ll make that decision tomorrow morning. But it will be a split. Anton is ready to go; he backed up last night. He’ll have another morning skate to make sure he’s up to snuff and then we’ll decide.”

College Hockey

During his wide-ranging media availability, Cassidy touched on the recent growth of U.S. college hockey. Charlie McAvoy (Boston University), Anders Bjork (Notre Dame), Danton Heinen (Denver University), Frank Vatrano (UMass), Noel Acciari (Providence College) and Sean Kuraly (Miami) are among the Bruins’ young players who chose the college route.

“I think in general, there’s more American kids playing the game, so I think that has a lot to do with it. They are going to naturally gravitate towards going towards college as opposed to going the junior route. I think Canadian kids are now are going the college route more and more because of the level of play, and they want to get drafted. They want to be NHL players. What’s the quickest route? Well who is getting drafted from which leagues? Now there is a better balance in that. And it’s actually probably – I don’t have the numbers in front of me – tilting probably closer to college.”

Cassidy himself said he thought about going to Colgate University as a 17-year-old, but decided to go another route – a decision he sometimes regrets.

“I was a good student, I was ready to go. I turned 17, I went to actually visit Colgate, so it crossed my mind. I was drafted to my hometown team fairly high, so I went that route. It worked out. We won a Memorial Cup. I have regrets sometimes that I didn’t get my education. You can still do it in the summers, peck away at it, but it’s not quite the same.”

Hockey Hall Of Fame

Cassidy said he visited the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto last year and has plans to visit again on the team’s off day.

“I went last year when I was year, and I went probably 15 years a go. For me, I’m sure you guys know, I’m a hockey nut. I’m a junkie, so I love that stuff. I think it’s terrific, nice to be around it.”

His favorite part of the museum was seeing a familiar mask while waiting in line.

“When I walked in I was waiting in line, there was a mask of [Bruins goaltending coach] Bob Essensa right there and I couldn’t believe it. There it was, right there. And I was like, wow, Bob, I have to tell him that. And then the next one below was Darren Pang, who is one of my best friends in hockey. So I was like, wow, I didn’t know I was around such royalty. It was awesome.”

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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.

Krejci Skates

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.”

 

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Brad Marchand is the latest banged-up Bruin, as he will sit out Monday night’s tilt with the Minnesota Wild with a lower-body injury suffered against the Capitals over the weekend. Boston’s top winger joins the list of 11 Bruins who have missed time with injury so far this season.

“He got hit early, got bumped into [John] Carlsson later,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “He had a couple of bumps along the way. He was able to finish the game, so that’s the encouraging part.”

With Marchand sidelined, Anders Bjork will slide up to play the left wing alongside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Frank Vatrano will return to the lineup after being the healthy scratch against Washington.

“He’s a big part of our offense, no question,” said Bergeron. “But it’s always about the next man up, whoever is taking that spot, to respond and be good.”

So far this season, the Bruins have dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries to their core with Noel Acciari, David Backes, Bergeron, Anton Khudobin, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Tuukka Rask, and Ryan Spooner all missing time for various ailments.

The one silver lining of what has been a seemingly never-ending string of injuries is the opportunity it has presented to some of Boston’s young players.

“This is the exception not the rule around here to have this many guys out at one time,” said Cassidy. “You may have this many injuries, but they’re spread out. To come all at once is tough. But you plug away and I think we’ve been doing a good job lately of staying in games and finding a formula that’s been successful for us.

“We’re gonna stick with that. Other guys get opportunities. [Marchand] goes out and someone moves up. That’s the only way we can look at it.”

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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

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The Boston Bruins announced that forward Noel Acciari suffered a fractured finger in Thursday’s opening night win over the Nashville Predators.

The 26-year-old had surgery on his left index finger and will be out at least six weeks.

Acciari posted two goals and three assists last season in 29 games.

The Bruins had already lost forward David Backes for at least three weeks as he undergoes treatment for diverticulitis, while Patrice Bergeron is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.