It was an optional skate for both the Devils and the Bruins at the TD Garden on Thursday morning, and the biggest news from the skates was that Yann Danis will start for the Devils and not Martin Brodeur. This will be the first start of the season for Danis, a Brown University alum. Tim Thomas will start for the Bruins.
Other than Marco Sturm, Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton and Mark Recchi, all healthy Bruins were on the ice for the skate. The Devils, who played Wednesday night, had a minimal showing.
The Bruins are looking forward to carrying the momentum they built over the last three games, specifically their two-goal comeback win over the Senators in a shootout on Saturday. As head coach Claude Julien pointed out in his game-day press briefing, though, the team isn’t getting too far ahead of itself or resting on its recent accomplishments.
“Well, we just have to keep working at it,” Julien said. “How close are we? I can’t really answer that. All I can tell you is that we are getting better, and we are playing better, and probably finding our identity slowly, but surely. We still have lots of work to do. I don’t think this team has played as well as it can still. There is still a lot that we can improve on, and that is what we are working on right now.”
Julien stressed that consistency must be attained now, and while it’s only late October, every single point counts.
“As you can see, the standings are already pretty tight,” Julien pointed out. “We are going to have to get some sort of streak going if [we] want to move up in the standings, because winning one and losing one, or just a couple of wins and then one loss is certainly not going to do it.”
The Bruins will try to work on their 27th-ranked power play that is 6-for-40 coming into this game. Marc Savard (two goals), Ryder, Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman and Derek Morris are the only Bruins to light the lamp on the man advantage this season. Obviously, with Savard out of the lineup, the power play will suffer, but the Bruins know they can be better.
“We definitely can be better because we have the players to do it,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “We need to execute our game plan and stick with it out there. Getting more shots in and creating traffic is key, and we haven’t done that.”
The Bruins lines will appear as they were in Facing Off, with Trent Whitfield and Johnny Boychuk being the healthy scratches.