Head Coach Claude Julien, along with defensemen Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Andrej Meszaros, all gathered at TD Garden to meet with media.
During the availability, Julien gave the latest update on Chris Kelly’s recovery. The alternate captain has been out of game action since April 8.
“Chris Kelly is coming along. Every day’s a better day for him, so that’s basically all I can tell you about him,” said Julien.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli later issued an update through the team on defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been sidelined since January 19.
“McQuaid underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Thursday, May 1 on his right ankle,” Chiarelli said in the update. “His expected recovery time is eight weeks.”
Carrying Momentum from Comeback
As two Bruins go through their recoveries off the ice, the rest of the group is focused on the challenge that awaits them in Montreal for Games 3 and 4.
They’re in a much different circumstance now, though, than they would have been trailing two games to none in the series.
“It’s obviously a tough building to play in, but it should be fun,” said Meszaros. “What we did last night was incredible, coming back down 3-1, and I think we can build on that and it can give us the confidence to go out there and play.”
“I think we’re all pretty happy with the effort last night. It was a tough situation, you’re down 3-1, and they were playing a pretty good game and the chances weren’t as great as they were the game before so it was tough,” said Krug.
“We appreciate the situation that we’re in right now. It’s 1-1 going to the Bell Centre and we’re excited about the opportunity to compete there.”
The comeback was a feat in itself, and there’s no doubt they’ll receive a jolt from it moving forward in the series.
“We have a great group of players, of individuals that believe in that - from my message onto them, they kind of take it over from there and I hardly had a word to say in the third period even after they made it 3-1,” said Julien, of his experienced group.
“I knew that deep inside they were ready to go and they would fight right to the end. So you trust your team that way and you learn to know them well enough to know how to react.”
Embracing the Bell Centre
Krug has played at the Bell Centre, but not in a playoff series. Come Tuesday, he and the Bruins will be embracing the hostile atmosphere.
“I certainly love it. You want to be a player that rises to the occasion and you’re going to see a lot of different situations, and this is a challenge that we’re definitely embracing as a group, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Krug.
“It’s definitely going to be fun playing in that building and we know that their team feeds off their crowd tremendously so it’s going to be important. We’ll see how everything plays out, but we’re really excited about the challenge.”
Not Beating Themselves
The Bruins pulled off a comeback with three goals in less than six minutes, and dominated the final 10 minutes of play, but they’ll look at adjusting the first 50 minutes to give themselves a better chance for success.
“I mean, that’s the ups and flows of the game but at the same time I think we had a poor second period. We turned pucks over, as you know, in the neutral zone and they just kept coming back at us and we ended up in the penalty box,” said Julien.
“All those things didn’t help us but when we came out in the third, we started playing our game, things kind of settled down again and we started getting the results we wanted.”
“So it’s about trying to put 60 minutes of the same play from start to finish, but it’s always easier said than done.”
Meszaros Slides In
For Game 2, Andrej Meszaros got the nod for the Bruins’ blueline, with Matt Bartkowski out of the lineup.
When asked what Meszaros brought to the lineup on Saturday, Julien said, “It’s not what he gave me, it’s what we decided to do. It’s as simple as that. I think we felt we needed a change and we made that.”
“It’s tough when you’re not playing. Obviously, you want to be in the lineup every time, but it’s coach’s decision and you have to respect that,” Meszaros said Sunday from TD Garden. “We have to just be focused, stay ready physically and mentally and when you get the opportunity, just go out there and play.”
“You never know what’s going to happen, and if there’s going to be injuries or whatever, but obviously being out of the lineup, it’s tough for everybody, not just for me, but I’m glad I got the opportunity to go out there and play, and it was a fun game.”
While lineup switches happen often during the playoffs, in-game, and from game to game, whether it’s juggling lines and defense pairs, or reacting to different situations and match ups on the ice.
At this time of year, it’s about minimizing mistakes, and a player bringing the work ethic that will keep him in the lineup.
“I don’t think it’s just me. I think it’s everybody,” said Meszaros, when asked what he thought the coaches were looking for, with him in the lineup. “You have to play your best hockey, obviously, and as a defenseman, you have to defend well in your own zone and try and support the forwards, and try to shoot the puck, and get it down there, and maybe create some chances.”
“But overall, you have to be solid defensively and not get beat in front of our net or off the walls, so just regular things like that for any defenseman on our team.”
For Meszaros, he’s cherishing any role he’s given on the team as the series continues. For the veteran of 49 NHL playoffs games, it’s been three years since he suited up in 11 games for the Flyers in the 2010-11 playoffs, getting ousted by the Bruins in the second round. He also spent three straight seasons in the playoffs with Ottawa from 2005-08.
“It’s nice to be back in the playoffs obviously competing for the Cup,” he said.
Meszaros and his Sens fell just short in 2007 to the Anaheim Ducks, but given Saturday’s comeback and the experience of these Bruins, I asked the defenseman if he had ever been part of a group quite like this.
“We had a good run in Ottawa all the way to the Finals, and here I can feel it, I believe that going all the way it would be something great, and everybody believes in that,” he said.
“It should be a great ride, but obviously we are focusing for the next game, and go game by game, and see what happens.”
Hamilton Finding the Scoresheet
According to Elias Sports, Dougie Hamilton is the first Bruins defenseman 20 years of age or younger to have a five-game point streak within a single playoff year. He has two goals and four assists in that span.
“I don’t think I’ve changed my game that much,” said Hamilton, of his goal setup and scoring touch this postseason. “I think the pucks are just kind of going in. I don’t know if I’ve really changed offensively, it’s just the luck I guess. Obviously, a good time to have those bounces.”
Chara Stays Positive
Zdeno Chara ended Saturday’s comeback with a plus-5 rating, the best mark in the playoffs by a Bruin since Ray Bourque earned that same plus/minus on April 13, 1980 in Pittsburgh.
“I just want to play a strong game, and I’m just happy that we won,” Chara said following the win. “That’s all that matters right now, wins and losses, not personal statistics, so I’m glad that we were able to come back and win.”