Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bergeron ready to get hit, shake off rust in Bruins’ opener

Matt Kalman
October 02, 2018 - 2:00 pm

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron went through a second straight day of full-contact practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, and he expects to be in the lineup for the season-opener at the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Bergeron’ recovery from offseason groin surgery was slowed by back spasms. He missed the entire preseason, so now he’ll tackle the challenge presented by his first game being the first one of the regular season.

“I didn’t have any control over it so it happened that way,” Bergeron said. “I don’t have any concerns, I feel good, I had some good practices. That being said it doesn’t mean that I’m not aware I might have a few timing issues or a little bit of rust, if you want to call it that.

“But I’m going to try to rely on my experience and try to be smart ... have good positioning and have some short shifts and get a feel for it, get my feet wet, and then feel more comfortable.”

Bergeron said it won’t take long for him to know he’s fully healthy.

“Getting hit, probably [will tell me],” he said. “It’s one thing getting hit in practice, I think guys always try to hold back. So yeah it’s probably getting in the corners and battling and stuff like that. And I’m sure after the first couple shifts I’ll be involved in a few of those and feel good and I can go on and keep getting better as the game goes on, hopefully.”

Bergeron centered Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, as expected, in practice. The other three lines that practiced and are projected to face the Capitals were Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato-Sean Kuraly-David Backes, and Joakim Nordstrom-Noel Acciari-Chris Wagner.

*Matt Grzelcyk practiced for the second straight day and for the first time wasn’t under any restrictions after missing the weekend with a lower-body injury. He's expected to replace the injured Torey Krug in the lineup and run the point for the first power-play unit.

*Coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Tuukka Rask starts the opener and Jaroslav Halak will start the Bruins’ second game on Thursday at Buffalo.