All signs point to Andrew Ference returning to the lineup for tomorrow’s Game 1. Ference breezed through practice today without limitations and should be ready to go.
“We want him to come in at 100 percent,” Claude Julien said. “Nothing less. He seems pretty good. So if he’s 100 percent tomorrow, he’s going to be in.”
Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy would most likely battle for the final spot on defense.
* The Bruins are coming off a sweep and the subsequent rest, leading to questions about rust. On the other hand, Carolina might be worn down after a seven-game battle with New Jersey, but the Hurricanes are still riding the emotion of the first round. “These are the cards we’ve been dealt,” said Julien. “This is the opportunity we earned to get some rest and get our players back to 100 percent. Let’s take advantage of it. Let’s not look at it in a negative way. Maybe we haven’t played in nine days. But they’ve had two days off from a seven-game series. There’s pros and cons to both. They might not have had a chance to rest. But they’re also in the groove.”
* One matchup is certain: Zdeno Chara against Eric Staal. “Clearly he’s a bigger man than most. Or all,” said Paul Maurice. “But there’s far, far more to the game. One of the things is that he has a great sense of the game. He has a good understanding. He knows the game. He’s not all physical. He’s mental. Second is he’s in great shape. With some defense pairings, you can work lines on and off the ice because he has to take the rest. He can just stay. He conserves his energy very well. He’s a very, very fit man. And you’re not going to run him under the boat. There are a lot of nights you can try that. He gets stronger. He’s one of the elite defensemen in the league. He’ll be on the ice 99.99 percent of the time Eric Staal will be on the ice.”
* Julien on finally starting the second round after nine days off: “It’s about time.”