Boston Bruins practice report: Last practice before Christmas

BOSTON - DECEMBER 21: Boston Bruins' Torey Krug, left, celebrates his third period goal with teammate Jake DeBrusk. The Boston Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 21, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - DECEMBER 21: Boston Bruins' Torey Krug, left, celebrates his third period goal with teammate Jake DeBrusk. The Boston Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Dec. 21, 2017. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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Friday morning was the Boston Bruins final practice before the NHL’s Christmas break. The Bruins play the Detroit Red Wings Saturday at 1pm and then are off until Wednesday.

There was a lot of smiles around the Warrior Ice Arena Friday morning, as the Boston Bruins practiced following Thursday night’s thrilling shootout victory. In case you missed it, Charlie McAvoy played the role of hero again, notching the game winner in the fourth round of the shootout against Winnipeg, with this one coming on his birthday no less.

It was the second shootout winner for the rookie defenseman, with the first coming almost a month ago to the date, on November 22nd against New Jersey.

BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 21: Charlie McAvoy
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 21: Charlie McAvoy /

The team has quickly put the hard fought win behind them, though there are some lingering effects as they prepare to face off with the Detroit Red Wings Saturday at the TD Garden.

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Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner and Riley Nash all missed practiced Friday, still battling the flu. Spooner and Nash did skate before the rest of the team took the ice, after not playing against the Jets. Marchand, stayed home after he did suit up against Winnipeg and played a gutsy 20 minutes of ice time, despite missing the team’s morning skate.

Bruce Cassidy spoke on the three forwards Friday, saying Spooner and Nash skated before everyone else in an attempt to prevent the illness from spreading further.

"“We’re hoping those guys are healed, they feel better today,” said Cassidy. “We brought them in early to skate because of that. Part of that is keeping them away from the main group, if it’s gonna go around it’s gonna go around, but if we can try to avoid that and take some steps. That was the reason, get them at least skating. Nash and Spooner both felt pretty good, so I anticipate they’ll play.”"

Cassidy later added that because Marchand played Thursday, the coaching staff decided to give him they day off, and that he feels better today.

Back to the AHL

With signs pointing towards all three playing on Saturday, Colby Cave was sent back down to Providence. He played 11 minutes in his NHL debut, blocking a shot and was penalized for interference. Cassidy said he could be recalled again if the illness situation doesn’t improve.

Other Practice Notes

David Krejci (upper body) did not practice and was placed on injured reserve Thursday afternoon. It sounds like the plan is to work him back into the lineup following the Christmas break.

Adam McQuaid (Leg) practiced in full, and is considered a game time decision for Saturday. Cassidy did say that he hasn’t felt the need to rush the 31 year old defenseman back because of the team’s recent success (12 wins in the last 16 games) and wants to make sure McQuaid is fully healthy.

Next: Bruce Cassidy should be in Jack Adams discussion

David Backes missed Friday due to personal reasons, his wife is preparing to give birth to their second child!

The Bruins can complete a perfect week with a win against Detroit tomorrow. Eight points over this four game stretch would make for a great Christmas present heading into the break. They have a chance to tie Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins currently sit two points back with three games in hand. The Maple Leafs take on the Rangers Saturday night in New York.