TORONTO, ON - Following their 5-2 win over Toronto Monday night to take a 2-1 series lead, the Bruins held an optional skate at the Air Canada Centre Tuesday afternoon. While always even-keeled, and quickly shifting their focus from the Game 3 victory to the Game 4 task at hand, the Bruins were still visibly in a post-win mood as they went about their day at the ACC.
Sixteen Bruins hit the ice for the brief skate, led by the assistant coaches. Tuukka Rask stayed off the ice after his 46-save performance last night, with Anton Khudobin the goaltender on the ice for the workout.
Milan Lucic was the only member of his high-powered playoff line to take the ice, with David Krejci and Nathan Horton staying off, along with the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell wore their usual merlot, with Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Jaromir Jagr in their grey. Jay Pandolfo, Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg were all wearing the green jerseys.
Defensemen who took part in the optional included Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Aaron Johnson.
Meanwhile, B's bench boss Claude Julien was available to the media a walk down from the locker room, and he was asked if there had been a seminal moment yet for him in this series.
"I'd say it's been a close series, it's pretty obvious when you look at - nevermind the score - but you look at how the game's been played," said Julien, of the tight series.
"Some nights mistakes are costing goals on both sides. I said it after Game 2, the outnumbered situations that we gave up in Game 2 are what cost us the game. It was some breakouts from the Leafs last night that we took advantage of."
"Overall, it's been a physical series, a clean, but physical series. We've seen a lot of wars in other series, as we all know. It's been well played and both teams have had their chances and last night we were a team that took advantage of our opportunities and tomorrow night is another game."
Both teams and both coaches throughout this series have preached the game-by-game mentality. Just three days ago, it was the Bruins waking up following a loss, with the series tied at 1-1.
"As I mentioned, since the start of the series, we know that we're going to be in for a dog fight and that next game is going to be another challenge. They know that they can play with us, they've proven it."
About an hour and a half before the B's hit the ice, the Maple Leafs held a full practice in preparation for Game 4, with Mike Kostka the only Toronto player not taking part. He suffered a broken finger in Game 1 and has been out of the lineup since. With their roster from Game 3 participating in the skate, it appeared that, at least for Tuesday's practice, Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle had stuck with fairly the same lineup.
The only change was Phil Kessel rejoining center Tyler Bozak and left wing Joffrey Lupul, with Matt Frattin (who started Game 3 alongside Bozak/Lupul) skating with Nazem Kadri at center and Ryan Hamilton on the left wing.
Toronto's practice had begun with their team light-heartedly employing stick taps to all of the late-comers to the ice. Though Carlyle said it's often tough to come to the rink after a loss like in Game 3, it was actually just a product of a building malfunction, making the clock in the arena six minutes faster than the one in the dressing room.
"It’s part of flushing because it didn’t feel good coming to the rink this morning. Everybody’s sore, everybody’s tired, everybody’s not feeling good because they didn’t get the desired result," said Carlyle, on the interesting beginning to the Leafs' skate. "But we can’t change what happened last night. We have to prepare ourselves for the next battle and that’s tomorrow night."
"If you can provide some antidote of humor into the day it kind of flushes and it starts the day with a fresh outlook."
"The sun did come out today. It was sunny out there, and that would be the way that we want to flush things and turn the page on it, and today’s a new day."
The sun came up for both teams just the same, though it may have felt a little warmer for the Bruins, but in what is turning out to be a tight series, neither club is taking that feeling for granted.
Stay tuned to BostonBruins.com and on Twitter @NHLBruins ^CS for more coverage heading into Game 4…