Boston Bruins

Goalie nods: Halak, Mason return from injury

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All the latest from the crease…

Halak back for Isles

After missing the last two games with a lower-body injury, Jaroslav Halak will be back in goal when the Isles take on the Caps tonight.

Halak, who last played in a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay on Dec. 20, watched as his teammates lost both games in his absence — Chad Johnson was in for a 3-1 defeat to Montreal, then Kevin Poulin was on the hook for a 4-3 shootout loss to Buffalo.

New York will be pleased to see Halak return. He’s been very good this year, posting an 18-6-0 record with a 2.24 GAA and .919 save percentage, with three shutouts.

For the Caps, Braden Holtby will be in goal.

Mason returns for Flyers

Steve Mason will be back in goal for Philadelphia this evening when the Flyers take on the Coyotes in Arizona.

The Flyers fared quite well without Mason, who’s missed the last four games with a back injury. They went 3-1-0 in his absence, with Ray Emery recording a pair of wins and 33-year-old Rob Zepp getting a victory in his first-ever NHL contest.

That said, Philly will be glad to see Mason return. He’s been very good this season; despite his 6-10-5 record, he’s managed to post a .921 save percentage and 2.49 GAA.

For the Coyotes, Devan Dubnyk will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Red Wings at Bruins: Jimmy Howard vs. Tuukka Rask

Pens at Devils: Cory Schneider for New Jersey, Marc-Andre Fleury likely for Pittsburgh.

Habs at ‘Canes: Carey Price vs. Cam Ward

Sabres at Sens: Jhonas Enroth vs. Craig Anderson

Leafs at Bolts: James Reimer vs. Ben Bishop

Wild at Jets: Darcy Kuemper likely for Minnesota, Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg (read more here.)

Avs at Blues: Semyon Varlamov vs. Martin Brodeur (read more here.)

Preds at ‘Hawks: Corey Crawford for Chicago, no word yet on a Nashville starter.

Rangers at Stars: Henrik Lundqvist for New York, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Kings at Flames: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

Oilers claim Fraser off waivers from Bruins

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The Edmonton Oilers made an interesting move on Monday, claiming Boston forward Matt Fraser off waivers.

In a related move, the Oilers then waived forward Steve Pinizzotto.

Fraser, 24, is an Alberta native that has 27 games of NHL experience with the Stars and Bruins. He’s perhaps best known 1) being part of the Tyler Seguin trade, and 2) scoring the OT winner in his playoff debut last spring, helping the B’s beat the Habs in Game 4 of their second-round series.

Fraser has struggled to find his form this season, though, scoring just three goals in 24 games while averaging 10:31 TOI per night.

It’ll be interesting to see if Fraser can find his niche in Edmonton. A quality scorer in junior at at the AHL level — he had 37 goals in 73 games for AHL Texas in 2011-12 — Fraser will likely get a good look in Edmonton and is something of a familiar face for new head coach Todd Nelson, who coached against Fraser during his days with AHL Oklahoma City.

Boston will be pretty thin at forward tonight (Updated)

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The Boston Bruins will ice a pretty makeshift lineup on Monday evening against Detroit.

With Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic unavailable due to undisclosed injuries, the B’s are rolling with a top line of Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Reilly Smith and a second unit of Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

Gregory Campbell will center the third line between Daniel Paille and recently-recalled Jordan Caron. Matt Fraser, placed on waivers over the weekend, will skate with Craig Cunningham and Seth Griffith on the bottom line.

It’s all part of what’s becoming a December to forget in Boston.

The B’s are 4-6-2 this month and have just two wins in regulation — a 5-2 decision over the Coyotes on Dec. 6 and a 5-3 win over Nashville on the 23rd. They’re also coming off one of their worst defeats of the season, a 6-2 drubbing in Columbus marking the first time they’d lost to the Blue Jackets in four years.

Updated: Well, you can scratch Fraser from the mix as he’s been claimed off waivers by Edmonton. Sounds like Matt Lindblad is on his way up from AHL Providence to fill the void.

Related: NHL on NBCSN: Nyquist looks to remain hot against the Bruins

NHL on NBCSN: Nyquist looks to remain hot against the Bruins

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Detroit Red Wings visit the Boston Bruins for the third of five meetings this season tonight at the TD Garden.

Each team has won a game at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena with Wings taking a 2-1 decision Oct. 9 and the Bruins using a shootout for a 3-2 win Oct. 15.

After halting a six-game winless skid (0-4-2) Detroit will look for its’ third straight win tonight while the Bruins will look to get back into the win column Monday following a 6-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Just as it appeared the Bruins were getting healthy, both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic missed Sunday’s practice. Coach Claude Julien is expected to have an update on both players at Monday’s morning skate.

Detroit is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games against the Bruins and have won three of four in Boston.

Gustav Nyquist enters tonight’s game with a goal and three assists in his last two games.

The 25-year-old has scored in each of his four career games against the Bruins leading the Wings to a 3-0-1 record.

Boston is struggling defensively during its’ current 4-6-2 stretch. The Bruins are allowing an average of 3.1 goals compared to 2.4 over the first 24 games.

Just like the team in front of him, Tuukka Rask has struggled this season. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 3-4-2 in his last 10 games with a 3.10 goals-against average. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots after replacing Niklas Svedberg in Saturday’s loss.

The two clubs meet twice after tonight with the next meeting scheduled for March 8 in Boston.

Bergeron, Lucic are day-to-day for struggling Bruins

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Scoring has been a struggle for the Boston Bruins, and it may only get tougher on Monday if Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic are unable to play against the Detroit Red Wings.

While head coach Claude Julien isn’t being particularly forthcoming about what, exactly, is ailing either forward, he did describe each of them as day-to-day, as CSNNE.com reports.

Here’s what the Bruins’ forward lines looked like in practice without Bergeron and Lucic:

Marchand-Griffith-Smith

Fraser-Krejci-Cunningham

Kelly-Soderberg-Eriksson

Paille-Campbell-Caron

Matt Fraser was waived later on Sunday, so that could throw things further out of whack. Either way, the pickings would be pretty slim if Bergeron and Lucic cannot go; Boston would have to hope that Loui Eriksson really is rebounding, among other things.

While there are certain factors that seemingly point to a talent deficit, Julien thinks the Bruins’ tough times are a matter of desire and widespread underachievement.

“We just need to be better, collectively and individually,” Julien said. “There’s too much under-performing from our group right now. There’s everybody to blame from the goaltending, out to the defense and to the forwards. There is lots of blame to go around, so it’s important for us as a group to be better, and for us as individuals to be better.”

Having two rather important individuals out of the lineup certainly wouldn’t help matters.