By LOUIE KORAC
BOSTON -- When the Blues arrived in Boston in the early Wednesday hours after their 4-1 win at Buffalo, one player came to grips with an area he knows well.
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who played for Boston University and which is roughly two miles from where Shattenkirk and the Blues (14-3-3) will face the Bruins (14-6-1) at 6 p.m. today (FSN, KMOX 1120-AM), played three seasons for the Terriers (2007-10) and helped them win an NCAA title in 2009.
It'll be Shattenkirk's first trip to the area since he left school and go on to play for the Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
"First time playing back here since college," said Shattenkirk, who had 18 goals and 60 points in 121 games for the Terriers. "It's going to be a different experience, a lot of fun but it's also a big game. We know that (the Bruins are) probably one of the best teams in the East and a team that we have to prove ourselves against. It's going to be a fun night."
Shattenkirk was able to spend Wednesday night, the Blues' off night, in some familiar ground, soaking up some old memories.
"Yeah, I went to a couple of the old eating grounds and the rest of it," Shattenkirk said. "Didn't get to shoot up to school unfortunately.
"It's a great city. It's nice to be back. I love the atmosphere and just the entire feeling of the whole city."
Shattenkirk was able to get tickets for his parents (Pat and Barbara) as well as for some friends who will be in attendance tonight.
"It'll be fun to play in front of some familiar faces finally," Shattenkirk said.
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Upon arrival at the team's hotel in Boston, some Blues players encountered a moment with someone that's quite familiar to the motion picture scene.
John Travolta, famously known to have starred in such movies as Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction among others, was at the team hotel at the time the Blues came in.
"It was cool," Shattenkirk said. "We didn't even realize that he was there until Panger (Blues color analyst Darren Pang) mentioned something and he came over and chatted with us. He was just a very, very nice guy, very humble. It's always cool to meet someone like that."
One of the topics of conversation? Converting Travolta into a Blues fan.
"We mentioned we were big fans of his and hopefully he said he's going to try to switch over to the Blues and root for us a little bit," Shattenkirk said. "Hopefully he'll jump on the bandwagon."
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When the Blues face the Bruins for only the third time in three seasons, they do so with a great test in front of them.
These are the types of games Blues coach Ken Hitchcock likes to call information games.
"Boston's probably one of five or six teams in the (NHL) that plays right through you," Hitchcock said. "It's a big test for us, we'll see where we're at.
"Whatever happens, we'll have a good evaluation moving back when we get those teams from the West. The big guns are coming down now with Dallas and Minny and Colorado. We've got some tough games ahead of us. I think this getting more information about our team is going to be helpful."
Playing through teams is what Boston likes to do, and the Blues will need to be up to the task.
"Puck management is everything," Hitchcock said. "They force mistakes, they make you play in uncomfortable areas and you've just got to go in there and compete.
"I think both teams live in a little fear of each other. We can do to them what they do to us and to other teams and vice versa. I think it'll be a well-played game. Both teams play a little bit different style but I think in my opinion, both teams play the right way."
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Center Patrik Berglund (upper body) skated today for the first time since his last game, Saturday against Carolina.
Hitchcock said Berglund, who has one goal and six points in 18 games, would likely skate today and then be re-evaluated and possibly be back in the lineup Saturday against the Stars in St. Louis.
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The Blues' probable lineup:
Alexander Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Jaden Schwartz-Vladimir Sobotka-Vladimir Tarasenko
Brenden Morrow-Derek Roy-Chris Stewart
Magnus Paajarvi-Maxim Lapierre-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk
Ian Cole-Roman Polak
Jaroslav Halak is in goal. Brian Elliott is the backup.
Healthy scratches include Carlo Colaiacovo and Adam Cracknell. Patrik Berglund (upper-body) is day to day. Jordan Leopold (hand) is on injured reserve.
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The Bruins' probable lineup:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Tuukka Rask will start in goal. Chad Johnson is the backup.
Jordan Caron is a healthy scratch for the Bruins. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Adam McQuaid (lower body) are injured.