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Bruce Cassidy expected some rust in Adam McQuaid’s game.

After all, the burly defenseman had not played in three months, the result of a broken right fibula from blocking a shot against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 16.

But after a solid all-around performance in his return during Boston’s 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, there was little indication that the veteran blue liner had missed the last 36 games.

“Very solid, thought he handled the puck very well, especially at the offensive blue line,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday morning at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I thought that’s where the rust would be, to be honest, not having pressure around him. But handled it very well. Penalty kill is one of his fortes -obviously delivered there, solid defensively. Very pleased with his game.”

With Kevan Miller still sidelined with an illness, McQuaid will be back in the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders. The 31-year-old played 15 minutes, 12 seconds versus the Habs and logged a team-high four shots on goal and two hits, while playing alongside Matt Grzelcyk on Boston’s third pairing.

“Not too bad. I wasn’t sure what to expect, just went with the first shift and then the second and just went down from there,” said McQuaid. “I wanted to try to keep things really simple. Grizz made life pretty easy to play with – he played really well. All the guys did, so it was nice to be back, be a part of the win. I’m happy to be back.”

During the defenseman’s absence, Cassidy spoke on numerous occasions about how valuable McQuaid is on the kill and he showed why against Montreal. McQuaid logged 1:34 on the kill, all of which came during the Canadiens’ unsuccessful 5-on-3 bid midway through the second period.

“I was a little tired,” McQuaid said with a laugh. “I tried my best not to overstay or overextend my shifts, I didn’t have much choice in that case. I felt that one a little bit…I think guys thrive off of wanting to kill that and be in those situations. Even though I was a little winded at the end of it, it was a good feeling for sure.”

McQuaid’s strong work in the D-zone also led to the deciding goal. After rubbing out Jacob de la Rose along the left wall, the puck squirted to Jake DeBrusk, leading to a rush up ice that resulted in Ryan Spooner’s backhanded tally that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

“It goes without saying that I was looking forward to getting back out there,” said McQuaid. “A few nerves [before the game], just settled into the game…it felt good just to be a part of the win.

“As fun as it has been to watch the guys win and when you’re actually on the ice and on the bench and a part of the battle it’s that much more gratifying.”

Captain Iron Man

Like McQuaid, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara did yeoman’s work on the penalty kill against the Canadiens. Chara logged 2:25 of shorthanded ice time on Wednesday, including a consecutive stretch of 4:18 before and through Charlie McAvoy’s holding penalty. It is just the type of situation that the 40-year-old thrives on.

“It’s something that we feel that the guys that are on the ice, that’s our job to prevent them from getting a goal,” said Chara. “For the most part, I thought we did a really good job of keeping them on the outside…at that point in the game it was a turning point, they could easily get two goals and that would be a different story.

“That’s my job and that’s our job to make sure we do our best to prevent that…I was tired but nothing that didn’t happen before…it takes some energy out of you, but at the same time, that’s my job and I train to do that.

“Those are the times and moments where I absolutely love to be on the ice. Whatever the team needs, I’m willing to give.”

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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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The Bruins were clearly frustrated on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. Boston’s power play struggled to create much momentum on its first five chances on the man advantage – managing just one shot on goal – before eventually breaking through in crunch time with a power-play tally from Brad Marchand to tie the game in the third.

But a 1-for-7 showing, which included a too many men on the ice penalty and a shorthanded breakaway attempt for the third straight game, did not leave them feeling good about the state of their power play.

“It’s just as much a reset,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Monday’s game with Columbus. “We knew we weren’t very good on it the other night. We had to at least have a conversation about it, what’s going wrong. We brought both groups in, talked to the guys, the vocal guys in each group, tried to get everyone together on the same page, air out any differences. Sometimes that’s it.

“Guys get frustrated with each other. These are skill guys that are used to scoring. If they get overlooked or there’s a wrong decision, there can be a domino effect. We don’t want that to bleed into 5-on-5 and all of a sudden we’re complaining about the power play and it’s over and the play is still going on.”

