BOSTON - Two wins back-to-back and one successful road trip later, the Bruins were back at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning for practice.
The impressive weekend, which came on the heels of a nine-day All-Star break, featured two very different wins - one a tough, 2-1 edge of Winnipeg, and the other a 6-1 rout of the Minnesota Wild.
"To win two games in different styles definitely gives us confidence moving forward that we can play a few different ways and come up victorious," said defenseman Torey Krug following Monday's practice. "It was a great week for us to get away and rest and then come back. Couldn't ask for a better result, that's for sure."
Video: Krug talks with media following Monday's practice
Up next, Boston will play its first home game in nearly two weeks as it hosts Vancouver at TD Garden on Tuesday. The Canucks pose a new challenge for the Bruins, as they're one of two teams in the league Boston has yet to play this season.
"They're playing really well," said Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "Haven't seen them yet this year, so they've probably taken another step from where they were last year, close to a playoff team. They added some character guys like [J.T.] Miller, who's really helped their team. The defensemen as well. They've done some good things to their lineup; those young guys are a year older, so they're going to be better. Quinn Hughes has come in and done a real good job for their power play.
"I think they're probably a little bit underrated right now because you don't see them that often, but we'll find out tomorrow. They've always played us well; one team that, for whatever reason, they seem to have our number."
The Pacific Division-leading Canucks are coming to TD Garden fresh off their first loss in five games to Carolina on Sunday. The motivation for them to rebound from that loss, in addition to Vancouver's young core group, was enough cause for defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to echo Cassidy's statements.
"They've got a young team, a lot of skill," Grzelcyk said. "Those guys did pretty well in the All-Star weekend, so, pretty fun team to watch. They always seem to play very well against us too, so we've got to be ready to come out. They had a tough one yesterday against Carolina, so like I said - they're in a tough race in the West. We want to play well going into the playoffs as well, so we should be ready for a tough one."
Video: Grzelcyk addresses media following Monday's practice
Blidh Making an Impression
Saturday night's fourth line left wing stuck in his spot Monday morning, as Anton Blidh skated alongside Par Lindholm and Chris Wagner during practice.
The winger has made an impact through his two games with the Bruins so far this season, finishing Saturday's contest with three shots on goal and two blocked shots. To Cassidy, that in-game effort is a welcome sign of internal competition - and a bit of Blidh's personal game, too.
"He's done a good job," said Cassidy. "Two things he does well all the time is fore-check, get on people. He's got a good stick, good pace that way and he's going to relish a penalty-killing role. Blocked some big shots the other night, he enjoys that part of the game.
"And the other thing he's done well is when he hasn't played for stretches, he's able to get out and get the motor running. We've talked about [Karson Kuhlman], that's why he stays in the lineup a lot of nights. That's beneficial, because he's not going to be on the power play and there's times, if we're chasing the game a little bit offensively, then he might have to sit for stretches. It's good to see. It's a short sample size, but he's got a good motor."
Video: Cassidy addresses media on Monday
Danton Heinen returned to practice on Monday after sitting out Saturday's game in Minnesota. The decision came following a tough matchup in Winnipeg, leaving a line of Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman slated against the Wild.
During practice, Heinen and Sean Kuraly split time on the second line centered by Charlie Coyle and anchored on the right by Anders Bjork.
"He skated today, much better than he was with the day off yesterday than he was in Minnesota," Cassidy said on Monday. "We'll see how it shakes out tomorrow."
Joakim Nordstrom did not practice on Monday, taking a maintenance day instead.
Monday's Practice Lineup
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Sean Kuraly/Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - Anders Bjork
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman
Anton Blidh - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Jeremy Lauzon/John Moore