Goalie nods: Darling starts third straight for Chicago

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Darling goes again

Scott Darling will make his third consecutive start tonight when Chicago takes on the B’s at TD Garden.

Darling, who has spent the majority of this season in AHL Rockford, has been tremendous when called upon — especially in his latest stint with Corey Crawford (ankle) sidelined. The 25-year-old has gone 4-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and .939 save percentage in five games this season and emerged the victor in each of his previous two starts: a 3-1 win over Nashville (32 saves) and a 3-2 shootout win over the Devils (22 saves).

For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask will get the nod in goal.

Elsewhere…

Flames at Sabres: Karri Ramo vs. Jhonas Enroth

Devils at Flyers: Cory Schneider vs. Ray Emery

Jackets at Caps: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Braden Holtby

‘Canes at Lightning: Evgeni Nabokov for Tampa Bay, Cam Ward likely for Carolina.

Kings at Sens: Craig Anderson for Ottawa, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.

Isles at Blues: Jaroslav Halak vs. Jake Allen

Jets at Avs: Calvin Pickard for Colorado, no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.

Bruins recall Cunningham from AHL

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The Boston Bruins have recalled forward Craig Cunningham from the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins.

As CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out, Cunningham’s recall is likely insurance for David Krejci (lower body), who remains a question mark.

Simon Gagne is also unavailable Thursday when the Bruins play host to Chicago as he has taken a leave of absence to be with his ailing father.

Cunningham was recalled by the Bruins on Nov. 30, but did not appear in a game before being reassigned Dec. 3.

The 24-year-old appeared in three games with Boston to start the season averaging 11:26 in ice time.

Cunningham is pointless in five career NHL games with the Bruins.

In 21 AHL games this season, Cunningham has five goals and 15 assists.

Krejci doesn’t think injury will ‘bother me the whole year’

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Boston center David Krejci is “100 percent” worried about re-aggravating the hip/groin ailment that’s kept him out of the Bruins’ lineup for all but 11 non-consecutive games.

So he’s going to play it safe this time. Maybe he returns tomorrow against Chicago (with Zdeno Chara), maybe he waits a little longer.

He just doesn’t want any more setbacks.

“I don’t feel like this is some injury that it’s going to bother me the whole year,” Krejci said, per the Boston Globe. “I think that when it’s done, it’s done, and we can move on.”

The Bruins are hoping he’s right, given his importance to the team, which has gone 8-8-1 without him, compared to 7-4-0 with.

Gagne on ‘indefinite’ personal leave from Bruins (Updated)

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Simon Gagne missed his second straight day of practice on Wednesday, a situation that raised eyebrows after Boston head coach Claude Julien said the veteran winger’s on an “indefinite” leave of absence.

Details of said leave are not known. Gagne is reportedly dealing with a personal matter.

The 34-year-old, who returned from a one-year hiatus to sign with the Bruins this fall, has spent the majority of this season as a fourth-liner. Gagne’s made 23 appearances, scoring three goals and four points, and scored the game-winner in his last outing — a 5-2 win over the Coyotes in Arizona on Saturday.

It remains to be seen if Gagne will miss any game action while on leave. The B’s are in the midst of a four-night break and won’t play again until Thursday, when they host Chicago at TD Garden. From there, though, things will get busy — the Bruins play four times between Dec 13-19 with games against Ottawa, Nashville, Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Update: From TVA’s Renaud Lavoie…

Chara expected back Thursday; Krejci may need a bit longer

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The Boston Bruins had a couple of key players back practicing today. And one of them sounds like he should be ready to play Thursday versus Chicago.

That one would be defenseman Zdeno Chara, who hasn’t played since hurting his knee on Oct. 23.

The other is center David Krejci, who hasn’t played since Nov. 18 due to a hip ailment.

From CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty:

The Bruins have been struggling of late, with just two wins in their last seven. But if Chara returns Thursday, they’ll have gone a reasonable 11-7-1 without their most important player in the lineup.