On Monday morning, the Bruins held practice at the TD Garden in preparation for their game against the archrival Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. Yes, that's right, the NHL and the Bruins are back, and what better way to get back into the swing of things than to welcome in the hated Habs?
Both teams are neck-and-neck in the standings. The Bruins sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 65 points, and Montreal is close behind in eighth with 64 points. Needless to say, Tuesday's tilt will be a big one.
Zdeno Chara, Miroslav Satan, Tim Thomas and new gold medal winner Patrice Bergeron were all absent from Monday morning's practice, as they will return from the Olympics on Tuesday.
While the non-Olympian Bruins definitely enjoyed the two-week midseason break, they're ready to get back into the grind of the NHL season and have a strong playoff push. The fact that the Bruins will play the Canadiens right out of the gate at home should help the team be ready.
"I think anytime we play them, it's a huge game and add to that how close we are in the standings, it shouldn't be a problem getting up for this game and getting right back into the swing of things," Milan Lucic said. "I think we've had some good practices over the last four days, and we're refreshed and ready to go."
Another thing the Bruins are at the present moment is healthy, which is something they haven't been able to say for pretty much the whole season.
"It feels pretty good, and it's been a while, and hopefully, that continues," head coach Claude Julien said of not having to give an injury update.
Now Julien and his team will just have to see which of these healthy players are in the lineup come Thursday when they take on the Maple Leafs. The NHL trade deadline is this Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, but as Julien said, that's out of his and his players' control.
"There really isn't anything you can do about it, and you work with the guys you have," Julien said. "Right now, the players I have here, are the players I plan on having and until I'm told otherwise. That's how I'm approaching it. Last year, we did that, and that's exactly what we got. We didn't give up much and got a couple players to give us some depth, and it worked out well for us."
Here are the lines from practice:
Daniel Paille-Marc Savard–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Marco Sturm–Vladimir Sobotka–Milan Lucic
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz
Andrew Ference-Dennis Wideman
Derek Morris-Matt Hunwick
Mark Stuart-Johnny Boychuk