BOSTON, MA - The Bruins now have Game 1 against Montreal officially in their sights, with the NHL announcing Thursday's 7:30 p.m. game time.
The rest of the series' schedule will come sometime after the conclusion of the first round, which had three Games 7s on tap for Wednesday night.
Both Boston and Montreal were expecting the possibility of more time off, but regardless of what they were originally banking on, the Bruins and Habs will be ready to carry over their rivalry when the puck drops on Thursday night.
"You just try to focus on the day at hand and whatever you've got to do," said Tuukka Rask, following the Bruins' practice at TD Garden on Wednesday. It marked their second practice this week following two days off. "Our preparation is the same."
It doesn't allow as much time for pre-scout video sessions, but as Rask claimed, "we'll be ready for tomorrow."
"We had to make some adjustments," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Obviously at first, it looked more like a Friday, maybe Saturday. There was a lot of that talk, but there was never any talk of Thursday, so you plan accordingly and then you find out last night that you've got to kind of move a little quicker than expected, so that’s part of making adjustments as you go along."
One thing the Bruins do know for sure, though, is that they got their rest following a five-game series against Detroit, and even those few days helped the group, before they began their preparation on and off the ice for the next round.
"Two full days off with Sunday and Monday, being able to get our rest, I thought we had two pretty good practices here," said Milan Lucic. "And obviously finding out late last night that we were starting tomorrow, which sometimes can be a good thing because it doesn’t give you an opportunity to kind of overthink it — you can just kind of worry about your game and doing what you did in the last series."
"You hope that you can carry that over into the next round, and obviously we know as you move along in the playoffs, everything gets tougher and the intensity and the emotion and everything goes up another level, and we’re ready for that and we’re ready for tomorrow to start."
While the Bruins will have been off from game action for four days, Montreal will have gone since April 22 and their Game 4 win over the Lightning.
"They definitely had a lot of time off," acknowledged Brad Marchand, when asked how a player balances getting good rest, and too much rest. "It can be good in the sense where guys have the time to recover from any injuries or bumps and bruises, but as long as you practice hard and stay in the right mindset, then everything will be fine."
Building on First Round
While the slate is wiped clean in the playoffs, the Bruins can certainly carry over what they were able to do against Detroit to the second round.
"As far as each time you go on, we expect it to be tougher," said Jarome Iginla.
"But at the same time, our focus is on the things that we've done all year and want to continue doing - skating, being physical, getting to the net, competing hard and there's more, but it's those things and as the series goes on, you always make adjustments."
"Just looking forward to getting this started. We've had a long enough break, and it's been a good few days to regroup, but it's nice that it's coming right now."
The Bruins and Habs know each other well. There are no secrets. They've met countless times in the past (this will mark their 34th postseason meeting) and in the present (their fourth playoff meeting since 2008). They saw each other four times during the regular season, with the Bruins having a 1-2-1 record.
Come playoff time, how easy is it to hit reset?
"Well the playoffs, it's always a new season and you never know who you're going to face, but if you want to be the champion, you've got to beat everybody," said Rask. "So I think we're focused on a series at a time, and now it's Montreal and we're focused on them, and we'll try to get our game where it needs to be in order to advance."
Florek Doing "Everything We've Asked"
For the wide-eyed Justin Florek, being part of a Stanley Cup Playoffs locker room has been everything he could have asked for, and more. He's around veterans, leaders, Cup champions, and he got contribute during the first round series, stepping in for Chris Kelly alongside Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, scoring his first career NHL postseason goal along the way.
There's no knowing yet, whether Florek will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the second round, with vet Daniel Paille possibly making his return. But either way, the experience has already paid dividends for the second year pro.
"It's everything and more that I could have dreamed of, growing up," a smiling Florek said Wednesday from the Bruins' locker room. With his wife and daughter here in Boston, he's been able to stay even-keeled throughout the process.
"And at the same time, I just try to keep a level head. When I'm here, just live in the moment."
Though experience can never be undervalued, Florek's quick transition to fill the void up front is a testament, once again, to the Bruins' depth.
"He’s playing the way he’s been asked to play," said Julien. "He’s done everything we’ve asked for. And for a guy with very little experience, I think he’s done a good job."
Wednesday's Practice Lineup
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