Tim Schaller will miss Saturday's game against the Flyers. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tim Schaller will miss Saturday’s game against the Flyers. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

There’s never a ‘good’ time to deal with a rash of injuries. But there probably hasn’t been a time where the Bruins have been better equipped to handle multiple injuries than they are right now.

Already down center Ryan Spooner, who suffered a concussion in the third period of Monday’s loss in Ottawa, the Bruins lost utility forward Tim Schaller early in the first period of their 6-1 win over the Red Wings on Wednesday when Schaller went feet-first into the boards.

Absent from Friday’s practice at TD Garden, too, Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy has confirmed that the 26-year-old Schaller will miss tomorrow’s matinee game against the Flyers.

“Lower-body, he’s unavailable tomorrow,” Cassidy said of Schaller. “We’ll reassess going forward after that. We’ll see how it plays out.”

A fixture on the B’s fourth line with Dominic Moore and Riley Nash, Schaller has recorded seven goals and 14 points in 58 games (all NHL bests in what’s been the New Hampshire native’s breakout pro season after two cups of coffee with the Sabres over the last two years), the Bruins have multiple options when it comes to left-side options in his absence.

“Well we have [Matt] Beleskey and [Peter] Cehlarik and they’re both left shots, so we have options there,” said Cassidy, who has scratched Beleskey for three straight games and Cehlarik for one. “We’ll make that decision tomorrow.”

These things are always subject to change, especially under Cassidy, but it was Beleskey — who has played in just five of 12 games since Cassidy took over for Claude Julien — that appeared to get the first look in Schaller’s place, as he took the first rushes with Moore and Nash during Friday’s skate in Boston. It’s been a messy year for the 28-year-old Beleskey, who has tallied just two goals and seven points in 36 games this season, but his desire and work ethic to get back into action has always been there.

Added Cassidy: “Beleskey’s been working hard. He’s a guy that can help us.”

But Cassidy did not shut the door on the possibility of Cehlarik being the one to step into the lineup tomorrow.

“I think it was beneficial for [Cehlarik] to go upstairs and watch a game,” said Cassidy.

The 21-year-old Cehlarik has averaged over 14 minutes per game in his 10 NHL games — mainly played on a line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak — and has totaled two assists (both in the same game) and zero goals on eight shots on net.

“We’re not down on Peter. Like a lot of young guys, puck management is crucial,” Cassidy noted of Cehlarik’s struggles. “Just being heavier and harder around it, on it, at it against men is a learning curve and he’ll have to go through it.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Brad Marchand has put himself in the MVP discussion this season.</p>
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Drew Stafford scored his first goal with the Bruins on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Drew Stafford scored his first goal with the Bruins on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

I would make the case — and still believe — that Drew Stafford scored his first goal as a Bruin in his first game with the team.

The box score told a different story, however, as Stafford’s power-play, net-front putaway against Cory Schneider last Saturday was called back on a successful coach’s challenge from the Devils. It didn’t mean much, though, as Stafford had to wait just two games later to officially score his first goal in a B’s sweater when he went upstairs on Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau in the first period of Wednesday’s 6-1 win.

It was the highlight of a night that saw the 31-year-old finish with one goal, one assist, a plus-3, three shots, and three hits in 16:04, and came on a night spent on the left side of a B’s second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, the team’s uncontested best line in the win.

Moved from his natural right side to the left side of the Krejci line to create an all righty line for the Bruins — which is something that the club did back in 2008-09 with Krejci between Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler — Stafford didn’t miss a beat.

“He’s got a lot of composure with the puck, he can shoot or pass. Again, it was one game but I certainly liked what he did and he’s done it with [Ryan] Spooner and [Frank] Vatrano – he was very good on the other side it looks like,” B’s interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think we’ve got an offensive player who can play either side and that’s what we thought we were getting as well.”

The move from the right to the left didn’t come with a ton of noticeable issues for Stafford, who last played significant time on the left side on a line with Mark Schiefele at times with the Jets, and his fit with Krejci was impressive. It’s doubly impressive given the 31-year-old Stafford’s newness to the Bruins and how difficult some consider it to to play with Krejci because of his desire to slow the game down to a crawl with methodical passing and skating through the neutral zone.

