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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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Matt Grzelcyk knows perhaps better than anyone in the Bruins dressing room what the New England Patriots mean to the region. The 24-year-old blue liner grew up in Charlestown as a Patriots fan and has watched firsthand the team’s dominant run of five Super Bowl titles over the last 17 seasons.

“I can remember when they won their first Super Bowl,” said Grzelcyk. “Obviously they’ve been unbelievable, this stretch they’ve gone on is insane. There’s a reason why they’re so good, you can see how they are on the sidelines with each other, how passionate they are.

“It gives us a little bit of motivation to try to keep up with them. It’s awesome to see and it’s been great to be a part of it and see it firsthand growing up in Boston.”

Grzelcyk was one of several Bruins who attended the Pats’ thrilling 24-20, comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Also in attendance were Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, Riley Nash, David Pastrnak, Paul Postma, and Tuukka Rask.

“It’s nice to be a Patriots fan the last few years, a great day yesterday,” said David Krejci. “A few guys went to the game so I’m sure they had a blast. We do have lots of Americans on the team, they have their own team, but playing here I think you have to become a Patriots fan, they always win. It’s good to be a Boston fan.”

The Pats’ victory clinched a spot in their eighth Super Bowl of the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era, an unprecedented run of success that has highlighted the golden age of Boston sports.

“You can’t help but get caught up in it. I’ve been in New England 10 years…you can see how teams continually can’t put the Patriots way…they’re in people’s heads,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who visited Patriots training camp this past summer and met with owner Robert Kraft.

“It’s an amazing quality that this team has, the culture that they’ve created, their identity. We’d love to be that, where we’re coming at you, we’re coming at you and it doesn’t matter what happens right until the bitter end. We’ll see where that goes.

“You’ve got to be champions to do that, there’s guys in this locker room that were and would like to again. The younger guys that haven’t hopefully that’s one of the things that they embrace.”

Grzelcyk, one of the Bruins’ five rookies, believes the Patriots provide plenty of lessons he and his fellow youngsters can draw from.

“I think they’re just really good at not overcomplicating things,” said Grzelcyk. “The motto is do your job, just very simple, just go out there and do what’s asked of you. I think that’s something that’s stuck with us. We’re trying to take it one game at a time right now and apply that to our game.”

One of the other special things about Boston sports is the camaraderie between all the teams in town. Last spring, Patriots safety Patrick Chung joined the B’s for a skate at the end of practice and earlier this month Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Rex Burkhead, Jordan Richards, Shea McClellin, and Geneo Grissom attended the B’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Cooks, who purchased a Patrice Bergeron jersey before the game, then joined his teammates for a visit with Boston’s alternate captain following his four-goal outburst in the 7-1 win over the ‘Canes.

In addition to Cassidy’s visit to training camp, a group of Bruins, which included Rask, Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Nash, Brandon Carlo, and Tim Schaller, took in a Patriots practice earlier this fall.

“Year after year, they’ve been really good. Obviously Tom Brady has been around a long time and they have a good coach. It’s fun to watch,” said Krejci. “I picked good years to be playing for Boston and becoming a Patriots fan…once our games are done we try to support the other teams as well.”

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The Bruins made sure to kick off their season series against Montreal with a bang on Saturday night.

David Krejci tied the game late in the second period, before Brad Marchand scored in the fourth round of the shootout to send Boston to a 4-3 victory over the rival Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The win extended the Bruins’ points streak to 12 games (9-0-3) and their overall record since Nov. 16 to 18-3-3.

“We seem to be able to show that character. We seem to have a lot of it in this room,” said Marchand, who also potted his 18th goal of the season in the first period. “It was great to see the guys battle back, especially having a bit of a break there – we didn’t have a great game. But we dug down and capitalized when it mattered. Good to get the two points.”

Boston twice came back from one-goal deficits to tie the game. After Max Pacioretty opened the scoring just 3:22 into the first, Marchand responded with a power-play goal off a slick feed from Patrice Bergeron with 2:20 remaining in the opening frame.

“We didn’t have our game early in terms of managing the puck. I think we were still on that little bit of a break mode where you’re not bearing down and not hockey strong yet,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “But we got better at that as the game went on. But we did enough early to not take ourselves out of the game.”

Jake DeBrusk later converted on a breakaway with a snipe over the blocker of Carey Price at 2:55 of the second. But Montreal answered with two goals (from Nicolas Deslauriers and Alex Galchenyuk) just 3:06 apart to regain the lead, 3-2, midway through the period.

