WILMINGTON — The Bruins were given the full weekend off. They will report to Ristuccia Arena tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. for their first practice prior to the Eastern Conference finals.
However, the coaching staff has kicked off its work to be ready for the Lightning, whenever the third round begins. Game 1 will be either Thursday or Saturday, depending on the outcomes of the Western Conference semifinals.
“The one thing they do well is they’ve good a compete level,” said Claude Julien. “They come and play hard every game. They’ve got their own system they believe in. It’s served them well. People talk a lot about the neutral zone. That’s certainly one of their strengths. Not only do they play a certain way, but they alternate. You won’t always see the 1-3-1. You might see the 1-2-2. They try and keep teams on their heels a little bit with that. The offensive zone, a lot of pucks are going to the net. They always have somebody going there. They’re really a driven team. They made it hard on teams they’ve played in the playoffs so far. They’ve had success at it.”
* Julien acknowledged that Claude Giroux’s concussion-causing hit on Patrice Bergeron in Game 4 might have been late. Julien noted that such hits — everyone in hockey speaks of finishing checks — are ingrained in the game and would require significant attention to alter. “A lot of it is culture,” Julien said. “At some point, you hope that everybody’s going to get on the same page — players, coaches, everybody involved in the game of hockey — and say, ‘We’ve got to change the culture here and try to minimize those things. But easier said than done.”
* Adam McQuaid will most likely be ready for the start of the round, according to Julien. McQuaid was part of the Black Aces group that practiced under the watch of Bruce Cassidy today. Tyler Seguin was not part of the group.