- On Sunday morning, following the Bruins' 3-0 shutout of the Flyers on Saturday, the B's held practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
The short, upbeat skate saw all B's on the ice, with forwards in their usual lines' color schemes, and rightfully in high spirits, having won two straight at home before hitting the road for a back-to-back in Ottawa and Pittsburgh.
With the tough schedule and games nearly every other night, pregame skates and optional skates have mostly been the time for coaches and players to run through situations and make improvements - so two practices in the past three days at Ristuccia Arena is a rare commodity in this season. Before Friday, it was something that hadn't taken place since February 27. The B's have taken full advantage.
"The way the schedule is, it's tough to get in full practices," said defenseman Adam McQuaid following the skate, on the couple of practices the B's have been able to get in recently. "There's areas that we needed to just clean up a little bit. It was a good chances to do that."
"We try not to look ahead at the schedule, but we know how busy it's going to be. It's important to take advantage of the days that we have."
"I think it's good, I think we have a lot of games and short practices, pregame skates. It's good to be able to do different drills, stuff that you don't really do often. I think it was good, to go out as a full team was good, too," added Dougie Hamilton.
Coach Julien, who noted during his postpractice presser today that this group is a fun group of players to work with, said there's always work to be done, and they were able to fully focus on areas for improvement the past couple of days.
"It has allowed us to do the things that we want to work on. A couple of days ago, or a few days ago, we worked on our transition and I thought our transition was much better yesterday afternoon," said Coach, of the win over Philadelphia. "We moved the puck quicker and better, so there's no doubt that you should never underestimate a good practice. We've had a couple of those and it's helped us."
Next up, the Bruins face the Senators in Ottawa. Back-to-backs are always tough, but even more so when it involves travel, and two strong match-ups.
"Both teams are playing really well. Ottawa, they just keep finding ways to win. No matter who's in their lineup, I just find them to be a hard working team, they compete hard all over the ice," said Coach. "It gives them a chance. They're getting solid goaltending and, when you compete hard all over the ice, you don't give other teams much. Like I said, I give them a lot of credit."
"Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh," he added on Game No. 2 coming on Tuesday. "They've got the power to do some damage if you're not ready to play them hard. This will be an interesting back-to-back."
Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly also talked about the upcoming team they'll be facing, a team that may still be down a few players, but has been finding ways to win.
"I think they're playing pretty well. Obviously, Ottawa is down a couple top guys, but they've been having every guy step up and do what they can to win," said Seguin. "Those kind of games are more tough, than playing a team with a lot of big name players. They're playing as a team right now, so we have to be ready for that."
Ottawa is the only other team besides Buffalo that the B's face on five ocassions this season.The last time the two teams met, the Bruins pulled out a 2-1 overtime win, when Patrice Bergeron got a piece of a Dennis Seidenerg shot, in a well-matched contest.
"Just looking back at last game, it was a pretty defensive game, tight-checking game," said Dougie Hamilton, on the outing vs Ottawa at TD Garden. "I think if we play the same way we did against Philly, hopefully get a couple goals early. I think it's a lot easier to play when we do that."
The Bruins were pleased with their defensive effort in the 3-0 shutout of the Flyers, and win over Toronto last Thursday, and will look to build on those two all-around games heading into Monday night.
"I thought last game was really good," said Hamilton. "I think we limited them to pretty low amount of scoring chances. If we can keep doing that, I think we'll be good."
"I think it's just focusing on those things, chipping pucks in, not turning it over, playing good D-zone, focusing on that. I think that's the way our team has to play."
"If we do that and stay on top of that, then I think we can win every night."