Pregame: NYI @ BOS
All of the B’s hit the ice for morning skate today at TD Garden to methodically run through all aspects of the game (faceoffs, shooting, line rushes, net-front presence), including Dennis Seidenberg, who has been deemed a game-time decision. The defenseman alternated being paired with Dougie Hamilton and Aaron Johnson during drills.
“I can tell you I’m more optimistic than pessimistic,” said Coach Julien after the skate. “We want to make sure he is ready to go.”
Tuukka Rask has started in goal for the B’s first three games and was first off the ice again at morning skate, so it can be expected that he’ll be between the pipes tonight opposite a healthy Rick DiPietro.
The Black & Gold will look to get a better start tonight against the Isles at 7 pm ET (NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub), after falling behind to the Rangers 2-0 in Wednesday’s game before fighting back to come away with a point in the 4-3 OT loss.
“I think the key is going to be for us to make sure we’re focused to start the game today and not worry about the end result as much as just making sure we come out with a good start,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid, who’s fight against NYR helped spark the Bruins bench, and lead to a stronger final 40 minutes of regulation.
“I think it’s going to be important especially with the shortened season - there’s gonna be a lot of games in a short period of time so if we had come out with a better start maybe we would have had a better result last game.”
“Obviously, we liked the way we responded being down a couple goals in another arena, but in the end we’ve got to win games,” Tyler Seguin told media at his stall from the other side of the locker room as McQuaid.
Seguin’s line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron has been generating chances throughout the past three games - but so far, only No. 63 has been able to cash in on the opportunities, with his goal coming on the often-talked-about power play - an element of the B’s game that had a revamping of sorts coming into the season.
“I think we can generate chances, but obviously it gets a little old and annoying,” said Seguin. “We keep saying we’ve been generating chances. I’m sure you guys have been saying that the last couple of years maybe now, so I think we have great units this year.”
“Once we get started again the chemistry playing with each other, I think that good things are going to happen.”
Meanwhile, the Islanders will be hoping to carry over their own come-from-behind execution in their 7-4 win last night over the Toronto Maple Leafs. And will look to do so with their offensive firepower up front and help from secondary scoring generated by the likes of former Bruin Brad Boyes.
“This is a young hockey team that has a lot of skill, obviously up front. Their back end also has some guys that can move the puck well, not only that, but can shoot the puck very well also,” B’s Head Coach Claude Julien told media following morning skate.
“Watching the game last night, they’re certainly capable of scoring goals.”
The Islanders had fallen behind 3-1 to Toronto in the first period Thursday night, before rallying to score five straight goals, including two apiece from offensive threats Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson, and a 3-point night from secondary scorer Brad Boyes.
“I’m being honest here when I say our team respects the New York Islanders because we know what they have,” said Coach Julien. “They’ve got a great lineup and some good players that, if you don’t respect them, they’ll make you pay for it.”
“They do have a lot of fire power up front, so it’s gonna be important for us to make sure that we’re aware of where they are on the ice,” McQuaid said in regards to the Islanders’ offensive capabilities. “It’s the same the same as always, you try to limit time and space and just play them hard.”
“We’re a defensive first team - focus on that and offense will come,” added center Chris Kelly. “Keep doing the little things that will lead to offensive chances.”
Some positives the B’s can take into tonight:
- Success in the faceoff circle (Boston has led in faceoffs through the first three games and has seen especially strong numbers from Kelly and Peverley on the penalty kill)
- Dougie Hamilton’s poised play, especially at the point on the PP - his vision and ability to get shots through vs the Rangers earned him his first NHL point and th game’s Second Star
- Tuukka Rask’s solid netminding and ability to make timely saves
- The monstrous play of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, who haven’t missed a beat
- This could be looked at as a negative, but the fact that the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line hasn’t hit their scoring touch yet can only mean extra firepower moving forward for the B’s whenever they hit their stride
Stay tuned to the Bruins Blog and BostonBruins.com for more coverage leading up to game-time….
-Caryn Switaj ^CS