“I thought he was great,” Krejci said. “He was making plays, good on the puck, strong on the forecheck – so, he was a good thing for our line. Playing for him on the left side – I know it’s not easy, he’s a right-handed guy. But, I thought he did a very good job.”

“We’ve wanted to try him on both sides at some point it just probably happened sooner than we thought,” admitted Cassidy. “It’s something that we will probably continue to tinker with to be completely honest with you. Obviously they were a good line tonight, I don’t want to get ahead of myself for Saturday but I’m sure we’ll keep them together all things being equal.”

But for the fuss made about moving from his strong side, Stafford created the skill of the players around him on that line.

“It’s not too hard. Those guys are great offensive players,” Stafford, who has three points in three games with the B’s, said. “You just try and make sure you’re smart with the puck, you’re taking care of it, and you’re executing with it. You’ll get your offense.”

Added Cassidy: “It’s nice to know he can move around.”

It’s even better to know that he can still contribute when moved around.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Drew Stafford scored his first goal with the Bruins on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Drew Stafford scored his first goal with the Bruins on Wednesday. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

I would make the case — and still believe — that Drew Stafford scored his first goal as a Bruin in his first game with the team.

The box score told a different story, however, as Stafford’s power-play, net-front putaway against Cory Schneider last Saturday was called back on a successful coach’s challenge from the Devils. It didn’t mean much, though, as Stafford had to wait just two games later to officially score his first goal in a B’s sweater when he went upstairs on Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau in the first period of Wednesday’s 6-1 win.

It was the highlight of a night that saw the 31-year-old finish with one goal, one assist, a plus-3, three shots, and three hits in 16:04, and came on a night spent on the left side of a B’s second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, the team’s uncontested best line in the win.

Moved from his natural right side to the left side of the Krejci line to create an all righty line for the Bruins — which is something that the club did back in 2008-09 with Krejci between Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler — Stafford didn’t miss a beat.

“He’s got a lot of composure with the puck, he can shoot or pass. Again, it was one game but I certainly liked what he did and he’s done it with [Ryan] Spooner and [Frank] Vatrano – he was very good on the other side it looks like,” B’s interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I think we’ve got an offensive player who can play either side and that’s what we thought we were getting as well.”

The move from the right to the left didn’t come with a ton of noticeable issues for Stafford, who last played significant time on the left side on a line with Mark Schiefele at times with the Jets, and his fit with Krejci was impressive. It’s doubly impressive given the 31-year-old Stafford’s newness to the Bruins and how difficult some consider it to to play with Krejci because of his desire to slow the game down to a crawl with methodical passing and skating through the neutral zone.

“I thought he was great,” Krejci said. “He was making plays, good on the puck, strong on the forecheck – so, he was a good thing for our line. Playing for him on the left side – I know it’s not easy, he’s a right-handed guy. But, I thought he did a very good job.”

“We’ve wanted to try him on both sides at some point it just probably happened sooner than we thought,” admitted Cassidy. “It’s something that we will probably continue to tinker with to be completely honest with you. Obviously they were a good line tonight, I don’t want to get ahead of myself for Saturday but I’m sure we’ll keep them together all things being equal.”

But for the fuss made about moving from his strong side, Stafford created the skill of the players around him on that line.

“It’s not too hard. Those guys are great offensive players,” Stafford, who has three points in three games with the B’s, said. “You just try and make sure you’re smart with the puck, you’re taking care of it, and you’re executing with it. You’ll get your offense.”

Added Cassidy: “It’s nice to know he can move around.”

It’s even better to know that he can still contribute when moved around.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

It’s hard to imagine that the Red Wings’ 25-year playoff streak is going to come to an end when this season finishes. Then you watch them play and you absolutely see why these Wings are not fit for postseason play.

Brad Marchand and the Bruins torched the visiting Red Wings on Wednesday night. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand and the Bruins torched the visiting Red Wings on Wednesday night. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It’s hard to imagine that the Red Wings’ 25-year playoff streak is going to come to an end when this season finishes. Then you watch them play and you absolutely see why these Wings are not fit for postseason play.

In Boston on the second leg of a back-to-back that began with last night’s 3-2 loss against the Maple Leafs, things did not get much better for the Wings, who allowed the Black and Gold to pummel three goals on starter-turned-early-exiter Jared Coreau on just eight shots and 13:32. Petr Mrazek wasn’t much of a relief, as he surrendered one goal on seven shots to finish the period, which closed with a 4-0 B’s edge.

By the end of 40, it was 5-1, and looked even less close than the four-goal lead would have indicated to the casual box score observer.

This was a game where the Bruins just straight-up smashed the opposition into submission for their ninth win in 12 games under Bruce Cassidy.

Which is exactly what should happen in these kind of games and in this situation for the Bruins.

Monday’s loss in Ottawa was a bit jarring for a number of reasons. Given the importance of the game for a Black and Gold club that’s chasing the Sens for second place in the Atlantic Division and with games in hand working against them, a 4-2 loss was not what you needed or wanted to see. Their inability to make changes to what made the Senators so dangerous against them in their prior head-to-head, which admittedly did come what feels like ages ago (on Thanksgiving night and under a different coach), was also more than concerning. But it would be how the Bruins responded in their next game that would be even more important.

In their first ‘slump’ under Cassidy (the Bruins entered play with losses in two of their last three games, a first during the Cassidy Era), the Bruins have hung their hats on the fact that they have been tremendous rebounders in the few losses under Cassidy. And those bounce-back games grow all the more important in the later stages of the season, especially with what’s become of this team against lesser competition in back-to-back stretch run meltdowns into ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

So needless to say, you loved when you saw the Bruins chase Coreau in the first period. But you knew it wasn’t enough. After all, this was largely the same Red Wings group that stormed back from an 0-3 lead and beat you in a shootout in Detroit last month. But seeing that lead balloon to five behind a Brad Marchand four-on-four breakaway goal allowed you to breathe easier, even when Detroit brought themselves back within four by the end of the second period, and let you snooze through the third period once David Pastrnak score a goal and tossed his broken stick into the Garden crowd for the cherry on top of a 6-1 final.

This is somewhat in line with what’s happened in games that have immediately followed a loss under Cassidy.

In what was their third contest right after a defeat, this win saw the Bruins improve to 3-0-0 in those situations. And while you’ll take the wins on their own, it’s the margins that have been straight-up dominant, with the Bruins outscoring the opposition in those games by a combined 13-to-4 mark. There’s also something to be said, believe it or not, for doing that against bad teams. These were the games that the Bruins consistently found ways to lose under Claude Julien, which created a snowball effect that mounted even more pressure on the team in the most stressful points of their season. Those teams, of course, crumbled.

But if the Bruins take care of the Bruins — which is something that has been preached by Cassidy again and again and something that they did at TD Garden against this hot garbage Wings team — then it’s hard to imagine that becoming an issue for this team.

The Bruins return to action on Saturday afternoon against the Flyers.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Drew Stafford will play on the left wing tonight for the Bruins. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Drew Stafford will play on the left wing tonight for the Bruins. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Acquired from the Jets less than a week ago, new Bruins winger Drew Stafford has probably yet to settle in off the ice. On the ice, although not as chaotic as packing a two-month suitcase, it’s not much different.

In 28:56 of total time on ice between two games, the 31-year-old Stafford has bounced around the lineup as Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy attempts to figure out his best fit. That bounce has landed Stafford on the B’s second line tonight as the left winger on a line with David Krejci at center and David Pastrnak on the right.

“We’ve discussed this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, and it didn’t certainly to Drew,” Cassidy said when asked about Stafford’s move from the right side to the left. “We talked about him maybe playing the left side and moving up the lineup, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Stafford has been a definite fit in Boston during his two-game sample in town, with 10 shots on goal (on 14 attempts), along with an assist and a power-play goal that maybe-probably-should-have counted but was overturned via a coach’s challenge.