But the Bruins stormed back once again. With 2:18 to go in the second, David Krejci struck for his seventh of the year when he picked up a bouncing puck in the slot and snapped one by Price to knot things at 3.

“We were trailing a couple times tonight. Against Montreal in Montreal, it’s tough to come back from,” said DeBrusk. “But we have great leadership with our older guys and the veterans here really show us the way and how to get back. It was a team effort. Lots of guys did things to help us win tonight.”

Montreal nearly ended things with some 20 seconds remaining in overtime, but stellar sprawling saves from Tuukka Rask and Torey Krug kept the Bruins alive. As time ticked away, Krug swatted away a loose puck in the crease, before Rask dived through the blue paint to deny Tomas Plekanec’s follow-up attempt.

“We got better throughout the 60 minutes,” said Rask, who extended his personal points streak to 14 games (12-0-2). “It wasn’t our best start, best first period. But we hung in there…I don’t think anyone was rattled. We were just trying to play our game.”

More observations from the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout win over the Canadiens:

Bruins send thoughts to Danault: In a frightening scene late in the second period, Montreal forward Phillip Danault was struck in the head with a Zdeno Chara slapshot. Danault was down on the ice for several minutes before being stretchered off and transported to a local hospital, where the Canadiens said he was awake and moving.

With 1:37 remaining in the second, the teams retreated to the dressing rooms and played the rest of the frame following the intermission.

“I was hoping that he was not hurt,” said Chara. “That’s obviously the first thought that goes through my mind…it does happen, it’s just very unfortunate. We all get hit somewhere in the upper body. On that particular play I was getting a pass up the boards and the puck probably was bouncing a little bit, so very unfortunate.

“You don’t ever want to see anyone get hit in the head area or the neck area and being carried off the ice. Hopefully Phillip will have a good recovery…wishing him the best and full recovery.”

Chara was among the last people to leave the ice as he waited until Danault was transported to wish him well.

“I wanted to be there. I wanted to talk to him. I felt bad, obviously, that he got hit,” added Chara. “I wanted to make sure he was OK and he responded…he was talking to me and responded, so that made me feel better that he responded and he was OK…I was glad he was doing OK.”

DeBrusk makes most of Montreal debut: DeBrusk took full advantage of his first trip to the Bell Centre for Bruins-Habs. The rookie winger potted a filthy breakaway tally early in the second period to give Boston a 2-1 lead, before notching another goal in the second round of the shootout.

“It’s pretty special. [Carey Price is] one of the best goaltenders in the game. You don’t get chances like that very often,” said DeBrusk. “Obviously a shootout’s a shootout, but it was nice to see those go in. It was one of those things that he’s a pretty intimidating goalie to play against and you’ve got to bring your best.

“Obviously I got lucky tonight and I think that it was just how the game was going….two breakaways and something that I’ll never forget.”

Bruins downplay showdown with Julien: While Saturday night’s matchup marked the first between the Bruins and former coach Claude Julien, the players chose to focus more on what was happening on the ice than the storylines off of it.

“I was playing against the Montreal Canadiens, not against Claude,” said Chara. “We all know that these games are big games and they mean a lot.”

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The Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation announced today, January 11, the first annual Patrice Bergeron & 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Pucks and Paddles, which will be held at Royale Boston (279 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116) on Thursday, February 15 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. The tournament will feature players from the active Boston Bruins roster, on-air personalities from 98.5 The Sports Hub, and patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.

The event will feature a single elimination tournament featuring Bruins players, on air talent and the winning bidders. The rounds will advance to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the Patrice Bergeron & 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Pucks and Paddles champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players will participate in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd. All attendees upon arrival will have the opportunity to purchase an entry into a raffle to participate in additional ping pong games against select players.

Fans have the opportunity to bid on the opportunity to play doubles ping pong with the celebrity of their choice. Fans can place their bids by visiting bruinsauctions.org.

Fans can purchase tickets for both the VIP and General Admission sessions by visiting bostonbruins.com/pingpong.

VIP attendees will enjoy a pre-event meet & greet with members of the team. When purchasing VIP tickets, guests will either choose to be a part of the Gold VIP session featuring Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug and David Krejci or the Black VIP session featuring Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, David Backes, and David Pastrnak .