Following a sluggish month of November on the man advantage, the Bruins have been cashing in more frequently of late with power-play goals in five of seven games in December (6 for 26). Nevertheless, Boston has dipped to 14th (19.8%) in the league after spending most of the first month in the top five and allowed shorthanded goals in two of three games last week.

“Trying to make a perfect play is part of the problem, so if that’s overthinking – not thinking enough in terms of not recovering pucks,” said Cassidy. “I think that was a big part of our success last year, particularly that first group. To get some of those teams out of position or uncomfortable when they recovered pucks and things opened up for them. And more movement. I think they’ve been a little too static at times.”

Cassidy said teams have been stacking the blue line with three or four players across to slow down Boston’s speed – mainly David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Ryan Spooner – entering the offensive zone. One way to break through that? The chip-and-chase.

“Self chipping. I don’t think it’s a strength of our team, naturally, on the entry to recover pucks because we’ve got some skills guys that want to make those plays there,” said Cassidy. “[But] we’re going to have to build that in if that’s the direction we go. We may have to because teams are stacking the blue line…they’ve got four back in the neutral zone with a 1-3, diamond, four across.

“They’re making it hard for us to get in there. That’s where I see the self chips coming in, a lot more of that – just chip it behind them and get it yourself.”

McQuaid Out, But Close

Adam McQuaid will not play against the Blue Jackets but a return sometime this week seems likely. Cassidy would like the blue liner, who has been out since Oct. 19 with a broken right fibula, to get in another full practice or two before re-entering the lineup.

“He’s still day-to-day. He’s going to get through practice today, get in a little extra work. The problem we’ve had with Adam is having a full team practice where you’re out there and it’s 5-on-5 in zone and 3-on-3 down low,” said Cassidy.

“Until he gets a couple of those under his belt – which he has had a few – but we’re thinking maybe a couple more would benefit him. We’re not excluding him tomorrow [against Buffalo]. I am [for] tonight.”

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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is nearing full health, as he skated with the team on Sunday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. McQuaid suffered a broken fibula when he blocked a shot in the Bruins 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on October 19. McQuaid was expected to miss eight weeks with the injury, and it appears McQuaid is a possibility to return as soon Monday against Columbus, pending further evaluation from team doctors.

“I’d like to get back as soon as I can obviously,” said McQuaid. “I’ve missed a lot of time here, but it’s a process… I’ll probably have a better idea probably tomorrow morning.”

“I don’t know if Monday he’ll be cleared, but he is close,” added head coach Bruce Cassidy. “He is getting close. He has practiced with us, so it is imminent for him. I just don’t want to pinpoint an exact date.”

The return of McQuaid will give the Bruins seven healthy defensemen on the roster, providing Cassidy plenty of options for his defensive unit.

“That’s an internal discussion that we’re starting to have, and then you can play seven D,” said Cassidy. “It could be a different one every night – might play six D one night and seven the next. Again, it will create competition – good competition.”

Regardless of whether McQuaid is back in the lineup on Monday against Columbus, the rugged defenseman is excited to his return is near.

“I’m excited about where I’m at and about the possibility here going forward,” said McQuaid. “Hopefully when I get back in the lineup, whenever that is, I’ll be ready to go. It’s been fun to watch the guys and I want to get back in and be a part of a winning hockey team again.”

DeBrusk Slumping

Jake DeBrusk has experienced both the success and the struggles that are to be expected of a rookie at the NHL level. After being held out of the lineup as a healthy-scratch earlier in the season, DeBrusk caught fire, scoring six points in a five game stretch in November.

After an upper-body injury forced the rookie to miss three games, he has been unable to find the same success. DeBrusk has only two points (1-1-2) in his previous six contests. Midway through the second period against the Rangers, Cassidy elected to keep DeBrusk on the bench for the remainder of the game. DeBrusk played a season-low 7:43.

