Patrice Bergeron feeling better, close to return

Patrice Bergeron will miss his sixth straight game tonight. But given the pace of Bergeron’s recovery, it’s a good bet the center will be back in uniform next week, perhaps as early as Monday against Ottawa.

Bergeron participated in the morning skate. During power-play drills, Bergeron served as a penalty killer.

“There’s no limitations anymore,” Bergeron said. “I can initiate contact and take contact and practice, obviously. Teammates always take it easy on you. But I feel fine. It’s good news that I’m cleared for that.”

Bergeron suffered his concussion on April 2 when he took an elbow from Ottawa’s Colin Greening. Doctors told Bergeron that Greening’s elbow struck him squarely enough – the impact was behind his left ear – to cause the concussion.

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Bergeron had headaches initially. But his symptoms cleared more quickly than when he suffered his previous concussion in the 2010-11 playoffs.

“I felt better quicker,” Bergeron said. “The symptoms went away quicker this time. I had some headaches the first day. The next day, I was fine. It was very encouraging. I’ve been asymptomatic for quite a while now since the injury. It’s really good news – working out, skating, pushing and shoving with guys, I feel fine. I’m feeling good and it’s positive.”

* Dougie Hamilton will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Hamilton will be back in the lineup on Monday, Claude Julien said. “Two games in a row almost allows him five days to get some good rest – close to a week,” Julien said. “I think that will make a big difference. We value him. He’s a good player. He’ll be back in our lineup next game. Rest is the only reason he’s been sitting out. It’s certainly not because of his play.”

* Milan Lucic was not part of either unit during power-play drills. Lucic was not on the power play on Thursday against the Islanders. Gregory Campbell and Jordan Caron served as the net-front men this morning.

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Tonight’s expected lineup:

Daniel Paille-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Milan Lucic-Gregory Campbell-Jaromir Jagr
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Kaspars Daugavins-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

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