New York, NY - The Bruins held an optional skate at Madison Square Garden this morning - well, optional as in, nearly the entire team decided to skate, even Dennis Seidenberg (who is out day-to-day with a lower body injury) and Brad Marchand, who did not skate Tuesday at Ristuccia for in lieu of a “maintenance day.” The lone Bruin who opted for an off-ice workout was Captain Zdeno Chara.
“We’re no different than any other team. I think with the shortened schedule there’s going to be a lot of maintenance that we’ll have to take care of,” Julien said to media gathered outside the B’s locker room at MSG. “Maybe be a little bit more cautious [with] the way the schedule is and playing every second night. So far, I think our team is in pretty good shape.”
Coach said that both Seidenberg and Marchand were going to be game-time decisions tonight against the Rangers, but said he’s “very hopeful for both of them…Probably after this morning skate and seeing after the warm-up, I’ll be better to make those decisions then.”
Regardless of who is in the lineup, Coach Julien knows the B’s are going to face an eager, hungry opponent in the Rangers tonight when the puck drops at 7:30 (NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
“Anybody who knows the Rangers and knows how they operate and everything else knows they’re going to come out with probably their best game so far. Desperation does a lot of good things for people sometimes, and for teams.”
Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask and his teammates know the task at hand, and the their preparation and familiarity will serve them well.
“We know they lost a couple of games,” Rask said on the Rangers’ 0-2 start. “They’re going to be hungry at their home rink to come out and get the lead and build momentum. I think we just have to be ready for that.”
“We have to. We have no choice, especially against a team that’s looking to try to get on the board,” added defenseman Andrew Ference on the need to not only play positionally sound defense, but to shut down the likes of Rick Nash, Brad Richards and the Rangers’ young forward corps.
“Our games are always tight. Both teams are disciplined in the way they play, so we haven’t strayed off that course for four or five years against them, so I don’t expect anything different tonight.”
And with the stakes of the B’s trying to keep a good thing going and the Rangers trying to get a win on the season, Ference said there’s going to be a very physical aspect to the game “where bodies are flying around.”
“As we learned every time we play against [Henrik] Lundqvist, if we’re not getting to the net and being physical ourselves, we don’t give ourselves a very good opportunity to win.”
“So the physicality is a by-product of what we have to do to try to get the win.”
Along with physicality, the Black & Gold are hoping they can bear down on their chances and get their offensive fire power sparked. The anchor of the top line, David Krejci, is hoping he and his teammates can convert on their opportunities against the Blueshirts.
“The thing for our line is we just have to keep our feet moving, with or without the puck,” the center told us from the visitor’s locker room at MSG following the optional skate. “That’s what created us a lot of chances the last two games, so we just have to do the same thing tonight.”
And as is always true, the B’s night-in, night-out high level of defensive play that has been a staple the past handful of years will help jump-start the scoring.
“We don’t want to be cheating all over the ice. We want to be responsible in our own end and go from there, and I think we’ve done that the last two games,” said Krejci. “You know, it’s just two games. We know we have to play every game better and better.”
“Tonight’s going to be a tough one, but we’re up for it and we’re going to have to bring our A-game.”