Bruins sweep their disappointment aside
WILMINGTON — The Bruins were busy resting yesterday, if such a thing is possible.
After letting a second-round sweep of the Flyers slip away with a 5-4 overtime loss in Philadelphia Friday night, the banged-up Bruins stayed off the ice yesterday.
They’ll count heads today at practice and see who’s ready to go for tomorrow night’s Game 5 at TD Garden.
With a boisterous Boston crowd behind them, the Bruins appear confident that they can wrap up the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. Though only a handful of players was at Ristuccia Arena for medical treatment, they seemed relaxed. Tired, but relaxed. The Bruins, 5-0 at home this postseason, would reach their first conference final since 1992 with a win.
“If we could have got it done last game, I would have been happy about that,’’ said Shawn Thornton. “We’ll focus the same way. Being back at home, hopefully the energy of the crowd will help. We did a pretty good job, all playoffs, staying on an even keel and focusing the same way for every game, so we’ve got to continue to do that.’’
The Bruins have been leaning on a dwindling corps of defensemen. Dennis Seidenberg took his first skate in four weeks yesterday, but he’s not ready to return from a lacerated tendon in his left forearm. Adam McQuaid is recovering from a leg injury and is day to day. Mark Stuart, whose infected finger kept him out of the lineup for 14 games, played in Game 4 with mixed results, as he sometimes struggled to keep up with the pace.
The forward depth chart, which lost David Krejci in Game 3 to a dislocated right wrist, added Trent Whitfield, and then survived Game 4 without obvious injury. Most of the lines are adapting to recent combinations, such as Patrice Bergeron centering Daniel Paille and Mark Recchi.
“We showed some character and came back in the game, but at the same time I don’t think we put out our best effort, we’ve got to be better,’’ said Bergeron. “[The Flyers] are a good team, they played desperate [Friday] night. We knew they were going to do that but we didn’t match it necessarily — that desperation — the whole game, and we just need to take advantage of our home crowd. And learn from [Friday] night — don’t get too high, don’t get too low.’’
The Flyers, just as banged up as the Bruins, got Simon Gagne back for Game 4. Gagne, who missed the first three games of the series with a broken right big toe, scored the winner Friday night, tipping Matt Carle’s pass past Tuukka Rask at 14:40 of OT.
The return of Gagne, the Flyer with the longest tenure at 10 seasons, was significant to some Bruins, less so for others.
“He’s a really good player, and obviously any time you can get a guy that’s scored 40 goals two years in a row back in the lineup, it’s going to help,’’ said Thornton. “As far as balance, I’m not sure, I didn’t look at the minutes. They definitely played a good game. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. There were no surprises there.’’
Bergeron agreed. “Obviously, there’s more offense adding [Gagne] to the lineup,’’ he said.
Not all the Bruins were impressed.
“I don’t even know that he was back in the lineup,’’ said Vladimir Sobotka. “It doesn’t matter who they get back.’’