TORONTO, ON - With Game 3 on the horizon and the series knotted at 1-1, the Bruins held an optional skate Monday morning at the Air Canada Centre. Well, optional, as in, most of the Bruins opted to stick to their routine and take the ice prior to tonight's Game 3 against the Maple Leafs.
Tuukka Rask, expected to start his third straight game of the series, opted to stay off the ice, along with Bruins' forward Nathan Horton, in preparation for the tilt.
The B's assistant coaches ran the players through a series of drills, with all eight defensemen on, along with the 14 forwards and Anton Khudobin.
Prior to the Bruins' skate, Toronto held a close-to-full skate of their own, with seven defensemen on, 15 forwards and just Ben Scrivens, as James Reimer - like Rask - didn't take the ice for skate, but is expected to start Game 3.
"I think we just have to be a better team than we were last game," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said, simply, on what the Bruins need to do. "We had a lot breakdowns, you look at the goals that they scored, a lot of outnumbered situations that we gave up. When we play well, we don't give those, so we just need a better performance on our part of it."
"That's what we expect, we feel that we're a good enough team that if we play the type of hockey that we know we can, our chances are good."
The much talked about "Toronto atmosphere" will surely come into play tonight at the ACC, with Leafs' fans taking in their first home playoff game since 2004, but the Bruins aren't too worried about it effecting their game. If anything, it just plays into the excitement of the postseason.
"I'm sure it will be loud. Toronto's a great place to play hockey, obviously in the playoffs it will be amped up as it is in every other building," said center Chris Kelly, who is a vet of 70 playoff games and is no stranger to an opposing crowd. "Should be exciting."
"I remember when they were in the playoffs that last time how exciting it was," said Welland, Ontario native, Daniel Paille, prior to tonight's tilt. "I was an hour away from here at the time, so I think it will be just as much, if not more, the excitement."
"When you have an atmosphere where it's going to get loud, regardless of who they're cheering for," added Paille. "I know I'll get goosebumps."
But a "hostile" crowd doesn't deter the Bruins from what they're trying to accomplish tonight right off the bat - a 2-1 series lead.
"We just want to come in and have a good road game, just like any other game," said Kelly. "The start will be key for both sides."
A good start for the Bruins often consists of their hard-hitting physicality, especially on the first few shifts.
"I think that's one of the biggest aspects of our game when we start out with that type of game and play with that type of physical play," said Daniel Paille. "Come out showing that you're focused and determined and ready to sacrifice yourself for the game."
Paille's teammate, and yet another Toronto native on the Bruins, Tyler Seguin, has bought into that physical mentality for the B's in the playoffs, landing four hits of his own in Game 2.
"I think it's playoff hockey, so if teams and individual players want to be successful, you have to get out of your comfort zone," Seguin previously told media on Sunday, on having an upped physicality. "Whether that's finishing more checks than usual or going to the net, which I still think I can do a better job of, that's what you have to do."
Boston's Projected Lineup:
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com and updates on Twitter @NHLBruins ^CS for all lineup information and updates heading into Game 3 from Toronto…