“I didn’t think he was hard enough on the puck,” said Cassidy. “He lost some battles on the walls, in the middle of the ice. By my count, he had probably two backhand turnovers… it is a learning curve. I think all of the guys have gone through it.

“When he gets his chance again, he has got to play with his forecheck, and there were some opportunities to do that that didn’t happen. So, we just decided to go a different route.”

DeBrusk recognized the areas of his game that need improvement.

“It’s one of those things that you never want to have happen, but I understood why,” said DeBrusk. “I think it was just being hard on pucks… [I'm] looking to do anything I can to find that energy and get back to my game that I was a week a ago.”

Lineup Tweaks Possible

When the Bruins take the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at TD Garden, there is the possibility of minor changes to the lineup.

“We’ll go with the same D,” said Cassidy. “The forward group we’d have to look at with Anders [Bjork].”

Bjork was a healthy scratch against the New York Rangers on Saturday. The Wisconsin native has been held to just one point in his previous five games. Ryan Spooner replaced Bjork alongside David Krejci on the Bruins second line. Whether Bjork returns to the lineup is yet to be decided.

“We sat him a game; We’ve talked about how we want to handle that,” said Cassidy. “We’ll have a conversation today or tomorrow morning about that. So, I wouldn’t say the forward group would be the same for sure.”

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Paul Postma understands his role. As Boston’s seventh defenseman for much of this season, it’s been the veteran blue liner’s job to be prepared when called upon.

So despite having played just once over Boston’s last eight games, the 28-year-old is more than ready to return to action tonight against the Red Wings.

“That’s why you play the game and love it. You look forward to every chance you get to play,” said Postma, who has suited up for 11 games this season. “I think the hardest thing for me is more of a mental game than a physical game, just making sure that I’m ready mentally to go.”

Postma will be sliding in alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the B’s third pairing in place of Kevan Miller. Miller will miss the game in Detroit after he and his wife, Haley, welcomed their first child late Tuesday night back in Boston.

“Mom and the baby are doing very well – healthy,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Kevan is going to stay behind and hopefully will join us tomorrow. He’s a happy man right now. Didn’t get any sleep last night, so we figured for everyone’s sake let’s let him enjoy his moment.”

Postma, who has not played since Nov. 29 against Tampa Bay when the Bruins dressed seven defensemen, will be trying to keep it simple against the Red Wings.

“Don’t overthink things out there, just do what comes naturally to me and try to get pucks on net when I can,” said Postma. “My skill is skating and trying to jump up in the rush, I’m going to do that as much as I can.”

Cassidy has been pleased with that portion of Postma’s game to this point, but would like to see the blue liner be a bit more aggressive at the Bruins’ end of the rink.

“The biggest thing we’ve asked Paul to do is get up and play more of our style, where you’re up closing your gaps and confronting and denying entry at the blue line with those things,” said Cassidy.

“It’s maybe a change for him from previously. But at the end of the day, that’s one area we want to be better at and recognize and build into his game.”

Spooner Still Sidelined

Per Cassidy, Ryan Spooner is still not ready to return to the lineup and will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury.

“We’re going to wait that one out to be sure,” said Cassidy. “We’re never going to be 100 percent sure, but we just want to give it as much time as possible. He’s still day-to-day and we’ll look at tomorrow after tonight’s game.”

Counter Punch

Detroit has lost nine of its last 10 (1-5-4), but Cassidy is not overlooking the skill and speed the Red Wings present up front. Twenty-one-year-old Dylan Larkin paces the Wings with 23 points (4 goals, 19 assists) in 30 games this season.

“They’re a good team, they’ve played better than their record indicates lately,” said Cassidy. “They’ve got a good group of forwards that play fast. If you’re not controlling your gaps and letting them behind you it’s going to be a tough night for us.

“We’ve got to make sure that we counter that with good checking position and puck possession, force them to defend us so that they’re not always on the attack. That’s going to be our game plan tonight and let’s hope we can execute it.”

Where the Pizza At?

The Bruins are making their inaugural regular-season visit to Little Caesar’s Arena, which replaced the famed Joe Louis Arena at the start of this year. The new digs are quite impressive, but there won’t be any real adjustments to be made on the Bruins’ end.

“It’s a nice building, very nicely done and beautiful place,” said Zdeno Chara. “The plan is the same, we’ve got to come out and focus on yourself and play your game.”

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Ryan Spooner practiced in full for the second straight day on Tuesday and remains day-to-day as he recovers from a lower-body injury that has hindered him since his return from a groin tear late last month.

The forward came back from the initial injury to play in two games before tweaking the ailment and missing the B’s game with Edmonton on Nov. 26. Spooner proceeded to suit up for the next three contests then exited the lineup again, missing Boston’s wins over the Coyotes and Islanders.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said following practice that a decision on the 25-year-old’s status for Wednesday night’s game in Detroit would be determined in the morning. After a couple of setbacks, Boston’s bench boss wants to make sure Spooner is back for the long haul this time around.

“He’s still practicing full with the team,” Cassidy said following practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “I guess the long and short of that [is] he’s still day-to-day. We’ll decide tomorrow. We don’t want to go backwards again. We’ve had a couple of starts and stops with that one.

“We’re going, to the best of our ability, try to manage that so we’re going forward and not re-injuring.”

Should Spooner be ready to play against the Red Wings, Boston would be forced to make a roster decision, something Spooner’s injury helped the team avoid when Jake DeBrusk returned last week. When DeBrusk was activated from injured reserve, Spooner swapped places with the rookie, meaning the Bruins are currently at the 23-man limit.

“He’ll travel with the team, and if tomorrow we decide he’s in the lineup then Donny [Sweeney] and I will talk about how that affects our roster. But we don’t know if he’s going to play tomorrow,” said Cassidy.

In the five games Spooner has played since returning from his extended absence, he has notched a goal and two assists.

Family Time for Miller

Kevan Miller missed practice on Tuesday to be with his wife, Haley, for the birth of the couple’s first child. Cassidy was not sure what the defenseman’s status would be for the game in Detroit, saying family comes first.

“He’s at the hospital. Heard everything was going well so far, so he’s excused for personal reasons,” said Cassidy. “Right now we’re going to let today play out. I think that’s a conversation we’re going to have with the player as well. It could go either way.

“Take care of that part of the business first and we’ll see where he is at personally.”

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Just when the Bruins thought they were nearing full health, more bad news arrived at the doorstep on Tuesday afternoon.

While David Backes, Brad Marchand, and Ryan Spooner all participated fully in practice and appear close to a return to game action, Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci missed the session and have been ruled out for Wednesday night’s tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

DeBrusk, day-to-day with an upper-body ailment, will become the 14th Bruin to miss time because of injury this season. Krejci, meanwhile, re-aggravated an upper-body injury that sidelined him for 11 games earlier this season. The pivot (also day-to-day) had played in five games since returning and was riding a two-game scoring streak (2-1-3).

“It’s tough. Every team goes through it though. You see it all around the league,” said Marchand, who has sat out six straight games and eight out of 10 because of injury. “I think Anaheim is in a similar situation as well. You have to battle through and the guys have. We’ve won four of the last five and we’re starting to come together. It’s good that guys are able to step up and guys are getting opportunities to take control and be big for us.

“Guys have done that and we have to continue to find ways to win. At the end of the year, you don’t want to have any excuses, you want to battle through it and it’s going to make the team better.”

Marchand shed the burgundy non-contact jersey for Tuesday’s session and will be a game-time decision against the Lightning.

“Not very much fun wearing that, nice to get the regular one back on and take part in the full practice,” said Marchand, “So it was good, I felt good today – felt good the last few days. I guess we’ll see.”

David Backes has also been termed day-to-day and a game-time decision for Wednesday night and appears to be well ahead of schedule in his recovery from colon surgery. Backes was originally given an estimated recovery time of eight weeks after the procedure on Nov. 2.

