BOSTON — The Boston Bruins should have forwards Phil Kessel and David Krejci back in the lineup tonight when they host the Ottawa Senators at TD Banknorth Garden.
Both players missed practice due to physical ailments yesterday but took part in an optional morning skate today. Kessel, who suffered a left arm injury Tuesday night in Columbus when Jan Hejda bumped him into the wall during a pursuit of a dump-in, declared himself fit and ready to go. As for the hit by Hejda, the speedy winger said:
“Obviously, it didn’t feel great (at the time). But again, it’s part of the game — you get bumps and bruises out there,” he explained.
There was no news on what was ailing Krejci, but he said he’s fit and ready to go. And he knows that in order to break out of his doldrums — one goal in his last 10 games, three in his last 20 — he, like his teammates, have to make things happen around the net.
“Maybe we’re just going there so we don’t get yelled at by the coach,” said Krejci when asked about head coach Claude Julien’s mandate to not only go to the net but do something while up there.
“I don’t think we’re driving to the net for some reason,” the center continued. “We go there just to be there. But you’ve got to go there and make sure the goalie doesn’t see the puck, or if he sees it and there’s a rebound, make sure you go for the rebound and battle for the loose puck. We need to have a reason to drive the net.”
Kessel is also in a drought, with just two goals in his last 20 games. He said it’s going take more hard work and victorious battles to get him going again. As for the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, which now features New Jersey just six points back of the Bruins, Kessel said: “I think we just have to focus on our game – getting back to how we were playing at the start of the year and getting better each day.”