BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are set to face off against the Wings in Game 2 at TD Garden today at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Thornton was up first for player availability, entertainingly firing back and forth, as usual, with the reporters gathered in advance of the game.
"We're excited to get going here," said Thornton, of the mood in the room the past two days. "It was a close one last game - I think we could have been better, everyone knows that. So today's the day. We've kind of left the last one behind, and now we're just focusing on three o'clock today."
"Or 3:05, or 3:10, whenever the puck's dropping," he smiled. Puck drop is set for 3:20 p.m., with the game nationally televised on NBC.
The Bruins' are an experienced group, and Thornton brings 90 career playoff games into Sunday's game.
BOSTON, MA - It appears that the Bruins are on the mend, and finally getting over the flu bug that began to hit the team last weekend around the final two games of the regular season.
When the Black & Gold hit the ice for practice on Saturday at TD Garden, between Games 1 and 2 against Detroit, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller rejoined the group. Boston was without both blueliners for Game 1.
The practice marked Bartkowski's first time back skating with the team since the regular season finale on April 13. Miller had come back for practice on Thursday, but was absent for the team's optional pregame skate on Friday and did not suit up in Game 1 that night.
Does Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien expect that they will be available for Game 2?
"I don't know yet," he told reporters following the team's Saturday practice at the Garden. "Bartkowski, this is his first day of practicing this week, and Miller, this is his second, so it will depend on how they feel tomorrow [Sunday]. We've got contingency plans here, whether they play or not. So, confirmation - I can't give that to you today."
BOSTON, MA - If Game 1 is any indication, the Bruins and Red Wings could be in for a long, hard-fought series.
"Yeah, we were expecting that," said Patrice Bergeron, postgame from the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden, after Boston fell 1-0 to Detroit on Thursday night. "I mean, we were ready for a tough and long series, and we're in for that, so we're fine with it."
"We're used to to playing tight games, and we've been there before."
Neither team had an overwhelming amount of scoring chances. The tight-checking game ended with a slight 25-24 shots advantage for Boston, but it ultimately didn't matter.
Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Howard came up with acrobatic stops between the pipes at both ends. Only Pavel Datsyuk and his magic could get past the Bruins, with just 3:01 left in regulation, when he made a slick move in neutral ice, and fired a shot through Milan Lucic.
The Bruins played with an extra attacker for the final minute, but couldn't muster another shot on Howard.
"I don’t think there were any secrets in tonight’s game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Both teams played really tight defense and that’s why there weren't that many scoring chances in the game."
BOSTON, MA - Walking into the Bruins' locker room on Friday morning, there was a sense of calm confidence among the group, a composed intensity about their demeanor.
They knew what they had to do that morning, and this afternoon, and tonight, when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub). And it shouldn't be all that different from what they've done all season; the stakes are just much, much higher.
Captain Zdeno Chara sat in his locker stall, surrounding by reporters. On the other side, Patrice Bergeron soon answered questions, with other Bruins sprinkled throughout the room, all expressing excitement of getting the series going.
A few stalls down from 'Big Zee,' Johnny Boychuk had his usual, carefree nature on display, with a red #StrikeOutALS ball cap on backwards.
BOSTON, MA - In preparation for their Game 1 matchup with the Red Wings on Friday night, the Bruins held an optional pregame skate at TD Garden.
With a day off and four days of practice this week, filled with plenty of video and drills, the Bruins are more than ready for the puck to drop. So are the Red Wings.
"No updates on those guys," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said during Friday's pregame media availability, when asked about Paille and Kelly.
The Bruins' bench boss later added that Paille had hit the ice before the group for the first time this week. "He skated this morning on his own," said Julien.
BostonBruins.com - Torey Krug used to frequent "The Joe."
Growing up in Livonia, Michigan, about a half hour outside Detroit, the Red Wings were his childhood team.
When he was six, the Wings won the 1997 Stanley Cup. A year later, he witnessed another. In 2002, at just 11-years-old, he watched the Winged Wheel hoist the third Cup of his childhood, with a 23-year-old Pavel Datsyuk on the squad.
"I grew up when the Red Wings were winning a lot of Stanley Cups, and got to see a lot of great players," he has said, and highlights Nicklas Lidstrom as a player he naturally looked to growing up.