Tickets will be available to the general public on January 11. Prices are as follows:

VIP: $200 – includes admission to autograph session

GA: $50 – entrance into the event (no player access)

Bruins season ticket holders will have exclusive early access to purchase tickets on January 10 and be able to purchase tickets at a discounted rate:

VIP: $175 – includes admission to autograph session

GA: $40 – entrance into the event

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Finding ways to win when you may not have your best is one of the truest tests of a good team. For much of the first two periods on Wednesday night, the Bruins looked anything but the group that had won eight of their last 10 games.

Boston managed just two shots on goal in the first period – none over the frame’s final 18 minutes. The Red Wings played a stifling brand of defense for much of the night, zipping shut shooting lanes with 22 blocked shots.

But the Bruins were not deterred.

Boston twice battled back from down a goal to tie the game in the third period, before Brad Marchand sealed the come-from-behind victory with a backhand breakaway just 35 seconds into overtime at Little Caesars Arena. The Bruins’ ninth win in 11 games was, perhaps, its most telling.

“It’s big. It just shows the character that we have in the room and that we’re really learning a lot and starting to come together,” said Marchand, who also delivered a slick assist on David Pastrnak’s tying marker with 1:26 remaining in regulation.

“Different guys are stepping up every night. To have a good team you need that. We’re going to need that still going forward, but it’s great to see.”

After a Dylan Larkin shorthanded tally put Detroit ahead midway through the third, Marchand forced the game to overtime with a stellar dish to Pastrnak with the goalie pulled.

Bruce Cassidy summoned Tuukka Rask to the bench with 2:32 remaining, allowing him to deploy David Backes as the extra skater, a luxury Boston’s bench boss was without during the winger’s absence earlier this season.

With Backes’ big body parked at the top of the paint, the slightest of lanes opened up through the slot, allowing Marchand to thread a pass through three Detroit defenders. Pastrnak was positioned at the far post where he ripped the puck into an open net to tie the game, 2-2.

“What goes unnoticed is that’s where we missed Backes a little bit earlier in the empty nets [situations]. He’ll go right to the top of the paint,” said Cassidy. “He’s going to occupy the goaltender, at least one defender, so that does open up lanes. I thought [David Krejci] did a really good job up top.

“Obviously finding the lane was the key part of it and that’s on Pasta to move around to find it.”

Pastrnak did just that, admitting that he only picked up the pass from Marchand at the last second. His 15th goal of the season extended his league-leading points streak to nine games (5-6-11).

“I didn’t even see Marchy,” said Pastrnak, who was playing in his 200th career game. “Last time I saw him he was coming down the wall. I thought he was going to shoot it. I saw the puck real last second. It was not an easy shot; it was coming pretty hot. But I got it on the ice and had an empty net. I’m surprised I even hit that puck.”

Boston started the extra session with Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, and Marchand – Cassidy’s preferred overtime trio. They wasted little time ending it.

Bergeron helped Marchand dig the puck off the wall in the Bruins’ end, before Marchand quickly moved it to Krug (two assists) and started a 2-on-1 through the neutral zone. With Mike Green closing on Krug, the blue liner sauced a backhand to Marchand in open ice.

Marchand broke in all alone on Jimmy Howard and shook off a late attempt by Green to break up the play, roofing a backhander over the sprawling Howard for the winner just 35 ticks into extra time.

“They played a really good defensive game. They didn’t give us a whole lot,” said Marchand. “They play really tight, almost a man-on-man over the whole ice; they really collapse in the D-zone. If you don’t take care of pucks, which we didn’t do a good job of early on you’re not going to get much and they worked hard.

“They out-battled us early on. Luckily we were able to bounce back.”

While Boston’s top dogs carried them to victory in the end, it was a more unheralded group that lit the match early in the third period. Down, 1-0, the Bruins got a boost from its fourth line to spark the offense.

After losing a faceoff in the attacking end, Tim Schaller and Noel Acciari charged hard into the corner, forcing a turnover behind the net. Acciari scooped up the loose puck and had his attempt to tuck it in at the post denied by Howard. The rebound popped out to Schaller, who had two more attempts stoned by Howard.

Fortunately for the Bruins, Acciari had circled the net and was there to finally swat it home and knot the game 3:02 into the final frame.

“We talked about it after the second period that sometimes you need other guys to step up in these moments,” said Cassidy. “Tonight our top guys were having a tough time getting through their checks. Good for Noel and [Sean] Kuraly and Schaller to do that…gotta give them a lot of credit because they gave us some juice.”

