By Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff WILMINGTON
"The Bruins concluded their first practice at Ristuccia Arena without Zdeno Chara. The captain will not play Thursday against St. Louis or on Saturday against Ottawa. Chara was scheduled to depart today for Sochi, where he will take part in the Olympics opening ceremony.
With Chara absent, the Bruins will look to their baby-faced defense to support Tuukka Rask against the Blues. “We’re looking forward to seeing those guys with a little more responsibility than when Z’s around,” coach Claude Julien said. “You don’t win hockey games with just one player. We know one player can make a difference. But at the end of the night, when you look at the game, it’s about the whole team. Right now, we’ve got to go into this game tomorrow and the game on Saturday knowing we have to play a real good team game.”
The next challenge will be the Blues in St. Louis tomorrow night.Boston put up a fight back on November 21, in their eventual 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis at TD Garden. "Both teams could have walked out of here and said, ‘You know what, hard-fought game,’ and both teams would have been happy," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had said following the game. "They're a tough team, they're doing very well this year," said blueliner Kevan Miller, who made his NHL debut in that game.
The Blues are tied for third in the league with Pittsburgh (80 points), just behind Chicago and Anaheim. If the Bruins are a measuring stick from the East, the Blues are the same in the West. "We just need to be ready to go tomorrow; we've been playing pretty well lately. I know they don't give up very many goals, so we need to do a good job in our defensive zone as well," said Miller.
Matt Bartkowski and Johnny Boychuk will be the No. 1 pairing. Here is the rest of today’s practice lineup:
PP1: Krug, Warsofsky, Lucic, Krejci, Iginla.
PP2: Hamilton, Smith, Bergeron, Eriksson, Soderberg."
Haven't seen if Tuukka was 1st goalie off from the Bruins twitter morning skate tweet yet. I'm going to guess he gets the start then Johnson goes against Ottawa on Saturday.
Warsofsky moves the puck well on the PP. So Lucic will probably take Chara's spot in front of the net on the 1st PP unit. Blues games are always hard fought.