“Feeling pretty good,” said Backes. “Another step today in practice with full contact, trying to egg a little more contact with the day off yesterday and trying to push and test things so that you’re still in a little bit more of a controlled environment.

“If things are not good, you can call timeout, where as in a game there’s not that luxury or tell everyone to take a second to regroup. Went well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

Ryan Spooner was also back at practice after missing Sunday’s game against Edmonton.

“Had some time off, so he’s doing well. Looking good for tomorrow,” said Cassidy.

Bjork Returns

In other positive injury news, Anders Bjork was back on the ice for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 11. The rookie winger, who has missed the last six games, was donning a burgundy non-contact jersey and did not take part in the second half of practice, which consisted of several battle drills. He will not play against Tampa Bay.

Goalie Decision Coming

Cassidy did not divulge which goalie will start against the Tampa Bay Lightning, saying he will announce his final decision on Wednesday morning.

“Ideally, I’d like both goalies to give us a chance to win every night and be at the top of their game,” said Cassidy. “I think we’ve seen that with Anton [Khudobin] now, Tuukka [Rask's] not there yet. We’ve got to find a way. At the start of the year that’s what we had said, we want both goalies to play well and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what we need. That hasn’t changed.”

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With each passing day, the Bruins are inching closer to a return to full health. But there is still some work to be done.

Brad Marchand and Torey Krug skated with the team on Tuesday, but will not travel to New Jersey and have been ruled out for the game against the Devils on Wednesday night. Ryan Spooner, meanwhile, appears close to a return from the torn adductor that has sidelined him for the last five-plus weeks.

“It was a long 5 ½ weeks,” said Spooner, who took his normal reps with the first power-play unit during Tuesday’s session. “Not sure if I’m gonna play yet, but I’m gonna go with the team, skate in the morning, and go from there. I felt good, first practice I’ve had and felt fine, so that’s good.”

Marchand started practice in his usual white sweater, but ditched it for a burgundy non-contact jersey roughly halfway through the session. Krug – who left practice early – and David Backes also donned the non-contact jerseys.

For Marchand, it was the first step in his return from an undisclosed injury that has caused him to miss the last three games.

“Good to be back out with the guys and feel like part of the team again,” said Marchand. “It’s frustrating any time you have to miss games and time away from the team. It’s disappointing. The guys had a great road trip and are playing well, so it’s fun to watch. It would be nice to be back in the lineup and be part of the team again, but it will come.”

Boston’s No. 1 left winger has missed five of the team’s last seven games. After sitting out two games with an upper-body injury, Marchand returned for the back-to-back against Toronto some 10 days ago and was nicked up again on the second night in Boston.

“I’m feeling a little better and progressing,” said Marchand. “Today was really the first day I skated high-intensity. We’ll just keep going day by day.”

Though disappointed to be out of the lineup, Marchand was impressed with the team’s play on the West Coast during his absence and had particularly high praise for Boston’s youth.

“I think the younger guys did a really good job stepping up, Jake DeBrusk had a great game [against San Jose],” said Marchand. “Throughout the lineup guys are playing with more confidence and stepping up their game. That’s what we need, guys stepping up at different times. We’re getting that.”

Grzelcyk Back Up

With Krug still out, the Bruins recalled Matt Grzelcyk from Providence. It’s the Charlestown native’s second stint with Boston this season, having played in the B’s season opener against Nashville.

The 5-foot-9, 174-pound blue liner had four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games with Providence this season and is often compared to Krug in both stature and skill set.

“Puck mover, he’s quick, he gets up the ice, supports the rush, good distributor, a lot of similarities to Torey. And naturally it’s always, ‘Well, because of their similar makeup…’ But they are similar,” said Cassidy. “Torey at this level, and even at the AHL level his first year, is a more dynamic offensive player. We’re still looking for that from Grizz. Whether it’s in him or not, time will tell. We believe it is, we’ve just got to get it out of him.”

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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.”