OTTAWA Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Senators by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at Scotiabank Place.
1) The Bs third line takes advantage of Filip Kuba caught deep in the neutral zone, and turns it into a 2-on-1 with Erik Karlsson fruitlessly waving at the puck. Thats exactly how the Bruins are going to attack Ottawa in a playoff series. Simply hammer away at that defensive pairing and make them pay for the risks they take in the offensive zone. Its the reason the Bruins have so much success against the Senators.
2) A 17-save first period for Anton Khudobin, who has looked very good against the Senators. Ottawa had some pretty good chances, but Khudobin has looked versatile while making every save in the book. His quiet stop on an Erik Karlsson blast from the high slot through traffic and his stuff of Daniel Alfredsson on an inside-the-post try sit as his best in the first 20 minutes.
3) Benoit Pouliot with 16 goals on the season after his first period strike and it appears that the gifted winger is playing his best hockey of the season when it matters most. Hes also just one goal scored away from matching his career-high. The 1.1 million contract Peter Chiarelli signed him to has worked out very well for the Black and Gold.
4) Its Who-dobin for those that havent been paying attention to the Kazakhstan pronunciation experts among us. The potential for great headlines with his last name is off the charts.
5) A relatively calm first period between the two teams. Looks like they might be taking it easy on each other with a rugged seven-game series potentially around the corner.
BRIGHTON -- It was good news when word first filtered out that David Backes had resumed skating last weekend while the Bruins were on the West Coast, and even better news Tuesday when he returned to practice. Backes skated without any restrictions in a spot on the third line with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, and appeared to be recovering nicely from his bout of diverticulitis.
Backes was initially diagnosed with the inflammatory colon ailment in the first few days of October, with the team estimating a three- to four-week recovery period. If he'd needed surgery rather than the prescribed rest and medication, he could have been facing a lot more missed games.
Patrice Bergeron was also back skating on Tuesday morning while centering Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork, still sporting a maroon no-contact jersey while taking some light contact during the practice session.
Backes and Bergeron look like they’ could be returning to the lineup soon.
But the injury news wasn't all good, as Ryan Spooner, Austin Czarnik, Danton Heinen and Adam McQuaid were all missing from practice.
Spooner (lower body) and McQuaid (lower body) were both injured in Sunday night’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and Czarnik and/or Heinen might be ticketed back to Providence soon if the Bruins have to make roster space for Bergeron and/or Backes ahead of Thursday night’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with a whole different look to things with some of the different bodies taking part in the skate: