Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Bruins mum on Bergeron's status

Categories: BOS vs. TAM, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning

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The Boston Bruins won't say if Patrice Bergeron will play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday, but Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher is preparing as if Bruins' everyman will be. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) The Boston Bruins won't say if Patrice Bergeron will play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday, but Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher is preparing as if Bruins' everyman will be. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Bergeron joins Bruins for practice

Patrice Bergeron practiced with his teammates Monday morning for the first time since suffering a concussion on May 6. Today marked the third straight day Bergeron has skated at TD Garden.

"I don't know," answered Claude Julien when asked if Bergeron will play in Game 2.

Bergeron started the morning with a solo skate under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides. Bergeron went through skating and shooting drills, never approaching full speed.

Bergeron remained on the ice for power-play drills before practice. Bergeron rotated in with both units. Bergeron also killed penalties against both units.

When full practice started at 11 a.m., Bergeron was the fourth forward on the No. 1 line with Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton. Later in the practice, Bergeron took several shifts with regular linemates Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. Bergeron didn't participate in any battle drills or down-low work.

The centre left practice before its conclusion. Bergeron was on the ice for just over an hour. Bergeron was not available for comment after the session.

"This is the protocol we're going through and the process he has to go through," said Julien. "You've seen him skate now for a few days. That's basically it. We don't have anything more to report, because there is nothing else to report."

Guy Boucher said he will prepare as if Bergeron will play Tuesday. The Lightning took a similar approach in the first round against Pittsburgh. Tampa assumed Sidney Crosby would dress in every game.

"We know how important he is to the team," Boucher said. "He's a great player. Great individual. That really has a tendency to uplift your team and give them confidence. We know the impact he has on faceoffs. His team's going to start with the puck more often. It changes a lot of things in terms of the way the game is going to develop.

"We're expecting him to be there for the opening faceoff. If he's not - I highly doubt. I think he's going to be there. It just makes it way harder. They're coming out with their 'A' game. They're coming out with him. I'm sure Tim Thomas is going to be at his best. We're expecting Boston to come out flawless."

More expected of skill players

In Game 1, Martin St. Louis recorded one assist. St. Louis was the only one of the Lightning's top-line forwards to record a point. Steven Stamkos didn't have a single shot.

The Lightning looked to second-line right wing Teddy Purcell, depth defenceman Brett Clark, and playoff hero Sean Bergenheim to score the three first-period goals within 85 seconds.

"Those guys stepping up is huge," Stamkos said. "Now we kind of expect that from those guys. There's a little added pressure there. But they've been huge for us. You see Clarkie stepping up with a big goal. Those guys are going good, but it's someone different every game stepping up and playing great."

Likewise, the Bruins didn't see any of the forwards on their first line land on the scoresheet. Nathan Horton recorded five shots, second on the team to Zdeno Chara (7), but wasn't able to solve Dwayne Roloson.

"We had lots of chances," Horton said. "We didn't score. It's another game. We have to keep working hard and keep getting our opportunities."

Peverley, Kelly switch spots

In Game 1, Chris Kelly skated in Bergeron's spot between Marchand and Recchi. Rich Peverley centred the third line between Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin. The thinking was that Kelly, a more defensively responsible centreman than Peverley, would serve the closest approximation to Bergeron's two-way approach.

Today, Peverley and Kelly switched places. If Peverley centres Marchand and Recchi in Game 2, he will give the line more speed and offensive awareness.

"Just moving guys around a little bit," Julien said. "I think if it's important that if we're going to do that, they get used to playing with each other. Kelly has had an opportunity to play with that line and has gotten used to them a little bit. Now Peverley does and I've got some options. Just giving some thoughts to different combinations if need be. Tomorrow, we'll decide which one we want to go with."