WILMINGTON, Mass. — After a 3-2-0 road trip mostly against teams from the Southeast Division, the Bruins returned to the Bay State and practiced at Ristuccia Arena this morning.

There’s little time to rest for the Bruins, who tomorrow afternoon will host the New York Rangers. It will be a big game not just because of the long-running rivalry between the two franchises but also because the Rangers will arrive as the only team ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference standings.

Saturday’s matinee will be the first match-up of the Bruins and Rangers in the 2011-12 season. The Bruins are curious to see how they match up with the Rangers.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt there as far as that’s concerned. They’ve played well. They’ve been a good consistent team all year and it’s going to be our first game against them, so certainly there’s something to be said about that,” said head coach Claude Julien. “And I think there’s certainly some excitement from our team and looking forward to the matchup. And I have no doubt the same thing is going on from their side.”

The Bruins practiced without center Chris Kelly, who was granted a maintenance day by Julien. Prior to practice, the Bruins assigned forward Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer to the Providence (AHL) farm club. Julien said he did not know if either player would rejoin the Bruins in time for their upcoming road trip to Philadelphia and Washington. With Kelly out, Zach Hamill, Boston’s lone remaining spare forward, skated on a line with Rich Peverley and Benoit Pouliot.

Later this afternoon, the NHL announced that Julien and his staff will join Bruins captain Zdeno Chara on Team Chara at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. New York coach John Tortorella and San Jose coach Todd McLellan will coach Team Alfredsson led by Ottawa star Daniel Alfredsson.