WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Defenseman Andrew Ference (lower-body injury) and forward Daniel Paille (broken nose) both practiced with the Bruins at Ristuccia Arena today in preparation for their game with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night at TD Garden.
Paille has missed the last three games and Ference the last two.
While both skated, Paille sounded more confident than Ference that he would play Thursday. "I feel really strong and really good out there so it's a positive note for possibly coming back for tomorrow," Paille said.
Ference said he felt good but listed himself as day-to-day.
Head coach Claude Julien was hesitant to proclaim Ference ready. "I don't think we're at that stage yet for Andrew," he said. "Whether it is game-time decision, I don't even know if he's been assessed well enough to make that comment, but maybe that will change tomorrow morning."
Potential trap game
One thing Julien was certain of was that even though the Bruins are playing the worst team in the league Thursday in Columbus, they can't overlook what is a potential trap game. With his team on the outside of the playoff race, they don't have the luxury to overlook any team.
"As you know it's a dangerous game too," Julien said when asked about the importance of closing the current five-game homestand out with a win. "There's always those situations where a team comes in and is having a tough start to the season and then your team mentally isn't prepared properly and you don't prepare as well as you had the other games and you end up regretting it at the end. So we can't afford right now to fall into that mode. We dug ourselves a hole and we're still digging ourselves out of it, so there's no reason for us to take any game lightly. It is a big game and we can have a good finish here on this homestand. We have an opportunity to go into New York (against the Islanders Saturday), and then the two games after that (at Montreal Monday and Buffalo Wednesday) are divisional games, so the next seven to 10 days are huge for us.
Rask loses it at practice
Tuukka Rask, who has lost his cool in games before and had temper tantrums on the ice, lost his composure during practice Wednesday when Patrice Bergeron scored on him. Bergeron took a nice feed in front and beat Rask, who immediately turned around and slammed his stick over the goal post three times before skating over to the player entrance of the rink for a new stick and throwing his other one out of the rink. Julien was asked after practice if he liked that type of passion from his goalie.
"Tuukka has a temper and it's not the first time he's exhibited that," Julien answered. "He gets mad and he's competitive and it's never a bad thing as long as it's for the right reasons."