BOSTON – After a full day of rest, the Boston Bruins suited back up at the TD Garden this morning for their first practice before heading to the City of Brotherly Love, as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.
Before the entire squad hit the sheet of ice — only the top-9 forwards, plus defensemen Zdeno Chara, Tomas Kaberle, Dennis Seidenberg, and Johnny Boychuk, and netminders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khodubin were participating — the Bruins worked on power play drills for a solid 15-20 minutes with Assistant Coaches Doug Jarvis and Geoff Ward.
After going 0-for-21 against the Canadiens in the Quarterfinals, the B’s rotated Michael Ryder and Nathan Horton as their right-wingers on the power play unit with David Krejci and Milan Lucic up front; Kaberle and Boychuk on the point. A lot of passing work was done — from the corner, to half-wall, and D-to-D. Lucic, primarily, parked his 6-foot-4 body at the top of the crease — focusing on screens and tips from Boychuk’s bombs.
The second unit had Chara and Seidenberg on the blue-line, with Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron up front, and another right-wing juggle between Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand. And like Lucic, Recchi spent the PP practice cycling from the corner to his “office” in front of the net.
“We’re confident that we’re going to get our power play going and we need to find solutions,” said head coach Claude Julien after the 50 minute practice. “We need our guys to step it up and we all need to be part of the solution. And that’s what we’re trying to do here right now. I think it’s going to be important for our hockey club here moving forward that that area of our game does get better.
“We’re still in the groove here and we’re still, our mindset seems to be there,” he added. “I really felt our team had some good jump this morning. I think they had some good focus.”
The coach then held a penalty-kill meeting behind closed doors immediately following the morning drills. Obviously extra attention to their special teams play is being addressed before this huge series.