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Seidenberg sits out

Infected cut leads to first absence

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / March 30, 2012
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Dennis Seidenberg was one of three Bruins hopefuls to play in every game this season. Now, only Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly will have the opportunity to dress in 82 regular-season games.

Seidenberg missed his first game of the season Thursday night because of an infected cut on his leg. He is on antibiotics and considered day-to-day.

Seidenberg suffered the cut during last Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Kings when he was nicked by a skate blade. Doctors stitched the cut and Seidenberg completed the game. Seidenberg also played in games against the Ducks and Lightning without issues.

“Hopefully, we’ll have him the next game,’’ said coach Claude Julien.

Seidenberg (4-18-22 in 76 games) has been submitting some of his best performances recently.

On March 17 against the Flyers, Seidenberg was reunited with postseason partner Zdeno Chara. The Bruins went 5-1-0 with Chara and Seidenberg serving as a shutdown duo. Seidenberg scored his fourth goal of the season in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Lightning.

Joe Corvo replaced Seidenberg in the lineup Thursday night for a 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals after being a healthy scratch for six straight games. Corvo became the odd man out partly because of his so-so defensive play, and also because the Bruins wanted another left-shot defenseman in the mix. Greg Zanon has been paired with Adam McQuaid.

Corvo last played March 13 in the team’s 6-2 loss to the Panthers, scoring his fourth goal of the season. But Corvo was also on the ice for three opposition goals. One of Corvo’s biggest weaknesses has been down-low coverage, particularly when forwards come out of the corner and head for the net-front real estate.

“When we work with him, it’s more about working in the corners, battling, not getting beat back to the front of the net, and those kinds of things in tight around the net-front area,’’ Julien said before the game.

“The other part of his game has been good. He’s as mobile as any defenseman we have here. Probably one of the best. He skates the puck up the ice well also. He’s got a lot of good assets to his game. The fact that he was pulled out when we weren’t going well, I know a lot of people have assumed he’s the one that was the weak link. He wasn’t. Hopefully, he gets an opportunity to show that tonight.’’

Corvo skated with Zanon on the third pairing prior to McQuaid’s injury. Corvo played 20:03 and was not on the ice for any of the four goals.

“The game shrinks down for you,’’ Corvo said of resuming play after being scratched for six games. “You tend focus a lot more on each shift. You end up playing a little better and a little tighter. That’s what I felt. I felt like my head was in the game for the whole time, because you don’t want to give anybody a reason to take you out of the lineup when you get a chance.’’

This is the second time in the last three years that Seidenberg has suffered a cut via skate blade late in the season. On April 3, 2010, he suffered a season-ending injury in Toronto when Nikolai Kulemin’s blade sliced a tendon in Seidenberg’s forearm. Seidenberg underwent surgery three days later.

Khudobin close

The Bruins will likely recall goalie Anton Khudobin from Providence next week. Assuming Tuukka Rask (groin/abdomen strain) will not be ready for the start of the playoffs, Khudobin will be Tim Thomas’s backup for Game 1 of the first round.

Khudobin would have been promoted after Rask’s injury March 3, but was on the shelf because of a wrist injury.

Khudobin made two starts for Providence last weekend, winning both. He is 21-17-3 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Marty Turco is not eligible for postseason play. On Thursday, Turco debuted his new mask, which has a spoked-B on the left cheek. He broke in gold pads, blocker, and glove during last week’s West Coast trip.

Julien didn’t know whether Turco will remain with the club during the playoffs for practice purposes.

Job opportunity?

The Canadiens fired general manager Pierre Gauthier on Thursday. Ex-GM Bob Gainey, who had been advising Gauthier, is also out. Former GM Serge Savard has joined the organization as an adviser. Savard will assist in the search for Gauthier’s replacement.

Jim Benning and Don Sweeney, assistants to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, could merit consideration. Chiarelli said he would allow permission for both to be interviewed and would not stand in their way if hired.

Neither Benning nor Sweeney is fluent in French; the Canadiens would prefer to hire a bilingual GM.

Horton working

Nathan Horton (concussion) is unlikely to be ready for the start of the playoffs. However, Horton is continuing to perform off-ice workouts. There is no timetable as to when he might resume skating. Horton missed his 31st straight game on Thursday . . . Mike Mottau, Daniel Paille, and Torey Krug were the healthy scratches . . . If McQuaid has to miss games because of his injury and Seidenberg requires more time to heal, Mottau could play on Saturday against the Islanders, his former club. Mottau has been scratched for nine straight games . . . David Krejci won 11 of 13 faceoffs . . . Seventeen of the Bruins showed off their haircuts. They had their locks trimmed on Wednesday to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center . . . The Bruins will have their annual team picture on Friday morning at TD Garden.

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