BOSTON, MA – Both the Bruins and the New York Rangers got back on the ice for practice Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, in preparation for Sunday’s Game Two of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
"We expect them to come hard at us; we expected them to come hard at us last game, too. Our D’s handled it well, our forwards did a great job of coming back. It’s just a matter of being ready to up your game because the other team is going to be better," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, following the team's skate.
"That should be something that you know automatically. We saw some things in our game that we talked about in our dressing room that we’ve got to improve on. That’s the adjustments you make game to game in these kinds of series."
Rangers' bench boss John Tortorella agreed that there were adjustments to make on his team's end as well, though he liked the team's approach.
The Blueshirts, who had their Game One lineup intact during practice, feel that they need to enforce a stronger forecheck on the Bruins. From their perspective, it was the difference in the first game, and the Bruins caused turnovers by employing theirs in the Rangers' end.
“We've got to get our forecheck going a little more, hold onto some pucks in their end, create some offense off of that,” said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. “Our biggest weakness was not spending enough time in their end.”
Callahan said that when the Rangers’ forecheck is going well, so is the team. Much like the Bruins.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I think that's one of our strengths, is getting in on the forecheck and creating turnovers. That's how we get most of our offense. I didn't think we had enough of that in Game One.”
For the most part, Callahan acknowledged, there weren’t many surprises in Game One from the Bruins.
“I think that's what we expected out of them,” said Callahan. “They're a good team, they come at you hard, they're hard on the forecheck, they're very good in the neutral zone. I think we turned the puck over a little bit too much in the neutral zone and they had some counters off of that.
“It's no secret, they're a good club over there. That's what they showed us in Game One.”
Callahan didn’t want to compare the Bruins to the Rangers’ first-round opponent, the Washington Capitals, other than to say that his team needs to do better to get through Boston’s strong neutral zone.
“I don't know, I don't like comparing teams to teams,” said Callahan. “I think Boston's really good in neutral zone, they clog it up pretty well. It's hard to get pucks in behind there defensemen. In that scenario, we need to improve on and focus on [it].”
One thing that hampered the Rangers ability to get pucks deep and go hard on the forecheck was not being able to get around the reach and power of B’s captain Zdeno Chara.
“I've played against him before, he's got a pretty long reach, he reads the play really well, and he's got experience,” said Rangers forward Derick Brassard.
The Rangers will draw on their first-round series, in which they dropped the first two games against Washington, but won four of the next five to advance.
“We've been in this situation before,” said Callahan. “I think you have that to look back on, but it's a new series, you know we're going to be in tough. There's going to be times in this series when maybe we're going to be down.
“It's just a matter of coming out and putting that one behind you and just looking at Game Two.”
But, while New York is working through improvements, the B's are making their own.
"You have to make adjustments, not just series to series, but also game to game," said B's Coach Julien before Game Two. "There’s certain things, even though I thought we played a pretty solid game, I know they’re going to make some adjustments and they’re going to bring something else to make it a little harder on us and we have to be ready for that."
"So it’s about the anticipation of some changes and being ready for that, but also parts of our game that we think have got to be better moving forward here if we want to continue to win."
"I would be expect they’re going to be better," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "We need to be better too."