BOSTON - The Bruins set off for Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon following practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
After a day of rest and two practice days, the team hit the road ready to face the Senators in Games 1 and 2 on Wednesday and Saturday.
"It's that time of year. You've earned the right to be here. We feel we've earned our right, we've gotten back in, and we're ready to get going," said Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "So I think every player in that room feels energized, excited to play."
"There will be some nerves, I'll have some nerves, but not a lot - I feel good about our team. Obviously we've got a few question marks, and probably every team does. We'll sort through that, make the necessary adjustments as we go on, but I feel good about our team," said Cassidy.
"We had a six-game winning streak to turn things around there to get in, so I think the guys feel good that they can battle through adversity if things don't go your way in the first period or the first game or what have you, so, a lot of positives."
The Bruins have been answering plenty of questions in the recent days about the season series with Ottawa, having not picked up a win in their four meetings.
"I know we haven't beat Ottawa this year, that's always in the back of your mind, you're going to have to answer that question till you beat them," said Cassidy. "But I felt we played much better the last two games and the games could have went either way, and I think our guys feel that way too."
McAvoy Getting Comfortable
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy skated in his second practice with the team on Tuesday. Though his status for Wednesday's game is not yet confirmed, the blueliner is getting excited for the possibility of making his NHL debut.
After two practices, Cassidy has a better sense of the young defenseman, but still won't be able to fully see his potential until he gets into game action.
"I think he's a player we've got to see in a game to truly evaluate," said Cassidy. "[We] practiced for half an hour [today] - we put him on the power play to try and evaluate his composure level up there, even though it's only practice, and what he sees, and he looked good. He was moving the puck well again today."
"We haven't done a lot of high end competition, one-on-one battles, because at this time of the year we want to be as fresh as possible, so that's the area, until you see him in a game against men, will play out," said Cassidy.
Before practice began, Cassidy spoke with McAvoy one-on-one.
"[We talked a] little bit about playing his game. [That] it's OK to be nervous - well, he doesn't look like the nervous type, I don't think that will be a big issue. Told him to just play hockey. He's coming in, in a little different circumstance and he shouldn't overthink it," said Cassidy.
"We talked about who his partner might be. [On Monday] it was Liles, today it was Zee, the difference between those two players, and that was about it, just more of a getting to know," said Cassidy. "So, as much as anything, tried to get him comfortable with the coach, and if he has questions, feel free to come and talk to us, whether it's me or Jay [Pandolfo] or Joe [Sacc]."
Krejci, Moore Absent from Practice
David Krejci and Dominic Moore were not on the ice for the team's practice.
"They're maintenance right now," said Cassidy. "This time of year, I don't want to get too much farther than that. We expect them to play, but there's some maintenance work going on with them, and we'll see where we're at [on Wednesday]."
Khudobin Back at Practice
Goalie Anton Khudobin was back on the ice for Tuesday's practice, after having tests done on Monday. Khudobin had left Saturday's game due to illness.
First Round Coverage
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com for all of the latest coverage as the Bruins head on the road to Ottawa. Daily updates will also be available on Twitter and Instagram @NHLBruins, as well as on Facebook.
Practice Lines and Defense Pairings April 11
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Drew Stafford-Ryan Spooner-David Pastrnak
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-Sean Kuraly-Jimmy Hayes
Matt Beleskey-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Frank Vatrano
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
John-Michael Liles-Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin, Zane McIntyre
Not on the ice for practice: David Krejci, Dominic Moore
Ruled out for Game 1: Torey Krug (lower body), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Noel Acciari (upper body; skated with Skating & Skills Coach Kim Brandvold prior to Tuesday's practice)