BOSTON, MA - The Bruins didn't want to come back to Boston and prepare for a Game Five on Saturday - but they did, following Thursday night's 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers.
So Friday afternoon, it was back in Boston and back to business.
All of the Bruins hit the ice (except for the still sidelined Andrew Ference, who has yet to begin skating) for their first full practice in over a week. It only lasted about half an hour, but the tempo was high as the B's ran through breakouts, 2-on-1's and 3-on-2's for extended periods of time, before breaking up to work on areas of their game. Practice lines were status quo from the first four games of the series.
The goalies got some extra work in, Dennis Seidenberg went through up-tempo footwork drills in between the bluelines with his fellow blueliners. Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton worked on outlet passes, Patrice Bergeron got in some passing work with David Krejci - all of the B's methodically putting the "practice makes perfect" phrase into action.
"I think it was one of those practices today where you wanted to get a good sweat, knowing it’s an early game tomorrow," said Coach Julien following the skate, referencing Saturday's 5:30 p.m. start time for Game Five. "And we just want to make sure we’re ready for tomorrow."
Following the Game Four loss, Coach had told media he thought his team was a "little sloppy" in the defeat, the bad bounces factored into that as well.
"We weren't as crisp as we had been in the past games," he said.
So Friday afternoon after practice, Julien was asked if the B's had used the day to get back to their crispness.
"I think there’s certain days; I know you’re not always great at your job sometimes, right? Same thing with those guys. You try, right? You muscle through. And that’s what we did yesterday," said Coach.
"I didn’t think we were good; we were okay. In the playoffs, 'okay' is not enough to win you some hockey games. A lot of our play was just okay, so we need to be good. That’s what we’re aiming for tomorrow."
"We’ve proven along in this series that we can be good and consistent. We’ve just got to be good and bounce back tomorrow and play as hard as we can, hoping that that’s going to win us a hockey game."
The players enjoyed the up-tempo skate, especially with the earlier start time for Saturday's game.
"It was a good flow, good practice - hard and short," said David Krejci, who extended his NHL leading playoff scorer status Thursday night, adding an assist to give him 17 points (three above Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby).
"We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow morning. We’re just taking it day by day. We felt, and the coaches felt the same way, that we needed to go out there for a short and hard practice. I think we did just that, and now we’re just going to focus on tomorrow."
"We're just all about business right now," added Tuukka Rask, who was already putting Thursday night's miscue on the Rangers' first goal in the past.
"It's been a few days since we had a full team practice on an off day. Today we just wanted to make sure everybody's minds we're in the right place, we were making crisp passes, executing the plays; keeping it short and sharp."
Seidenberg was happy to get in the full practice as part of his recovery (he's been sidelined since the first period of Game Seven against Toronto).
"We wanted to feel good about ourselves and finish the day on a good note. I think we did that today," said Seidenberg, who keeps progressing every day, along with fellow blueliner Wade Redden.
"I felt comfortable out there today. But again, to make any decision, I have to talk to the doctors and we’ll see," said Seidenberg, of his status.
"Nobody likes watching hockey games, especially around this time of year. Hopefully I get back in there soon and hopefully I can help."
As cliche as it always may be, the Bruins have moved on from the loss and already focused on taking Game Five. Practice was another step.
"Tomorrow's another game, it's a new day. We're up 3-1, we have a chance to get another win at home tomorrow," said Krejci. "We're going to try to do everything we can to get a win."
"I'm happy with where the team is. Even though we went to overtime last night, especially my line, we have way more than we showed," the center added. "That's a positive thing. We know we're going to be better tomorrow."
Green: Pandolfo, Soderberg, Daugavins