Boston, MA - The B’s hit the ice this morning for pregame skate at TD Garden, in preparation for tonight’s divisional match-up against the Buffalo Sabres - the first of five meetings this season.
All of the Bruins were on the ice, including defenseman Adam McQuaid who did not play Monday in Carolina or Tuesday against the Devils.Tuukka Rask was first off this morning, indicating he’ll get the start tonight against the Northeast Rivals. Chris Bourque stayed on for some extra time and Coach verified after skate that he will be the healthy scratch tonight and Lane MacDermid will be in the lineup.
Dan Paille will move up to the third line, and MacDermid will join the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.
The reasoning is two-fold, as Coach Julien doesn’t want healthy scratches like Lane MacDermid sitting too long without game action, and wants Chris Bourque to build up some confidence.
"As you guys saw, Chris [Bourque] spent a little bit of extra time on the ice and he’s a player that we’re going to sit out tonight," said Julien on Bourque being a healthy scratch for the first time this season tonight. "I had a good talk with Chris this morning. I think he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself right now, certainly not the Chris that we know. I’ve seen him enough to know that he’s a really good skater, he’s a really good playmaker, but I think right now he’s putting way too much pressure on himself.
"Hopefully, we can help him through that and once he takes that extra weight off his shoulders you’re going to see a player that can certainly be a much more efficient player than he’s shown so far.
Boston (5-0-1) is 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games against Buffalo (2-3-1) and are off to their best home start since 1990-91, when they opened the season 5-0-0 at home in the old Boston Garden.
There has been much rhetoric coming into tonight on both teams' "toughness" and physical play - what with Buffalo adding the likes of John Scott and Steve Ott to their roster for 2012-13 - but you won't catch either team being ready to drop the gloves at puck drop.
As far as I’m concerned, speculations are speculations, until it happens that’s all they are. We’ve played our style of game forever and we don’t plan on changing that, so there’s nothing, as far as we’re concerned, that is something to be worried about," Coach Julien said following morning skate.
"It seems a lot of teams have turned that way and, for us, we just have to learn to expect it," said Dan Paille post-skate. "Some games it will happen, some games it won't. For us, it's just to be ready if ever the time comes, but that's not our main focus, we're just going to try to play a normal game and try to get a big win."
"They’re playing the same way they always have, they love to get their D’s involved in the attack, they’ve got good goaltending," said Coach Julien. "They’re a pretty solid team and the one thing you don’t want to do is necessarily look at the standings and look at the records because every night is a different night."
"Right now we’re really focusing on ourselves, making sure that we continue to have consistency in our play and then play our game and hopefully that’s good enough to win the most hockey games."