The Bruins begin their second season tonight at TD Garden with Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Boston is the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the team really is approaching the game as a clean slate.
“We’re not worried about that,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said after today’s morning skate. “Everyone’s back at zero. It’s all about Game 1 now. We need to focus on that, and not about what’s in the past.”
In the past, also, is the Bruins’ 1-2-1 record against the Capitals this season. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said that doesn’t matter, either.
“Everybody at this time of year starts on the same level,” said Chara. “We need to approach it that way.”
The Bruins appeared loose at their morning skate, going about their business without much talking. During a drill, a playful jab by Tyler Seguin on Brad Marchand against the boards signaled a relaxed mood, while a mostly silent workout suggested the team was concentrating on the task at hand.
“It was a focused morning skate more than a quiet one,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “Our experience in past years has helped get us ready.”
Experience was a talking point for several Bruins players this morning. Julien said he watched the start of the NHL playoffs last night and that his family knows things are a little different this time of year. Center Chris Kelly said his mood wasn’t any different today, but he said that his mentality had to change a little bit for the postseason.
“There’s going to be great times, there’s going to be bad times,” Kelly said of the playoffs. “One thing you need to remember is as soon as that game’s over, you need to park it and focus on the next one, regardless of the outcome.”
One player whose approach has changed dramatically from last season is Seguin. As a rookie, the No. 2 draft pick wasn’t a major part of the playoff game plan. This postseason, the Bruins are counting on him.
“There’s no thought of, ‘Maybe I won’t even play tonight,'” said Seguin. “It was a year ago, but it really doesn’t even seem like it was that long ago. It’s nice to be in different shoes this time around.
“It’s a night and day difference. That whole ride that we went on and seeing everything that I saw both on the ice and off the ice makes me a lot more comfortable.”
— Chara will be paired with Dennis Seidenberg to the Bruins’ top line, the same pairing the Bruins used during last year’s playoffs. Julien warned the media not to get too focused on the Chara/Alex Ovechkin matchup.
“People are forgetting about the rest of the players in the series,” said Julien. “There’s more than those two. They’ll certainly play a big role. There’s a lot of players that can do some damage in this series, and we’ll stay aware of that.”
Adam McQuaid won’t play tonight, but Julien said he was happy with the depth has team has on defense.
“I feel very confident,” said Julien. “Everyone that we have here is very capable of playing. The other seven, you can put any one of them in there, and they all do a great job. Peter [Chiarelli] did a great job of solidifying that position for us.”