And though the switch to the left side is not totally foreign to Stafford, who played the left wing on a line with Mark Schiefele during his time with the Jets, there’s still an adjustment that will need to be made for both No. 19 and Krejci.

“You play more on your backhand in certain situations, if there’s time and space in front of the defense, you get on your forehand, The challenge will be figuring that part of it out,” Cassidy informed the media when asked about putting Stafford, a righty, with two righties in Krejci and Pastrnak for tonight’s game. “And Krejci likes to play catch through the neutral zone in certain areas, so if he decides to go that route with Stafford he’s on his backhand. But I’ve seen a lot of dominant right lines, [Stafford] was on one in Winnipeg. We saw it here years ago with the Ryder-Wheeler-Krejci line. They were pretty good.”

Playing with Krejci is not always the easiest transition for a player to make, but a veteran of over 700 games, it’s fairly reasonable to expect the experienced Stafford to handle the task as well as anybody else on this current roster could.

“He definitely looks like he likes to pull up a little bit and hang onto the puck a little bit more,” said Stafford. “I’ve been playing against him for a long time, and I know he likes making some of those little saucer [pass] plays.

“We’ll figure out, they’re great players, so it should be easy.”

Stafford’s chance on the left side does come at the expense of Peter Cehlarik, though, who will sit as a healthy scratch.

“Offensively he still makes plays, he’s got some chances, he’s a little bit snakebit,” Cassidy said of Cehlarik. “If we’re sitting here and he had three or four goals, it might be a different conversation, but the facts are he doesn’t, even though the chances were there. If this were early in the year, you might let it play out a little longer, but it’s not, so we’re going to try Stafford.”

Cehlarik has two assists and eight shots on goal in 10 games with the Big B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask is expected in the B’s net. He took the loss in Monday’s 4-2 final to the Senators with 25 saves on 28 shots against, and comes into action with 30 wins (including six shutouts) and a .913 save percentage in 52 games this season. The 29-year-old Rask has eight wins and an .890 save percentage in 16 career games against the Red Wings.

This is the fourth and final meeting between the B’s and Wings this season.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes

Drew Stafford – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano – Austin Czarnik – Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller – Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Jimmy Hayes will return to action tonight. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)As it has so many times in just two seasons in his hometown, the numbers game has worked against Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes of late, with a healthy scratch designation to his name in two straight contests.

“You always gotta have a good attitude, but you don’t want to be taken out of the lineup,” admitted the 6-foot-5 Hayes, who has two goals and five points in 48 games this season. “Sometimes [the coaches] need to see what different combinations work, but you gotta keep your head up and be a good teammate and keep working hard.”

A healthy scratch 17 times this season, Hayes is used to this line of questioning by now, and there’s not much more that can be said.

But Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, who is not exactly one to let players rot in a press box as a permanent scratch, will give Hayes another crack tonight, as the big-bodied No. 11 is expected to skate on the right side of the club’s third line with Frank Vatrano and Austin Czarnik.

It’s the same line that Hayes was given a fresh start under Cassidy with — the lone change is that the 5-foot-9 Czarnik is now in over Ryan Spooner, who was diagnosed with a concussion on Tuesday — and one that Hayes felt had their moments.

“I felt like our line was creating some pretty chances offensively, so we gotta continue to bring that tonight.” Hayes said, “Being a bigger guy on the line, you gotta find ways to get to that net and put home pucks more. Obviously they haven’t been falling like the way I want them to fall this year. Hopefully I’ll get one off the foot, off the shinpad, I’ll take it however now.”

In nine games under Cassidy, Hayes recorded two assists, eight shots on goal, and chipped in with 13 hits. It’s production that could be better, of course,  but something the embattled in-again, out-again winger from Dorchester will take as a stepping stone.

“You just continue to build on it,” Hayes said. “You gotta find ways to produce.

“If you’re producing, you won’t be taken out of the lineup.”

That’s something Hayes knows all too well.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Austin Czarnik has been recalled by the Bruins and will play tonight vs. Detroit. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Austin Czarnik has been recalled by the Bruins and will play tonight vs. Detroit. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins had a number of in-house pivot options when Ryan Spooner was diagnosed with a concussion on Tuesday.

