Ference shows no ill effects in return

PITTSBURGH -- In his first game action since he suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference showed no ill effects from his hiatus, registering an assist on David Krejci’s first goal.

“Obviously it’s nice and it was very difficult to watch,” Ference said. “It’s a lot easier when you win and watch but you want to contribute, you want to be a part of it.

“Every guy that had to play, [Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton], have done a tremendous job, so it’s not the most comfortable situation, especially Bart’s here with family.”

Bartkowski is from the Pittsburgh area.

“It’s tough. I know it’s tough and I’ve been in that situation and it’s a hard call for the coach,” Ference said. “It’s a hard thing for players because we do have a tight group. At the end of the day it’s hockey and that’s what happens. Everybody’s been mature about it and whether you’re in or out, guys have contributed to this team.”

With the assist, Boston’s defensemen have contributed 31 of the team’s 110 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far.