WILMINGTON — Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion vs. the Senators on April 2, participated in an optional skate Friday morning with 13 teammates at Ristuccia Arena. The Bruins center engaged in several net-front battle drills, looking nimble and strong in his second time back on the ice in as many days, before he was last to depart the sheet at 12:25 p.m. along with assistant Doug Houda.
“He just did some regular drills, just like he was going to be in the game,’’ said goaltender Anton Khudobin, who worked in net against Bergeron. “He stayed in front of me and we tried to do some exercises like he was going to be in the game.
“I tried to do what I’m going to do and he tried to do what he’s going to do. It was normal.’’
Asked if Bergeron looked better, Khudobin replied, “Oh, of course, of course. Hopefully, he’s getting better, but all the questions are still on the doctors.’’
Although Bergeron traveled with the team to Raleigh, N.C., for Saturday night’s game against the Hurricanes, coach Claude Julien said Bergeron was not expected to play.
“Bergy will travel with us,’’ Julien said. “He’s skating now and he’s skating with us and he’s better off to work out with us than to stay behind.’’
Asked if Bergeron would be available to play, Julien replied, “I don’t think so. We’re certainly going to be cautious with him. He’s had a history [of concussions] and we’re not going to take a gamble with it.
“We’re being extremely careful with Bergy and we’re going by the protocol. Never will this organization risk a player’s health for any reason. But he felt pretty good this concussion was moderate, and from what I’ve been told, it’s had a zero [effect] on the major one that he’s had and a zero issue on his brain.’’
The sight of Bergeron on the ice, putting himself through a rigorous workout, was an encouraging sign to his teammates.
“Yeah, it’s always good to see Patty out there,’’ said Shawn Thornton, who also participated in the optional skate. “I’m hoping he’s back sooner rather than later. He’s the best player on our team and we obviously miss him. The quicker we get him, the better.’’
Julien said a turning point in Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to the Islanders came in the second period when the visitors took the play to the Bruins and spent an inordinate amount of time in the attacking zone. The Islanders outshot the Bruins, 36-31 overall and 19-8 in the second, establishing a 14-4 advantage midway through the period.
“The biggest thing, too, probably in that second period was that spurt where they spent almost two minutes in our own end,’’ Julien said. “They got quite a few shots just in that span, so that certainly didn’t help the shot count. But, obviously, our shots-against you want to keep down. They were a little lower against New Jersey, but they crept back up.”
It marked the fifth consecutive game the Bruins have been outshot, by a combined 175-138.
“I don’t know if it’s a concern, but we always look at the scoring chances as a concern,’’ Julien said. “If there’s more than there should be — and [Thursday] night there was more than there should’ve been — that’s more of a concern.