When the Bruins made a visit to Joe Louis Arena to face the Red Wings in September, during the preseason, and Krug looked on as the Zamboni made its rounds, it marked his first time on the opposing side.
He had played plenty of college hockey games there, as a member - and eventually, captain - of the Michigan State Spartans, and had suited up as a minor hockey player there. But this was different.
Since 2012, Krug's allegiances have only been in Black & Gold. When he became a Boston Bruin, he started on a swift journey that would eventually lead him to his second NHL postseason, and a first-round matchup against Detroit.
BOSTON, MA - Gameday is finaaaally here at TD Garden. Boston versus Detroit - an Original Six rivalry renewed, with both teams facing off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1957.
As the Boston faithful awoke on Friday morning, it marked the start of a new journey, knowing that along the way, there would be ups and downs, oohs and ahhs, celebrations and head shakes - all in the name of heart-racing and bone-chilling playoff hockey.
And it all starts when the puck drops on Game 1, tonight at the Garden.
As always, there are many storylines heading into this one - the history and tradition of the franchises; Detroit's speed game countered against Boston's in-your-face, hard-nosed brand of hockey; a brotherly rivalry put on hold; a Wings' team that cannot be underestimated going up against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins; the list goes on.
You can get caught up on all of those storylines here...
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins made their final preparations for Round 1 against the Red Wings on Thursday.
They also got another player back, with Kevan Miller returning to the ice for practice after missing the past two days. Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson and Andrej Meszaros had all rejoined the group on Wednesday, making it a fuller skate for the team as they run through drills to address Detroit's tendencies and prep for Game 1 on Friday.
The flu bug hit the Bruins earlier in the week, and Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had said they were managing the situation as best as they could. Having healthy bodies back appears to be a positive sign moving forward.
When asked about the availability of Paille and Kelly for Friday's Game 1, Julien said, "I don't know that it's official yet on any of that stuff. You know, again, today was another day where we added another player, so we'll see what tomorrow brings."
"It's hard for me to start giving you my lineup when I don't know what's going to happen day-to-day, so hopefully it continues to improve, as it has this week, and we'll go from there."
BostonBruins.com - Many view it as a crutch. Some view it as a bad omen. Others few view it as a foreshadowing of good things to come.
On April 12, the Bruins clinched the Presidents' Trophy as the best regular season team. They finished with 54 wins, tied for second most in franchise history. For the first time since 1939-40, they never went more than two games without a win.
Since the award's inception in 1985-86, eight teams who have claimed it went on to win the Cup.
This "trophy" could place added pressure on the Bruins, as they head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and face a first round series against the Detroit Red Wings who bring pedigree, Original Six tradition and resiliency to the matchup.
But the reality is, the Black & Gold have been faced with this pressure, and these high expectations, for a while. That escalated in 2011, and hit a pulse in 2013.
"It's the same type of pressure that we've had the last three years," said Milan Lucic. "I think there was pressure even to start this season, just making the Stanley Cup Final out of the East two out of the last three years."
Their consistency and ability to bounce back after any lapses throughout the season further proved that. Their 6-1 loss to Detroit on the eve of the Thanksgiving, and their bounce-back mentality in the aftermath, was one of those moments.
"It seems like obviously we were able to deal with that pressure real well and by going into these playoffs," Lucic said. "You just want to just remain focused and do what you need to do in order to help your team win."
WILMINGTON, MA - As the Bruins wrapped up practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday, only two days remain before Game 1 kicks off against Detroit on Friday night at TD Garden.
The late Friday start gives both sides an opportunity to rest, stay sharp and study the opposing team - while the rest of the teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin their series on Wednesday and Thursday.
"I think there's no control over it, so you just have to take it as a positive and just go along with it and try to get ready," Patrice Bergeron said following Wednesday's skate. "Obviously, the coaches have done a great job at getting us ready in the practices and also in the videos, to make sure we know the tendencies of the Red Wings, and just go with it, and be ready for Friday."
Tuukka Rask was also opting to view the extra days as a positive.
"I don't think it's going to hurt. You know, good to get a couple days of practices in, and then be ready to play," said the netminder. "It's important to get that good start, and then just keep the train rolling, so that's what we're looking forward to."