B's Travel to Pittsburgh, Get Set for Extra Motivated Pens Squad
PITTSBURGH, PA - On Tuesday morning, the Bruins jetted off to Pittsburgh, in advance of their matchup against the Penguins on Wednesday night.
With a practice in the confines of CONSOL Energy Center, the B's went through their usual paces with rushes, high intensity battling drills and special teams work among the mix, as they get set for what is being pegged as a "rematch" of the Eastern Conference Final.
We all know how that what went for both sides. So, with the Penguins going up against the team that swept them decisively in the Conference Final less than five months ago, the Bruins are knowingly expecting a team with jump.
"They're going to be very motivated to play us extremely hard and that's just the way it goes, you know?" said Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara, following the team's skate in Pittsburgh. "Usually we play each other hard anyways but with the history of playoff series, it usually means teams get extra jump for the other teams."
"We should be ready for that and we should obviously expect that. So it's not like we don't know who we're playing against, and that goes for every team every night we play. We know it's an extremely talented and strong team and it's always going to be a challenge to play against these type of players and these kind of teams."
That extra jump is something the B's have experienced before, and will likely feel the effects of when facing Chicago for the first time this season.
"I don't think there's anything we can do tomorrow to get back to last spring," Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma told media Tuesday afternoon. "I certainly didn't want to look ahead in any way, shape or form the last road trip, but we knew we were coming home to play Boston, and the first time we'd be playing them again and it absolutely is a rivalry game."
The game, similar to last week in Buffalo, is being broadcast on NBC Sports Network as a "Rivalry Night."
"You try to treat it like another day but there should be a little extra intensity because of the fact that we did play them in the playoffs," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
"I think you’re always a little extra motivated. But I don’t think you really dwell on what’s happened."
"Certainly we want to make sure that we finish a little bit better than the last game we played against them. So you want to find a way to win the game but ultimately I think [that proving yourself is] something that will take time."
For the B's captain, the approach is simple.
"You know what? I don't look back, to be honest with you," said Chara, who likely hasn't dwelled on it with his teammates, though the questions from media make it top of mind.
"It was just the way it went. That's the way it went. It's in the past and it's a new season. Again, you can't really be looking back too much on teams and series, that's the way it goes."
"You just, at least for us, look ahead. and I'm sure they do the same thing as well. They put last year behind and we did too and you just want to focus on this season."
The Bruins, 7-4-0 on the season, are looking to bounce back from their 4-3 last-minute loss to New Jersey on Saturday, while Pittsburgh, 8-4-0, had strung together three straight losses before a 3-1 win in Carolina on Monday night.
"You guys all help I’m sure – to build it up and make it big," said Pens defenseman Paul Martin, on the "importance" of the game. "I think the players, we approach it as just another game and obviously I think there’s a little incentive for us too by the way that the series was and the type of team that we have in here, I can see why people would build it up to be something bigger."
"As far as we’re concerned, it’s a big game. I think we want to bounce back from our loss," said Julien, who's expecting a strong performance from his club, and not because of any extra hype around it in Pittsburgh.
"To me, there’s probably no doubt that there’s always something that still stings from something like that. They’re a good team and they were last year, too. We got off to a real good start and somehow found a way to sweep that series but as I said last year after it was done, it wasn’t as spread out or as easy as it looked."
"So we were kind of happy to end it at that time because it could have been a little bit different."
Latest on Loui
If you missed Monday's update from Ristuccia Arena, Loui Eriksson stopped by the rink.
"He’s doing better I guess. ‘I guess’ is because you never know," Julien told reporters after Monday's skate in Wilmington, MA at the B's practice facility.
"The one good news is that he did show up this morning. He came by and that’s usually good news when a guy can leave his home and come to the rink."
"So we’re taking it day-by-day with him. I think right now, you’re probably not going to see him in the next week and I don’t think he’s going to skate in the next week so I guess we can put it at that stage for now."
Former Bruin Chuck Kobasew left the Penguins' game in Carolina Monday night after a collision with Tim Gleason. The winger was deemed out 3-4 weeks with a lower body injury.
The Penguins are also missing veteran defenseman Rob Scuderi to injury, along with forwards James Neal and Beau Bennett.
Practice LinesWhite Jerseys: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Gold: Reilly Smith-Patrice Bergeron-Brad Marchand
Grey: Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Jordan Caron
Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuck, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Chad Johnson
Practice Photo: Chris Kelly gets set to use the saw, as he and Zdeno Chara prepare their sticks before practice in Pittsburgh at the CONSOL Energy Center.