Before making their way on up to Philadelphia for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Flyers, the Boston Bruins held a solid 50-minute team practice at the TD Garden Friday morning.
Coming off a full seven-game series against the Montreal Canadiens, the B's were given the day off yesterday...but today was all about business.
Before the entire team hit the sheet of ice this morning, the main group of power-play skaters, plus a couple more, were involved in an intense 15-20 session of man-advantage drill with assistant coaches Geoff Ward and Doug Jarvis.
After going an abysmal 0-for-21 -- and becoming the first team in NHL history to advance in a Stanley Cup playoff round without scoring a power-play goal -- the B's put in a little extra time and emphasis on the PP. But overall, they're not changing much in terms of their game.
"I think the one thing that I can tell you about our team is that we don’t need to change a lot of things," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien after the morning skate. "We obviously have to get better in certain areas, but I don’t think as a whole our team has to change a lot.
The Black and Gold squeaked by the Habs in a long, greuling seven-game series. Two of those games went into overtime, a third went into double-OT, and Games 6 and 7 were back-to-back home-and-home games. But the coach won't make any excuses for his team being tired at this point of the season.
"I don’t think that I’m going to stand here and say, oh we’re tired because we didn’t get enough time off. They got an extra day [yesterday]," Julien said. "I don’t think it’s going to be an issue for us and our guys seemed to have good jump this morning."
One adjustment that the Bruins are aware of will certainly be the size and physical play of the Flyers'. Montreal was loaded with speed and skill up front, now the Bruins have to prepared for those similarly skilled Philly skaters, as well as their more aggressive, physical play.
"I think it will be a bit different series for sure," said Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. "They're great on the transition. These guys are bigger up front and very skilled.
"All of them. Even their top lines are hard to play against," added the enforcer." They're heavy on their stick. They're not afraid to battle, and we're kind of built the same way so it should be a good series."
"Obviously they’re a little bit of a bigger team and they do have some skill up front. Montreal had some skill up front," added Julien on the comparison between the two teams."I think a lot what has to be done here will be about us more than it will be about their hockey club and what we need to change from our point of view."
Knowing all too well what happened between these two teams last year, the Bruins -- on the surface -- seemed to have moved on from that historical collapse. The only looking back is as far as this past regular season-series matchup, where Boston posted a 3-0-1 record against the Flyers and outscored the Black-and-Orange 12-9.
"We match up well against them," said Julien. "We've got to go in there with some confidence and obviously some determination. Playoffs is a different situation than the regular season, but again as I mentioned it’s just one of those things that we feel that we don’t have to change a ton of things. And if there’s adjustments to make along the way, we just have to be prepared to make them."