It may have taken a little longer than they would have liked, but the Bruins got what they wanted. Another balanced effort with contributions from up and down the lineup. And two more points in the bank as they continue to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.

“A lot of pride in that room realizing we needed to be better,” said Cassidy, while still preaching the importance of producing a full 60-minute effort. “Guys wanting to win, appreciating what to do to play winning hockey eventually.”

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Jake DeBrusk has never been considered your average goal scorer. His abilities range far beyond what a typical top-six winger usually provides.

Among those attributes is a bit of an ornery side. And for the first time in his young career, the full wrath of that side came out during the second period of the Bruins’ 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

After Casey Cizikas delivered a heavy hit on Charlie McAvoy by the Islanders bench in the second period, DeBrusk took exception, stepping in and dropping the gloves for his first career fight. The former first-round pick was issued an instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for his efforts and was forced to watch most of the second period from the Bruins dressing room as he served his 17-minute banishment.

When DeBrusk returned, the more traditional side of his game shone through, too. On his first shift after the penalty, the 21-year-old delivered with a spin-o-rama snipe from the slot for what proved to be the deciding goal.

It was a sequence that could prove to be a defining one for the rookie.

“He comes through there and he sticks up for his teammate, that shows a lot,” said Bruins alternate captain David Backes. “Then to capitalize on a goal after not playing for 17 minutes – I was asking if he jumped on a bike there in the second period or what to keep going, because I know that can be a tough thing to get your feet back under you and get up to speed again.

“He made good of that opportunity and it ends up being the game-winning goal. Two points for us and that’s what we we’re looking for.”

DeBrusk has never been shy to drop the gloves. The 6-foot, 183-pounder fought five times over three seasons in the WHL and twice more with Providence last season. Despite being known more for his offensive prowess, DeBrusk’s rough-and-tumble side is no surprise given the fact that his father, Louie, was once one of the NHL’s premier tough guys – fighting 115 times over his 11-year career.

“It really showed that he’s a great teammate,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “You don’t have to be a big guy to drop gloves and stand up for your teammate and he did. Good for him, he showed a lot of character in that act. He did pretty well. Obviously the toughness is something he has in his family. It’s a great sign of being part of a good team.”

DeBrusk, who had zero career penalty minutes before the fight, said he believed Cizikas’ hit on McAvoy was clean, but felt it was important to stand up for his fellow rookie.

“I think it was a clean hit, it was just a really hard one and I didn’t like it…I verbally asked him if he wanted to go and he said yes and he dropped his gloves, so that’s how it happened,” said DeBrusk. “It was a bit of a different scenario, to say the least. It was something that happened, and I honestly didn’t try to get an instigator or anything like that.”

It was the type of penalty that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was happy to live with.

“I think it’s good for his teammates to know that he’s going to get in there, whether people think it’s right or wrong…he’s in there looking after one of his teammates, so guys appreciate that,” said Cassidy. “At that time and juncture in the game, I think everyone’s fine with it and it will help him in the room.”

Nevertheless, DeBrusk wanted to make up for having to spend 17 minutes in the dressing room. With plenty of jump in his step, DeBrusk returned in the third period and took advantage on his first shift.

“I watched the period in here and just felt a little out of sorts and just wanted to get back in action and make the first shift a good one. Was lucky enough to cash in on a goal,” said DeBrusk.

The tally was a shining example of DeBrusk’s scoring touch. The winger picked up a bouncing puck off a pass from Torey Krug and made his way to the slot, where he spun and fired a blistering wrister by Jaroslav Halak with 13:15 remaining to build a 2-0 lead.

“I just wanted to get the puck on net. I was kind of trying to honestly generate maybe a rebound,” said DeBrusk. “It was kind of a weird play…I didn’t really know where the net was. I kind of had an idea, but I just turned and just shot as hard as I could and it went in.

“It was nice to see that and obviously missing a whole period and then coming back, it was huge.”

It was a look into what could be a very bright future. And a sequence that his teammates certainly won’t forget.

“I thought it was great to see him stepping up for Chuckie there and then getting that goal,” said Patrice Bergeron. “He was in the penalty box for a while and sometimes your legs can get stiff and cold, and he didn’t miss a beat. Then he was ready for when he got a tap on the back, and came back on the ice.

“It was a huge goal for us. We needed that. So kudos to him for stepping up and making those two big plays.”

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The Bruins knew they had their work cut out for them on Saturday night. Boston was getting its first look at rookie sniper Matthew Barzal, who has joined an already potent New York Islanders lineup that includes John Tavares, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey to form one of the NHL’s best offensive attacks.

A strong defensive effort was needed from top to bottom. And that’s exactly what the Bruins put forth.

Led by a 30-save performance by Tuukka Rask and some stifling play from the back end, the B’s charged to a 3-1 victory over the Isles at TD Garden for their eighth win in 10 games.

“We talked about the one thing that we had to really take care of was our D-zone tonight and we definitely did that,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Especially against an offensive team like the Islanders with so many gifted players, you can’t give them space and room, especially in the slot. I thought we kept them on the outside for the most part.

“Obviously they’re going to get some chances, they’re good players, but I thought it was a really good effort.”

Contributing to the stingy performance was Boston’s penalty kill. The unit had a perfect night in shutting down all four of New York’s power plays, which included two five-minute majors in the third period – one on Brad Marchand for interference and one on David Backes for head butting. On both majors, the Bruins drew penalties which helped limit the time they spent shorthanded.

“Those majors ended up being kind of three-minte power plays for them and then we draw a penalty. We cut it in half twice,” said Zdeno Chara. “That’s something that shows guys are working hard even away from the puck. Even when we are shorthanded we are capable of being dangerous and that’s what happened, we drew some penalties.”

Boston has now allowed one goal or fewer in three of its last four games and is playing its best all-around hockey of the season in front of Rask, who has won four straight starts. Including his relief performance in Nashville, the B’s ace netminder has allowed just five goals over his last five games for a 1.10 goals against average and .955 save percentage.

“Making those saves you can see he’s clear. He’s ready for anything, for every shot, and he looks confident,” said Bergeron. “Tonight he was great.”

After a tough month of November, during which he ceded the net to Anton Khudobin for a four-game stretch, Rask has found his stride and appears relaxed and composed between the pipes. Rask credited the play in front of him for his recent success.

“I’ve had good rhythm to my game,” said Rask. “Guys are doing a good job eliminating the second chances and obviously if you don’t get rebounds all the time it helps too, but we’re skating back so hard that we are kind of forcing them to take shots in bad spots and when they don’t have all the time in the world to pick the corners up, it’s kind of easier for me too.

“I think that’s played a huge part of that, coming back to our own zone and shutting them down in the slot area and also blocking a ton of shots. We’re not shying away from that, so I think all of those things together have made it.”

Much of the strong play in front of Rask came from the pairing of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo. With Boston’s No. 1 duo of Chara and Charlie McAvoy assigned to track the Islanders top line, the responsibility of defending Barzal, Andrew Ladd, and Jordan Eberle fell to Krug and Carlo. The tandem had a terrific night as they kept the Islanders second-line trio off the board.

“That kid’s a heck of a player,” Krug, who had two assists, said of Barzal. “Seems like the puck follows him around. A couple bigger bodies that play with him and get to the net. It was a fun matchup for Brandon and myself. We both skate well and tried to shut them down with good gaps. When he’s coming at you with all that speed it’s tough, but I thought we did a good job overall.”

Barzal did manage a point – with Chara and McAvoy on the ice as the penalty to Backes expired – when he picked up an assist on Lee’s goal that cut the Bruins lead to 2-1 with just 3:08 remaining. It was all the Islanders could muster.

“We did a good job – obviously they’re a good team with some firepower and some really skilled guys, so we did a good job of defending from the inside out and Tuukks played a heck of a game,” said Krug. “He got a chance to see a lot of pucks and played it with a lot of confidence and our penalty killers were great.”

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The Bruins’ four-game win streak came to a close on Sunday evening with a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden.

Boston took an early lead but was unable to generate much of a sustained offensive attack, landing just 11 shots on goal through two periods. The Bruins pushed in the third (14 shots) after Ryan Strome grabbed the eventual winner just 2:07 into the frame, but could not find the equalizer.

“I thought they played well, but I thought a lot of it was us,” said Riley Nash. “I don’t think we were quite ready to go. It seemed like every time we got in their zone it was kind of one-and-done for the night. I think we can look within ourselves for that, I just don’t think we were hard enough on pucks…on nights like that you just got to find a way to get it done.”

Perhaps the most disappointing part of the Bruins’ loss was their inability to provide support for Tuukka Rask. Boston’s ace netminder returned after serving as the back-up during Anton Khudobin’s torrid four-game winning streak and made 32 saves on 35 shots.

“Obviously he wants to win hockey games, it doesn’t matter how,” said Torey Krug. “We’ve got to do a better job of playing for him and getting that win. Tie game, third period, in our home building – a good chance to get him going again. We came out there and let him down. We’ve got to do a better job of making sure that we can come out with this win.”

Rask fell to 3-8-2 this season and has now lost four straight starts, during which the Bruins have managed to score just seven goals.

“When they start to pile up and nothing seems to go your way, it’s frustrating,” said Rask. “Obviously right now it’s frustrating, but tomorrow is a new day, go back to work and start building something new. That’s all you really can control. Your work ethic and attitude, and how you show up to work. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Despite nearly a two-week layoff from game action, Rask said he felt strong between the pipes. Edmonton’s 10 first-period shots allowed the 30-year-old to get a feel early on.

“I felt good. I got right into the game,” said Rask. “That was the difference from the past. There were a lot of shots early on. I got right into the game and after that, same film I’ve seen before….tough bounce.”

After David Pastrnak extended his points streak to three games with a power-play tally late in the first, Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on goals from Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson during a five-minute stretch of the second. David Krejci tied the game just 1:11 later when he finished a feed from Nash at the right post, but that was all the Bruins could muster.

“It seemed like we lacked energy in the first couple periods,” said Torey Krug. “We weren’t throwing many checks. When your legs aren’t moving you can’t hit those guys and you can’t meet the puck there, then they’re playing with more energy and they’re playing with the puck. It’s a more fun game for them.

“I think the first two periods we definitely lacked energy and the third we started doing things better, holding on to pucks and chipping it in. We can’t just go back to the mentality.”

More observations from the Bruins’ loss to the Oilers:

Power Play strikes: Boston snapped an 0-for-17 stretch on the power play when Pastrnak struck for the B’s first goal on the man advantage since Brad Marchand’s tally on Nov. 10 in Toronto.

Pastrnak took a feed from Krug, pulled off a backhand toe drag, and ripped a wrister by Cam Talbot to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 5:57 left in the first period.

Adidas Black Brad Marchand Jersey-Bruins Official Shop

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.”

Adidas Black Patrice Bergeron Jersey-Bruins Official Shop

For the first 59 minutes of the game, it seemed the Bruins had finally put together a complete road victory against a formidable opponent. Leading 2-1 thanks to tallies by familiar goal-scorers Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, the Bruins looked to close out the game and earn a much-needed two points. But with the goalie pulled in the final 60 seconds of regulation, James Van Riemsdyk and the Toronto Maple Leafs snatched a point from their Atlantic Division rivals, and Patrick Marleau added the finishing blow a minute into three-on-three overtime – leaving Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and the rest of the B’s scratching their heads as to how they let one get away in a 3-2 overtime setback at Air Canada Centre.

“With a minute left, it’s one of those where you kind of let it slip by,” lamented Bergeron. “It’s tough, we have to learn from that… We have to take the good out of it but also realize we have to close games like that.”

“We played good, but a few mistakes just cost us the game,” added Marchand, who played 23 minutes in his first game back from an upper-body injury. “You can’t be giving away points like this.”

After a scoreless back-and-forth affair through the first half of the game, Bergeron opened the scoring 15 minutes into the second period with a one-time snipe from Marchand that beat Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who was frozen in his crease. It was a familiar connection for No. 63 and No. 37, who looked as comfortable as ever playing together in all situations of the game – as each racked up more than 22 minutes of ice time. But after Riley Nash was called for a slashing penalty in the final minute of the period, the Leafs capitalized on the man advantage, as Van Riemsdyk banged home a rebound from Morgan Reilly’s point shot to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Pastrnak put the Bruins ahead once again 14 minutes into the third period, as the team’s third power play of the game was about to expire. Torey Krug sent the puck in behind the Leafs defense, where Anders Bjork retrieved it and centered it to the front of the net, where Jordan Szwarz had two point-blank whacks at it, only to be denied by Andersen both times. But the second rebound came right out to Pastrnak, who finished it off and threw both hands in the air in celebration.

But the good feelings were short-lived for the Black & Gold. The desperate Leafs pulled Andersen and put six skaters on the attack in the final couple minutes, hemming the Bruins in their own zone. After a few failed clearing attempts, Mitch Marner’s pass found the stick of Van Riemsdyk, who was camped out alone in front of Khudobin and easily deflected it past the B’s netminder to tie the game.