WILMINGTON, MA - The B’s hit the road today for their first trip of the season - a quick shot down to New York to face the Rangers in a rematch at Madison Square Garden.
“I think it’s back in that mid-season routine. Even more so today, getting the feeling of getting back on the road, flying, getting into a hotel and all that fun stuff,” said forward Milan Lucic following today’s short, intense practice before leaving for the team charter.
“We talked about it, that we were fortunate to have a lot of the same group of guys here and having that chemistry, which has helped out a lot.”
The Black & Gold held a quick skate in Wilmington, complete with 4-on-3 power play movement work and what seemed like endless shots on net (the B’s barely missed) - slap shots, one-timers, snap shots, wristers…
The practice ended with Coach Julien’s staple battling drill from the top of the circles on the ice near the entrance to Ristuccia. All meant to prepare the B’s for what they know will be a tough opponent in the New York Rangers who they downed 3-1 in their home opener at TD Garden Saturday.
"We're trying to keep our practices short, but they're pretty intense," Coach said on the day's workout. "I think we're trying to keep the intensity and tempo up as much as we can, so that we can continue to have that [same energy as the first two games]. It will be a matter of trying to stay as fresh as possible."
Though the Rangers have dropped their first two games of the season, including the defeat at the hand of the B's, they have shown that they are a very capable Original Six opponent, especially against Boston - and in their home barn.
“It’s not an easy building to play in. I think we’ve had our fair share of tough games in that building before,” said Coach Julien postpractice on the daunting task of playing at MSG.
“We don’t anticipate it being any better. But nonetheless, this is an opportunity to go into the building and play the best New York team we’ve played so far with them being extremely desperate.”
”It’ll be a real tough test tomorrow and we’ll be up for it.”
One member of the Black & Gold who is certainly "up for it" and has been praised by Coach as of late is burly power forward Lucic.
"That’s part of us finding our identity again," Coach said on Milan's high level of play to begin the season that has showcased his strong North-South game and ability to cause havoc on every inch of the ice. "It’s not just as a team, it’s also about individuals. Milan has certainly understood that his physical presence is a big part of our success and our image."
"His kind of play as well, opens up more room for him and allows him to score goals and get points. He’s bought into that and the first two games have been a real good sign. We talk about consistency and that’s what we need out of him."
Lucic and the Bruins know it will be a challenge at MSG, but are looking to bring their strong start at home onto the road.
“This is my sixth year here, and this is the first time we’ve ever started 2-0, since I’ve been here,” said Lucic, just one of the B's excited to have some team bonding time on the road, after the positive jump to the season.
”It’s definitely a good feeling to get things started off on the right foot and the challenge is to keep it going. We’ve got to embrace that,” he added. “We know it’s going to be a test tomorrow, with a hungry team trying to get their first win of the season.”
“We’ve always had a tough time at MSG, so it’s definitely going to be a good battle tomorrow.”