|Video: Napoli Beaned, Homers into Fifth Deck in 7-Run 11th Inning for Red Sox||Struggling Season Continues for Xander Bogaerts||Report: Patriots Trade Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay||Red Sox Have Decisions to Make and Money to Spend this Off-Season|
It’s another Original Six matchup tonight at the Garden, as the Bruins (22-13-7) return home for the first time since the Winter Classic hoopla to face the league’s best team, the Chicago Blackhawks (30-10-3).
Chicago is tied atop the Western Conference with 63 points, even with San Jose. The B’s faced this team just a few short weeks ago, losing to them at the United Center on December 18th, 5-4 in a shootout. Since that meeting, Boston has lost not one, but two key players now who have been bitten by the injury bug. Andrew Ference, who actually hasn’t been awful as of late, scoring his first goal of the year in Tuesday’s first period, will be sidelined for six weeks with a groin injury he sustained in a second period hit from Ottawa’s Chris Phillips.
On the other hand, with a bit of good news, Patrice Bergeron, the team’s leading points producer, will miss just 2-3 weeks instead of the six week prognosis earlier in the week. Bergeron’s right hand is not broken, instead it is three small fractures in his right thumb. He will remain in a splint for 7-10 days, then begin rehab. Bergeron’s status for the upcoming Olympics should remain unchanged.
Also on the Bruins sidelines has been winger Milan Lucic, who has been out nursing a high ankle sprain. Lucic did practice with the team this morning, but does remain doubtful for tonight’s game. Instead, look for Lucic to rejoin the team Saturday afternoon against the Rangers.
Here now, a few more game notes heading into tonight’s tilt with the ‘Hawks…