BOSTON - The Bruins will finally get back on the ice at TD Garden tonight, as they split up into two teams for a pre-Stanley Cup Final scrimmage in front of what is expected to be an impressive crowd on Causeway Street.
Here are some notes about what to expect tonight at the Garden:
The Bruins will be trying to simulate the game-day experience as best they can.
Bruce Cassidy: "The original plan was to just get back into a game-day routine, come in in the morning, do our video. We did some St. Louis stuff this morning. Optional skate, go down to the rink. So then it's like, 'Do we have to wear a suit and tie? No, you don't have to wear a suit and tie.' Let's just be at the rink for a seven…and then just replicate the routine as much as anything.
"It's gonna be similar to a practice…that was kind of the original plan, now it's kind of bigger than maybe we first envisioned, but here we are. We're not gonna do every detail. If we score a goal, I don't know if you're gonna hear [the goal song]…it's more about the players' routine than every detail of the actual game."
Jake DeBrusk : "It's gonna be fun. Expecting a little bit more competitive battles than just practice. I think any time you can get into game form…it's something that I've never really been a part of, personally just trying to get in the swing of things and try to get that competitive battles, whether it's something as little as face-offs or board plays, things like that.
"It will be weird playing against each other, but there's not much that you can really do, it's just go out there and play at the Garden as well. We usually practice here, so it will be nice to be back in the building."
Video: DeBrusk looking forward to scrimmage
There will be no overt physicality or hitting.
Cassidy: "There will be very limited physicality. We're not out there to run each other. I think I made that clear, we don't do that in practice, we're certainly not going to do it tonight. The most important thing for us tonight is to be ready for Game 1. We thought this was an avenue that we could take to start the preparation."
Video: Cassidy talks benefits of scrimmage
It's expected to be a full house inside TD Garden.
Cassidy: "When we originally thought this out, we didn't even know if there'd be fans there…for the fans to show that kind of support, how could you not like it? It's awesome. I think our players will appreciate it. I certainly appreciate it. Hopefully every one leaves the rink tonight, we get done what we need to accomplish and they get to see some terrific NHL players getting ready to play."
Sean Kuraly : "It's amazing, really. For a scrimmage to be sold out at the Garden says a lot. It says that these fans are engaged and they're excited and I think we share that excitement. That's why we worked hard all year to get home ice so we can use that to our advantage."
Video: Kuraly looking to bring energy
Thus, the Bruins will have to dial down their excitement.
Cassidy: "What we've got to guard against is we're there to get some work done. This is like a practice for us, it's not a show. We've got to be careful that our guys don't get caught up in adlibbing out there. We want to start preparing for St. Louis, managing pucks. That's gonna be the big challenge that we're getting away from the way we normally play by putting on a show. That's the risk you take tonight."
Kuraly: "It's gonna be interesting, I'm gonna try to keep most of that up while being respectful to my teammates. You can do it. I can use my feet and check with my feet. You get to the end and try to make through it safe. The biggest thing about our game is pace. You can play with pace tonight and no one's gonna get hurt from that."
Video: Johansson discusses scrimmage preparation
Here are tonight's line combinations:
Zdeno Chara will not be limited, per Cassidy.
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari
Paul Carey - Jack Studnicka - Peter Cehlarik - Zach Senyshyn
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
John Moore - Steven Kampfer
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Backes
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Anton Blidh - Trent Frederic - Karson Kuhlman
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton
Jeremy Lauzon - Jakub Zboril