Bruins coach Claude Julien cryptic about whether or not Patrice Bergeron plays tonight

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With Game 2 on the way tonight between Boston and Tampa Bay and the Bruins in need of a spark to help them get over Game 1’s 5-2 thumping, there’s one guy that could help bring that. Bruins playoff top scorer Patrice Bergeron, who’s been out since receiving a concussion in Game 4 against Philadelphia, has been skating with the team lately and after Game 1’s disappointment, getting Bergeron back in the lineup would be a huge lift.

Will he play or won’t he? Bruins coach Claude Julien is being coy when asked about that.

“As far as Bergeron was concerned, I think if he’s in you’re going to see him in the warm-up tonight.”

When pressed further about Bergeron, Julien had better things to talk about.

“No. I think we need to move on to other things here. I’ve got nothing else to say about Bergeron right now. If we want to talk about the game, I’m open to that. If not, I think we’re done. ”

Well all right then.

While Bergeron’s skated with the team, he hasn’t done anything physical in practice yet. If he’s going to suit up tonight and play, it’d help if he took a few loving bumps from the guys he suits up with first. Having his first contact be against guys that don’t exactly have the most loving care in mind sounds like a poor battle plan.

Tyler Seguin is slated to be back in the lineup again tonight and while he was taking Bergeron’s spot in the lineup in Game 1, he proved himself worthy of playing further and they’ll need to give him a few more minutes of ice time to see what he’s really capable of. Seguin had a goal and an assist in Game 1 and it’s possible they’ll be working him into the game on the power play in Game 2. The Bruins could certainly use the help there.

Getting Bergeron back in would be a huge lift to the team but it would be too risky and foolish to do it before he’s healthy enough to go. After all, a guy with a concussion history coming back too soon after suffering another one doesn’t exactly have a great track record of success and the Bruins don’t need to think back too far in their own history to see proof of that. Just ask Marc Savard about how well that worked for him.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.

 

After ‘great’ senior year, Pens sign Union standout Taylor

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Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting Jeff Taylor in the mix.

Taylor, the Union College senior defenseman who had his collegiate career end over the weekend, signed a two-year, entry-level deal on Monday, and also inked an ATO to join the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Taylor, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2014, enjoyed a career year at Union, helping the Dutchmen advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33) in 38 games.

Back in December, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin spoke glowingly about Taylor’s last collegiate campaign, saying he was in the midst of a “great” senior season.

“This is a kid we’ve been looking forward to getting since we drafted him,” Guerin said, per the Post-Gazette. “I remember his first development camp, everybody was like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this kid. He can move the puck, he can skate, he’s quick. He thinks the game well.’ And it hasn’t stopped.

“He’s an undersized guy, but he has the ability to get himself out of trouble because he’s got great feet and he thinks the game well.”