Bruins

Jaroslav Halak gets starting nod for Bruins as they take on a goalie rotation

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File Photo

Jaroslav Halak gets starting nod for Bruins as they take on a goalie rotation

TORONTO – Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy admitted that it wasn’t an easy choice to make for a number of factors, but it will be Jaroslav Halak making the start for the B’s vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Monday night. Both Halak and Tuukka Rask have been outstanding as of late backstopping a B’s group beset by injuries, and Rask was very good in the Saturday night win over the Canadiens while stopping 31 of 33 shots and withstanding a third period barrage from the Habs in Montreal.

In fact, Rask has been excellent once again since the calendar moved to November, and is 2-1-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in five starts this month with a three-day personal leave of absence sprinkled in as well. It sounds like the Bruins may go with a traditional two-man goalie rotation moving forward and that Rask will play on Thursday at home against the New York Islanders.

“Halak is going [against Toronto] and we’ll worry about Thursday then, but I assume right now it will probably be Tuukka,” said Cassidy of the starter in Halak, who is 8-2-2 with a 1.98 goals against average and .939 save percentage this season while wresting playing time away from Rask. “Tuukka played great [in Montreal] and we went back and forth on it, but Halak has been good. So right now it’s almost more of a rotation, especially with the five games in eight days. We’re a little bit lighter at the end of the week, so we’ll look at it then.”

It’s certainly a tiny surprise that Rask isn’t getting the nod here, given his strong career numbers against the Maple Leafs after getting traded from there to Boston way back when.

But it’s also a good sign for the red-hot Rask, however, that he’s pushing for equal time consideration and could inevitably reclaim sole No. 1 goalie ownership when the expected cool streak arrives for Halak between the pipes.

In other Bruins lineup news, it looks like Anders Bjork will draw back into the lineup for the Bruins after a pair of healthy scratches and Sean Kuraly may end up being the odd man out. Here is the projected B’s lineup based on the morning skate in Toronto:

Marchand-JFK-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-DeBrusk

Bjork-Nordstrom-Acciari

Wagner-Cave-Backes

Moore-Miller

Krug-Clifton

Lauzon-Grzelcyk

Halak

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NHL Power Rankings: Supposed Atlantic Division powers struggling early

NHL Power Rankings: Supposed Atlantic Division powers struggling early

A season ago, the Atlantic Division featured three of the best teams in hockey, at least during the regular season: the Lightning, Bruins, and Maple Leafs.

But while the Bruins have shaken off a potential Stanley Cup Final hangover to pace the division this season, Tampa and Toronto have struggled out of the gate.

Neither team is above .500, and both find themselves out of the playoff picture through a quarter of the season.

While it's way too soon to tell if their struggles will continue, it's opened the door for some unexpected teams to make some waves in the standings.

Click here for Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings.>>>>

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Injured Bruins star Patrice Bergeron 'progressing well' with Sabres looming

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USA TODAY Sports

Injured Bruins star Patrice Bergeron 'progressing well' with Sabres looming

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has missed the last couple of games with a lower body injury, but he continues to track for a return very soon.

The 34-year-old center isn’t confirmed to suit up for Thursday night’s big divisional game against the Buffalo Sabres, but he skated during a lightly attended practice on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena with all signs pointing toward him playing.

But he’s “pretty close” according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, which he also was on Tuesday before ultimately sitting out a second straight game after tweaking a lower body issue in the weekend win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Both Bergeron and Torey Krug skated the morning after Boston pulled out a 5-1 road win over the New Jersey Devils, but Krug isn’t expected to return from his injury until the weekend. Bergeron was scratched from Tuesday night’s game in Jersey after he didn’t suit up for warm-ups, but he’s skated two days in a row.

“I’m feeling better. It’s progressing well. Today was a pretty good skate, so I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron, who has eight goals and 19 points in 19 games played this season after a slow ramp-up in training camp following groin issues that dogged him for most of the summer. “It’s a minor issue, but we want to make sure it doesn’t linger for too long. So, we’re being cautious and making sure it’s 100 percent before I get back out there.”

The Bruins did well in Bergeron’s absence on Tuesday with David Krejci racking up two assists and a plus-3 rating while centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and Charlie Coyle ably stepping in for Bergeron at the bumper position on the top power play unit.

HAGGERTY: Ranking the NHL's Top 10 right wings>>>>>

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