Between David Backes, Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, the Bruins are not short on centers currently playing on the wing. And with both of the high-priced Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes sitting as healthy scratches in recent games, this was almost expected to be the case.

Instead, the Bruins made a call to Providence, and recalled forward Austin Czarnik from the P-Bruins.

And it’s Czarnik — who has tallied one goal and five points in five AHL games since his assignment to the minors on Feb. 23 — who will immediately step right in for Spooner on the third line when the Bruins skate against the Red Wings at TD Garden.

In a (natural) position that Czarnik has seldom skated in this year, too.

Often utilized as a winger under Claude Julien, for whom Czarnik scored five goals and 13 points in 47 games with the Big B’s this season, Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy believes that Czarnik will be at his best in the middle. Cassidy would know, too, as that’s where Czarnik has been at his best in the past of his pro career, too, with incredible chemistry developed with Frank Vatrano (who will skate to his left, and Jimmy Hayes on the right tonight) last year in Providence.

“I’m comfortable in the middle, I think that’s where I’m supposed to be,” Czarnik said after the club’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena. “To be back with Frank is good, because we’ve had chemistry from the last two years.”

Back in Boston, Cassidy has outlined what Czarnik needs to do to become an adequate fill-in for the injured Spooner.

“When he’s playing his game, he has good energy, he’s on the puck, creates some turnovers with his foot speed, his stick, and hockey IQ,” Cassidy said today. “He’s making plays. He’s been good in situational hockey for us.”

The 51-year-old will throw Czarnik right back into the mix, too, as he’s expected to not only center the third line, but also skate on the B’s second power-play unit down low versus the point he manned earlier in the season, and will likely be utilized as a penalty-killer on the club’s third forward pairing, most likely with Schaller.

“He’s a smart guy. He’s got a good hockey IQ, he thinks the game well. It has to be one of his best assets,” Cassidy continued. “That and a high motor. We’ve talked about that. If he’s not playing with a high motor, his effectiveness will decrease. We’re expecting an energy guy who uses his quickness, he’s gotta use it, and he’s gotta use it all the time.”

The Bruins won’t have to worry about the latter, you’d imagine, as Czarnik has kept active during that five-game AHL run.

“Just getting in those games was important,” Czarnik said of his brief return to the minors, where he’s totaled 22 goals and 69 points in 75 games since the start of last season, which came after he was fully healed from a lower-body injury suffered Feb. 4. “Focusing on faceoffs, focusing on defensive zone, and I think over the last two weeks it’s gone well down there.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Patrice Bergeron's North End condo is officially on the market. (Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports)

Patrice Bergeron’s North End condo is officially on the market. (Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports)

He may not play for the city’s most popular team, but there’s no doubt that Patrice Bergeron is one of the city’s most decorated athletes.

Between a Stanley Cup, multiple Olympic Gold medals, a World Cup, and three Selke Trophy wins, everything Bergeron touches seems to turn to gold, and it has not gone unnoticed by those in the Hub.

If those awards and honors didn’t do enough to win you over, Bergeron’s numerous charitable endeavors — from the Patrice’s Pals suite at every home game to his Cuts For A Cause event held every year (Bergeron took that charity cause over from Bruins that either retired or left as free agents) — have earned Bergeron the St. Patrice moniker among Bruins fans. His other nickname (Perfect Patrice) should also give you an idea as to how much B’s fans love their top-line center.

Now what if I told you that you could live in the same condo as the 31-year-old Bergeron?

 

Has a “Shut up and take my money” meme ever been more relevant?

Well, for your sake, let’s just hope you have a lot of money. About $1.6 million, anyways.

Officially on the market, Bergeron’s North End condo was highlighted by Boston.com’s real estate section on Tuesday, with the cool price tag of $1.599 million. Located just blocks from TD Garden (and officially listed on Causeway St.), the 14-year-old unit is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury that comes complete with a perfect view of the Boston skyline.

There will be an open house on Friday Mar. 10 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday Mar. 11 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

(It is also probably worth noting that Bergeron does not come with the condo.)

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson