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Are Flyers at a defensive disadvantage?

05.03.2010 / 4:25 p.m. ET

An interesting point was brought up at the afternoon press conference for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on Monday.

Like it or not, each player on the Flyers defensive corps offers a left-handed shot, including healthy scratches Oskars Bartulis and Danny Syvret. Laviolette was asked if the mobility of his defense makes up for not having a righty along the blue line.

"I think that there are definitely advantages to having a right-handed defenseman," he said. "It doesn't seem to be an issue for us. I think sometimes with puck movement in the offensive zone and trying to get shots off in the neutral zone and you're trying to move the puck up ice and you slide pucks side to side to get it outside of the checkers that are coming at you, but it hasn't seemed to be a problem for us.

"We have moved the puck pretty good," Laviolette continued. "We need to control it a lot better (in Game 2) than we did last game from a breakout point of view and a neutral zone point of view. We're certainly happy with our defense and the people we have in there. It just so happens that there are no right shots."

The Bruins, by the way, have three right-handed shots along the blue line. They include Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Wideman and Andy McQuaid.

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers look focused for Game 2

05.03.2010 / 2:06 p.m. ET

Not that the Boston Bruins weren't chomping at the bit to grab a 2-0 series lead, but the Philadelphia Flyers appeared confident and determined following their afternoon skate at TD Garden on Monday in preparation for Game 2.

There's good reason to believe the Flyers will tighten things up in their end in the opening 20 minutes this time around. Unlike Game 1, when the club was coming off an eight-day layoff following its five-game elimination of the Devils and fell behind, 2-0.

"There are certainly things that you review now that your team has been set up to play the Bruins from before the series," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think you go back and you think about the game. You watch it again and I definitely think that there are areas that you can improve on and you can be better at and we will certainly try and do that tonight."

Flyers captain Mike Richards feels his team will respond on Monday.

"I think in the last game, we were slapping the puck around, we weren't putting it on each other's tape and when we play that slap-hockey you seem to be chasing it a lot," Richards said. "So as long as we put it on each other's tape, we can generate more pressure."

And Flyers defenseman Matt Carle was also optimistic.

"I think as (Game 1) went on, we got better but we did get out-chanced and outshot in overtime but battled back," Carle said. "There were some positives that we can build on and we'll look to do that in Game 2. We're a 5-man unit out there, and we need to be more aggressive on the walls and keep pucks alive in the offensive zone to create chances."

--Mike G. Morreale

Sturm speaks

05.03.2010 / 1:49 PM ET

Boston Bruins left wing Marco Sturm was hurt 21 seconds into Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday at TD Garden.

It was a crushing blow for Sturm, who was in a scoring drought after leading his team with 22 goals this season. He was held without a point in the six-game Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Buffalo Sabres. Sturm tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee Saturday. He missed the second half of last season after suffering the same injury in his left leg. Sturm missed six games with a leg injury in January. He scored seven goals after he returned but only one in the final 22 games. He said Saturday's injury was unrelated to anything in the past.

Sturm spoke with the media after Monday morning's practice:

Q: What do you remember about the injury Saturday?

Sturm: I tried to hit him and it happened right away when I started to push from my right leg to hit him. I got caught or something like that and I know my knee twisted just a little bit. I could hear right away the big pop. And I heard it again before, and I knew it right away that it’s going to be the same thing.

Q: You know how tough the rehabilitation was last year. Are you prepared to go through that again?

Sturm: Yeah, I mean that’s going to be the toughest challenge here. The last one I didn’t know what to expect so I just went at it. I was around all season with the boys and that helped me a lot. This time I know how hard it was, rehab and all that. It’s a lot of work. And I don’t know. Right now, I’m just still rattled. But I will come back, I know. I just got to be patient. I got my family to support me, I got my family at home, so we’ll see. It will be hard, definitely, but again, I know what to expect now and I just want to try to do the best I can.

Q: Are you planning to go through rehab in Boston or in Germany?

Sturm: I don’t know yet. I’m definitely going to have Dr. [Peter] Asnis, Dr. [Thomas] Gill, who’s going to do surgery again. That’s for sure, I’m going to have it here. But I don’t know how long I’m going to stay here or if I’m going to even go back home. It’s a lot of questions I don’t know and we just have to wait and see.

Q: Was there a problem in your right leg before Saturday's injury?

Sturm: No, not at all. It was healthy and stiff as a rock before. Especially when you injured the other one, my right one even got stronger, I think, because I had to do a lot of things with my right leg. It’s one of those things, you kind of get caught and if you put your whole weight on that one leg, it just took a little bit, a little twist, and that was it.

Q: Are you planning to delay the ACL surgery until the MCL heals?

Sturm: Yes. These guys, they didn’t do it, but it’s acting like (New England Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady. Same thing. But he decided to go to another doctor. And he did it too early, because the MCL wasn’t healed. So you got to get it healed first and then do the surgery. So it could be a while.

-- John McGourty

Thornton in? Bruins' lines from skate

05.03.2010 / 10:59 AM ET

The Boston Bruins are skating here at TD Garden in preparation for Game 2 tonight against the Flyers.

Here are the line combos. Don't forget, Marco Sturm is done for the year with a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee. It looks as if Bruins agitator Shawn Thornton will be making his debut in this series Monday -- I'm sure that'll get the home fans going.

Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi

Marc Savard-Vladimir Sobotka-Michael Ryder

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miroslav Satan

Blake Wheeler-Steve Begin-Shawn Thornton

Defenseman Mark Stuart, who hasn't seen any action in the playoffs due to an infected left hand, was skating and skating well. So, we'll see what the defense pairings look like following coach Claude Julien's morning press conference.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Bruins on the ice for pregame skate

05.03.2010 / 10:54 AM ET

The Boston Bruins are skating here at TD Garden in preparation for Monday night's Game 2 against the Flyers.

Here are the line combos. Don't forget, Marco Sturm is done for the year with a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee. It looks as if Bruins agitator Shawn Thornton will be making his debut in this series on Friday -- I'm sure that'll get the home fans going.

Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi

Marc Savard-Vlad Sobotka-Michael Ryder

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miro Satan

Blake Wheeler-Steve Begin-Shawn Thornton

Defenseman Mark Stuart, who hasn't seen any action in the playoffs with a left hand infection, was skating and skating well. So, we'll see what the defense pairings look like following coach Julien's morning press conference.

--Mike G. Morreale and John McGourty

Mutual respect between former coach and player

05.03.2010 / 12:32 AM ET

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Boston Bruins veteran forward Mark Recchi share a common bond -- a Stanley Cup title.

Recchi played for Laviolette in Carolina when the Hurricanes made their incredible run through the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Recchi, a trade-deadline acquisition along with Doug Weight, would produce 7 goals and 16 points in 25 games with the 'Canes that postseason. The team would eventually win a seven-game series with the Edmonton Oilers to garner the Cup.

Recchi was asked about Laviolette following practice on Sunday.

"He knows how to play the game, is very smart and plays a very up-tempo," Recchi said. "I knew it would take some time to catch up with his pace. He believes in up tempo and movement and four guys up in the play and guys on attack and skating. When (the Flyers) caught up, they became a better team. Their practices are high tempo and have good flow and you have to be ready to go.

"In Carolina, it took me a little while to catch up to the pace of the players but once I did, I felt great," he added. "He's a terrific coach and he makes great adjustments and plays very well. I really enjoyed my time with him."

For Laviolette, the feeling was mutual. Although Laviolette did admit some surprise that the 42-year-old veteran of 21 NHL seasons is still having such a major impact in the game.

"I'm a little surprise he's still doing well because as players get older, you start to think about retirement," he said. "In that way, it's surprising that he can be a contributing factor but, honestly, it shouldn't surprise me because he's in great shape, loves the game and plays with passion.

"Mark Recchi is one of those players who's capable and has a skill set that allows him to be an effective player and make a difference in a game," he said. "I really enjoyed working with Mark. I thought he was a big factor with Doug Weight at the trade deadline, and our push toward winning a Cup and, outside the fact it's still going on for him, it shouldn't surprise me because he's a very good hockey player."

--Mike G. Morreale

Game 1 left Savard optimistic

05.02.2010 / 6:50 p.m. ET

Marc Savard played 15 minutes and 16 seconds in Game 1, his first action since suffering a March 7 concussion. Savard had only two shots on net, one the game-winner in overtime.

He wasn't a big factor in the game until he sealed the outcome. He described some of his early shifts as "just going out there and doing some small circles."

Savard said his fitness still needs to improve, but that his head felt fine. He talked to the media Sunday morning at TD Garden.

Q: Were you encouraged by your performance in Game 1?

Savard: It was a bit of a confidence-builder, helped me get along a little quicker, but it's going to be tough again. I'm going to still keep (my shifts) short, just keep working hard and keep getting better each game.

Q: Players in your situation, in the past, have said the second game back is harder than the first, when you may run on adrenaline and emotion, which you mentioned after Game 1. Is the second game a concern for you?

Savard: Stay excited. It's playoff time and our crowd has been great, so I don't think I'll have a problem with that. I'm just going to take it a day at a time and be ready to go.

Q: Coach Claude Julien used you judiciously throughout the game, giving you more ice time in the third period and overtime, and moving you to wing late in the game. Do you expect to be used that way again?

Savard: I think so. I felt fresh and that's why I think I had more energy in overtime. Like I said, keep it short. We had some rest today and that was good.

Q: A lot of people think this will be a long series. Is that what you expect?

Savard: Yes. Both teams never give up. I think both of us have the same motto from that standpoint. It's going to be a tough series, and we knew that going into it. Who knows how long it will go, but we expect a tough series.

Q: You said you were giving the fans a gift when you threw your stick into the crowd after your game-winning goal. Why did you do that?

Savard: Because they were great all night. They were cheering us on all night and I was thinking maybe it was one of those guys, so I did that. It was nice they threw it back but too bad they didn't keep it. It was a reaction, I guess. Fans have been great to me whether it was at the mall or at a restaurant, things like that. They've always been great to me and, obviously, last night was a special night. I put the stick away. It's done.

Q: Marco Sturm is obviously a big loss to your team. How will it impact the Bruins?

Savard: 'Sturmie' brings a lot to our hockey team. He has a lot of speed and he was our top goal scorer this year. He's a great penalty killer and a fierce guy. He works every time. He's certainly going to be missed and I'm going to try to fill that void.

Q: You were OK on the power play in Game 1, five wins and seven losses, 42 percent, but you're often dominant. Were you comfortable and did you come away with expectations of doing better?

Savard: I've been trying to work on it at practice a lot. A couple of times, I felt pretty good. There were some tight losses too so I could have come out even. It's something I've got to build on and be prepared for every time.

-- John McGourty

Sturm may be gone

05.01.2010 / 11:20 p.m. ET

Boston may be without forward Marco Sturm for the rest of its playoff journey this spring.

Sturm left Game 1 on Saturday at the 21-second mark when he tried to hit Flyers defenseman Matt Carle along the boards. He had to be helped to his feet, left the ice with an apparent leg injury and didn't return.

NESN's James Murphy (also an NHL.com correspondent), citing a source, reports that Sturm won't be back for rest of the playoffs. The team hasn't said anything yet. Coach Claude Julien had no comment on Sturm's status during his postgame media conference and said the team would know more on Sunday.

--John Kreiser

Savard puts exclamation point on Game 1 triumph

04.01.2010 / 10:45 p.m. ET

If you're a fan of the Boston Bruins, endings don't come much sweeter than Saturday afternoon's 5-4 overtime verdict over the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. Marc Savard made his long-awaited return to the lineup -- after missing the last 24 games -- and scored the OT game-winner.

Here are some stories filed after Saturday's contest in case you missed them.

Game recap

Savard caps storybook finish

Brian Boucher stars in defeat

What's next?

The Bruins will likely provide some information on the status of forward Marco Sturm, who exited Game 1 in the opening minute with an apparent leg injury.

So the Bruins take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Monday. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the Flyers actually have their legs in the opening 20 minutes of the first period. They were dominated by the Bruins on Saturday and it showed when they fell behind, 2-0.

But Philadelphia, to their credit, did rebound and play with renewed vigor in the second and third periods before losing some of its luster in the overtime when the Bruins outshot the Flyers, 15-4.

Despite the fact Flyers goalie Brian Boucher was magnificent, Bruins forward Mark Recchi knew it was just a matter of time. After all, they eventually solved Buffalo keeper Ryan Miller -- the best goalie in the world.

"We don't get frustrated," Recchi said. "We've been through this all year when we've just been in close games so there's no sense in getting frustrated. We showed it against (Ryan) Miller, we just stay with it, and stay with it. That's what we have to do. We have to keep playing our game and there's no sense in worrying about it. Boucher is going to make great saves and they're going to make good plays defensively and you got to make sure you just keep on playing relentless and doing the same thing.

"Like I said, it's going to make for a heck of a series."

--Mike G. Morreale

McQuaid paid for his mistakes

05.01.2010 / 7:15 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid, who is seeing a lot of playing time due to the injuries to defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart, played very well in the series against the Buffalo Sabres. But he took a couple of penalties Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers that cost him team a goal -- and cost him some ice time.

McQuaid was called for hooking at 15:20 of the second period. Twenty-eight seconds later, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger fired a shot from the point past goalie Tuukka Rask that drew the Flyers within 3-2.

On his next shift, McQuaid was called for interference, taxing the Bruins' penalty-killers. McQuaid had a quick seven-second shift in the final minute of the second period and a three-second shift after four minutes of the third period. But that was it: Only 10 seconds of ice time following back-to-back penalties.

His absence seemed to take a toll on the Bruins as they were outshot 13-10 in the third period and surrendered two goals. The Bruins were effectively short two players because forward Marco Sturm was hurt on his first shift of the game and didn't return.

Bruins coach Claude Julien relented in overtime, playing McQuaid 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

"Obviously, being in my situation, I've got to make sure that I'm staying out of the box," McQuaid said after the game. "We were lucky enough to kill the second one off and I'm happy that we won because it looked pretty bad on my part to take a few penalties and turn the game around.

"... The guys were really supportive and told me to put it behind me and move forward. They went out and did the job killing the second penalty."

McQuaid said the second penalty was an accident.

"(Andrew Ference) was behind the net and I was watching him and I was telling him to wheel," McQuaid said. "I was looking at the net. I turned and (Danny) Briere was right there and we collided. I guess they figured I meant to do it. I just saw him at the very last second."

-- John McGourty

Marco Sturm leaves game with lower body injury | WATCH

05.01.2010 / 1:05 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm left the game in the opening minute of the first period with an apparent leg injury after attempting to hit Flyers defenseman Matt Carle in the Philadelphia end.

Sturm remained on one knee in front of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, unable to move, for almost a full minute before finally being helped off the ice. Sturm was injured just 21 seconds into the contest after a seemingly harmless collision along the half-boards in the Flyers' end.

He's doubtful to return to the game. No word yet on the extent of the injury. Sturm led the Bruins with 22 goals in the regular season. He was pointless in six playoff games.

--Mike G. Morreale

Roach Warriors

04.30.2010 / 12:21 p.m. ET

Believe it or not, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards has never experienced the thrill of beginning a Stanley Cup Playoff series on home ice.

And, really, perhaps it doesn't make much of a difference since the Flyers' center is actually 4-2 in playoff series over his five-season career.

Nothing's going to change on Saturday either when the Flyers open their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

In his rookie season in 2005-06, the Flyers opened their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round matchup in Buffalo and dropped a disheartening 3-2 double-overtime decision en route to a six-game series setback. When Philadelphia returned to the playoffs two years later in 2008, Richards opened in Washington in the conference quarterfinal round, Montreal in the semis and Pittsburgh in the East Final. Last season, it was Pittsburgh in the conference quarters and, this season, New Jersey and now, Boston.

Richards had a team-leading 8 points against the Devils in his team's five-game series triumph in the opening round.

Richards touched on a few topics following his team's morning skate at their facility in Voorhees, N.J., on Friday before hopping on a plane to Boston with his teammates.

Q: Mike, I know we talked about it in the first round, but how imperative is it, going into this series, and knowing the way that Boston plays, to be disciplined, not commit penalties that you guys were called for in that first round?

"I think it's important in any series, but I think they get a lot of momentum after power plays. (They've) got a great power play and, like I said before, it wears the bodies down if you keep taking penalties, and keep having the same guys out there killing and blocking shots."

Q: Were you impressed with the way that you guys, from a discipline standpoint, were you able to handle yourselves against the Devils?

"From a discipline standpoint? No…had a lot of composure with some of the penalties, didn't let them affect us but we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. Obviously (we) didn't do a great job of that last series, but as our penalty killers …we won't have to kill as many."

Q: Do you like starting a series on the road? Some people kind of like it, so it's less pressure sometimes.

"Yeah, I don't mind it. It's always nice to play at home, but I don't mind starting on the road. I think, especially with a long playoff, it's always tough to kind of start at home. On the road, I think you go and kind of have more time to prepare maybe, or kind of get in the game a little bit before tonight. When you get there, you’re already focusing on the game."

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins coach talks defensive adjustment

04.01.2010 / 12:11 p.m. ET

Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked prior to the game how his team thin defensive corps was going to handle Philadelphia's physicality down low in the trenches -- both Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart.

"We've been dealing with that for about a month now, since those two guys got hurt and we have had to use more those (other) players," Julien admitted. "It hasn't been an issue so I don't know why we should be looking at it as an issue again. Guys know what to do. they want to stay out of the box. We have to stick together. It's the same old cliche as you hear every day so, again, it's no big deal for me and we will deal with it the way we have dealt with it so far and it it becomes more of an issue, then we will make the adjustment."

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins excited to get Savard back in the mix

04.01.2010 / 11:36 a.m. ET

The Bruins are pretty excited to be playing in front of their home fans in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal about to take place here at TD Garden.

A few of the players spoke to the media prior to face-off and admitted how great it was to see center Marc Savard gearing up in the locker room for the first time in 25 games, including all six of Boston's opening-round series against the Sabres.

"Everyone is excited to have him back, he brings that type of play that nobody else on our team can and brings that confidence in our team and that'll be a big boost," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "I think it's just playoffs that brings it out in you. Win or go home and we get excited every game."

Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who is usually paired with captain Zdeno Chara, agreed.

"(Savard) settles the locker room down quite a bit and is a great power-play guy," Boychuk said. "He can make passes they I could never dream about making, so it'll help out tremendously."

Savard sat out the final 18 regular-season games and six playoff contests with a concussion after suffering a concussion on March 7 in Pittsburgh. He had led the Bruins in assists and points each of the past three seasons but had just 10 goals and 23 assists in 41 games this campaign. Savard had 6 goals and 13 points in 11 playoff games in 2008-09.

--Mike G. Morreale

Who's the favorite?

05.01.2010 / 8:25 a.m. ET

It appears as though both the Bruins and Flyers would prefer playing the underdog role rather than being considered the favorite in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series that commences Saturday at TD Garden.

And why wouldn't they. The us-against-the-world mentality seems to be working like a charm.

"Everyone had us as the underdogs going into the playoffs, and now we're favorites," said Bruins forward Marco Sturm. "But we need to take the same approach we had going into the first round. We have to play with confidence and be confident, but we can't think of ourselves as favorites."

The sixth-seeded Bruins upset the third-seeded Buffalo Sabres in the opening round in six games. The seventh-seeded Flyers, who needed a shootout victory over the New York Rangers on the last day of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs, became the first team to win a first-round series when they beat the second-seeded Devils in five games.

"I guess you consider us the favorites because of how we're seeded, but I see two evenly matched teams," said Boston's Daniel Paille. "It's going to come down to who wants it more."

Actually, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said his team would be comfortable assuming any role.

"I don't know if (playing as an underdog) is more comfortable," Pronger said. "Certainly you could look at it as less pressure or look at it as we have higher expectations than being an underdog. That means no one is picking you to win, which is not good. Injuries aren't an excuse we should be using or looking for. You can look at those as excuses but at the end of the day, you have to play the game hard and play the game well no matter who's in the lineup. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs, it's not exhibition."

--Mike G. Morreale

Blair betting on 'special' series

04.30.2010 / 10:50 pm ET

While the loss of forward Ian Laperriere to the Flyers lineup creates a huge void on the team's penalty-killing unit, Blair Betts knows that just means others will have to pick up the slack.

"Penalty kill will be as big a part of this series as any series," Betts said. "They got some guys over there that can fire the puck on their power-play, and obviously some good offensive players who our penalty kill's going to need to be great (against). Our power play was really successful against the Devils, and I think that was a big part of the reason why we won that series. We're going to be looking for that as well."

How evenly matched are these rivals on specialty teams -- the Flyers enter Saturday's opening-game tilt hitting at a 27.6 percent efficiency (8-of-29) with the man advantage and the Bruins are at 27.3 percent (6-of-22).

The Bruins have yet to allow a power-play goal in the playoffs in 19 times shorthanded. The Flyers have killed 19-of-23 opportunities (82.6 percent).

"If you look at the teams that got bounced, Washington I think was 1-for-33; Buffalo was 0-for," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. "So (special teams) are very important. Your penalty-kill is just as important as the power-play but you need your power play to put a dagger in them when you get the chance, because it sends a message that if you want to take penalties we'll just score on the power play and make you pay for it. So, get enough to make the power play start rolling and making sure that we're playing more disciplined than we did in that first series is going to be critical for us."

--Mike G. Morreale

Familiar scenario for Pronger

04.30.2010 / 10:18 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger has gone seven days between playoff rounds but never eight.

That's the situation he'll be in when the puck finally drops Saturday at TD Garden when the Flyers face the Boston Bruins in the series opener of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. The Flyers eliminated the New Jersey Devils in the opening round last Thursday.

Pronger last experienced a long layoff during the 2006 Playoffs as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. After his team knocked off Anahem in five games in the Western Conference Final on May 27, the club was forced to wait for the completion of the Carolina-Buffalo series, which lasted seven games before coming to an end on June 1.

The Stanley Cup Final began June 5.

"The last time I had this long a layoff was going into the Stanley Cup Final against Carolina with Edmonton and everybody was waiting to see how we were going to come out in Game 1," Pronger recalled. "They were saying, 'You're not going to be game ready, you're not going to be.' I think you make what you can with it. We have to focus on the start and be prepared. We've had good practices and have focused on key areas that will be important in the series so I think we'll be OK."

"I think you wonder and worry about everything," coach Peter Laviolette said. "All I can tell you is, I liked (Friday's) practice -- the energy, the competitiveness, the jump. It's different then, say, the Olympic break because all our guys are here. They're working hard. There's eight teams playing for the Stanley Cup so there's a lot of excitement."

--Mike G. Morreale

Stuart starts skating

04.30.2010 / 3:53 PM ET

Don Cherry might put it this way: Don't punch opponents in the helmet, kids. Mark Stuart would back him up.

Stuart scuffled with Los Angeles Kings forward Wayne Simmonds on Jan. 30 and missed seven games because he broke a pinkie finger. Stuart returned to the lineup March 2 but the finger continued to give him problems. It was then that doctors realized he had a serious infection. He hasn't played since April 1.

Stuart was given approval to resume skating and hit the ice for the first time since then Thursday. He skated again Friday, after his teammates were done with practice. Stuart also spoke briefly to the media Friday.

"Yesterday was my first day and I'm excited," he said. "It felt good to get back out on the ice. It's been tough, a roller coaster these last few months, but we're still playing and I'm still holding onto hope that I have a chance to get back out there."

Stuart, who Boston chose with the 21st pick of the 2003 Entry Draft, has matured into a top-four defenseman, but he had a tough season. He missed 14 games, including the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, when he suffered a sternum injury in December. He played only seven games before cracking his pinkie on Simmonds' helmet.

Stuart had 2 goals, 7 points and a plus-1 rating in 56 games this season.

The Bruins are skating with two of their top defensemen out of the lineup. Dennis Seidenberg is done for the season after severing an arm tendon. Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid have stepped into the lineup and done a good job, but the Bruins would be a better team with a healthy Stuart, one of the League's strongest defensemen, on the ice.

"It's been really frustrating. The timetable has changed quite a bit," Stuart said. "I held out hope it was two weeks, and then it turned into four and then six. I just have to go with it ... try to stay on an even keel. The team has been playing great right now and it's been fun to watch. I'm happy we're still going and I'm still hopeful that I can help the team somehow."

As Stuart spoke, it was impossible not to notice the rectangular lump, under bandages, on his arm. It was a container of antibiotics that drains into his arm. He was held off the ice until a wound healed, doctors afraid that sweat would get into it.

"I'm still undergoing treatment for the infection, but now I'm allowed to go back out on the ice and that's huge because for a while, I wasn't allowed to do anything," Stuart said. "I have an IV that I plug in twice a day."

-- John McGourty

Boosh on Rex

04.30.2010 / 2:58 PM ET

The last time Brian Boucher was on an extended playoff run, it was with the Flyers in 2000. One of the main cogs in that Philadelphia machine was Mark Recchi. Ten years later, Boucher is having a career renaissance, while Recchi just keeps on doing the same thing he's done his entire career -- skating well, scoring goals and being a great leader.

"He's a great teammate," Boucher said during a conference call Friday. "He's one of those guys that you really, truly enjoy being in the same locker room as him. He's a good leader. The things he does on the ice are pretty darn good, too, because he wouldn't be playing still if he didn't do a good job.

"He still can skate. The guy can move, and he's a smart hockey player. He has a knack for the net. He's scored timely goals." The Buffalo Sabres certainly can speak to that, as Recchi had 3 goals and 5 points in the first round.

"He's going to be a guy we're going to have to pay particular interest in, making sure he doesn't get those chances," said Boucher.

In those 2000 playoffs, Recchi had 18 points in 18 games; 10 years later, he's still a point-per-game player.

-- Adam Kimelman

Lines and pairings

04.30.2010 / 2:04 PM ET

With Marc Savard returning to the lineup, the Bruins have changed the lines that they used in the Buffalo series. Savard is in, Shawn Thornton is out and Blake Wheeler will play on the fourth line. Wheeler is an important part of Boston's penalty-killing unit.

Here are the Bruins' lines and defense pairings from today's practice:

Marco Sturm-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miroslav Satan

Daniel Paille-Marc Savard-Michael Ryder

Steve Begin-Vladimir Sobotka-Blake Wheeler

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Wideman-Matt Hunwick

Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalie: Tuukka Rask

Backup: Tim Thomas

The Flyers practiced this week with these lines and pairings:

Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Claude Giroux

Ville Leino-Danny Briere-Scott Hartnell

James van Riemsdyk-Jared Ross-Arron Asham

Darroll Powe-Blair Betts-Andreas Nodl

Matt Carle-Chris Pronger

Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn

Ryan Parent-Lukas Krajicek

Goalie: Brian Boucher

Backup: Johan Backlund

-- John McGourty