BOSTON, MA - Another series, another challenge. The Boston Bruins have moved on from their dramatic first-round series win over Toronto, and are focused on a battle with the New York Rangers that starts tonight at TD Garden.
Another step in preparation came this morning, with their usual pregame skate. Only three Bruins were missing from the ice - the veteran defensemen Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg apparently still sidelined with their injuries.
"They weren’t on the ice this morning, so it doesn’t look good," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien when asked if he had any updates on the trio.
There was also some concern when Brad Marchand left the ice early during morning skate.
"He’ll be fine," said Julien. "Brad is going to be okay. You’ll see him on the ice tonight."
Marchand was still skating with Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr (as he was for Game Seven, until the shift of the OT-winner), with Tyler Seguin alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley (full projected lineup for Game One found below).
Krug Excited for Possible Playoff Debut
With the three vets off the ice this morning, it appears that defenseman Torey Krug, recently recalled from the AHL affiliate Providence Bruins, may make his NHL postseason debut.
Krug appeared in seven postseason games for Providence before the call-up, where has recorded three assists and a team-high 26 shots on net. They're amidst a second-round series, after Krug (and Matt Bartkowski) helped the P-Bruins rally to win their first-round series against Hershey.
There could have been some panic with half of the B's strong back end sidelined, but there's a confidence around the team in their younger blueliners to get the job done, especially following the big-time performances of Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton in Game Seven.
If defensive pairings remain as they were in morning skate, Krug could be paired with Adam McQuaid, Bartkowski with Johnny Boychuk, and Zdeno Chara with Hamilton.
"I take it as an opportunity to come in and show what I have," said Krug. "The coaching staff and the organization has shown a lot of confidence in me bringing me in here. I'm looking forward to it."
"What I got from the coaching staff and the organization is the confidence they have in me to step in. We wouldn't be here right now if they didn't think we could play and come in and make an impact," he added. "I'm just going to carry on business as usual, prepare for a game like it's any other game."
"What's important with us is we go down to Providence and we have the same exact system. We come up here and everything is the same—the breakouts, how we play in the D-zone."
A benefit that has become increasingly apparent this season is the ability for depth defensemen in Providence to easily step into the lineup.
Coach Julien has said that during the lockout, he spent time in Providence, watching their D-corps develop, and saw four or five blueliners he would be confident stepping into the Boston lineup, if need be.
"It helps everybody because [Providence Bruins Head Coach] Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff seem to see the game the same way that we do. There’s a good connection there in the way we coach our teams—very much the same approach," said Julien.
"I know in talking to Bruce, the things we do he does as well, so it’s an easy transition for the players. That’s important because coaches have their own styles, and the one thing you don’t want to do is make them change where they’re comfortable to force them to do something."
"Sometimes that happens in the minors, a coach coaches a certain way and in the NHL they coach a different way. There’s a transition there and you have to adapt, but we’re fortunate that both Bruce and I seem to have the same approach and the same philosophies. It makes the transition for players a lot easier."
But not only does Coach Julien see the confidence in his younger blueliners, the team sees it as well.
"They’re young, but Bart [Matt Bartkowski] is pretty much older than me, and especially after he scored that goal, he showed a lot of confidence. He’s been moving the puck really well. I think Dougie is coming into his own here," said Tyler Seguin. "We have the utmost confidence in them."
And having a young, excited group on the back end could only help the Bruins get even more of a lift, seeing how excited the defensemen are to step into the lineup and make an impact.
"Definitely. You can feed off that," said Shawn Thornton, who noted Bartkowski and Hamilton played "unbelievable" in Game Seven. "Those kids are, they’re really special with the puck when they’re going, and when they’re playing with confidence. It was good to see."
Projected Boston Lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com and updates on Twitter @NHLBruins ^CS for lineup information and more from the locker room heading into Game One against New York...