|Banged-up Bruins, dinged Ducks to meet|
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A pair of teams dealing with injuries and uneven play meet Wednesday night at Honda Center.
The Boston Bruins (6-6-4) are coming off consecutive losses to the Toronto Maple leafs, including a 4-1 home defeat on Saturday night, as they head west for the start of a four-game road trip.
The Anaheim Ducks (7-7-3) absorbed a 2-1 home loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday and will be playing their fourth contest of a season-long five-game homestand.
Both teams will be short-handed while filling out the lineup card with relatively untested players.
Boston made the trip without left wingers Brad Marchand (eight goals, seven assists in 14 games) and Anders Bjork (three goals, six assists in 16 games).
They are dealing with upper-body injuries and will miss at least the next two games, according to coach Bruce Cassidy. Center David Krejci (back) went through a full contact practice for the first time Tuesday, will be evaluated further Wednesday morning and will most likely return Saturday at San Jose.
The Bruins dressed five rookies against Toronto on Saturday and will likely do the same against the Ducks.
Cassidy said he knows that while the season is still in a relatively early stage, the games are piling up and the Nov. 25 Thanksgiving Holiday generally serves as a make-or-break benchmark.
Since the 2005-06 season, NHL teams in postseason position entering Thanksgiving Day have gone on to make the playoffs 77.3 percent of the time.
The Bruins are 14th in the Eastern Conference while the Ducks are 13th in the West. The clock is ticking and turkeys are about to become popular.
"We're aware of the date with it," Cassidy told the Boston Globe. "We want to be mindful of it. But it can't run the show. As a group, we've got to stick with the process. If you trust the process and play the right way, then we believe we'll get enough points.
"It might not be by Nov. 24. That's just the way we feel. Given the amount of adversity we've dealt with, we don't know what our true team looks like. I don't think it's fair to use that benchmark and say, 'OK, we're not good enough."
The Ducks are in the same boat in terms of record and certainly aren't going to feel sorry for any opponent as they haved played without center Ryan Getzlaf, center Ryan Kesler, right winger Patrick Eaves, defenseman Cam Fowler, right winger Ondrej Kase and right winger Jared Boll.
Like the Bruins, the Ducks have been able to tread water thanks to the contributions of young players -- including a dose of call-ups from AHL San Diego -- such as center Kalle Kossila and rookie left winger Kevin Roy.
The Ducks have one win in their last six games (1-3-2) but there has been good news. Goaltender John Gibson, who had 35 saves Sunday, has been solid all season and Jakob Silfverberg, who has three goals in the last two games, is playing his best hockey.
Because of a quirk in the schedule, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle also had two days to prepare for the Bruins and will have three days to get ready for Sunday's home game against Florida.
"There are lots of things we need to cover in practice," Carlyle said. "The one thing we've tried to sell is practice isn't punishment. We're here to practice to get better. Our team game has to get better.
"We played a game we weren't proud of for the first half of the game against Tampa. We didn't have the puck enough and we played in awe of them. We don't want to duplicate that again."