The Canadiens and Bruins held morning skates in Boston ahead of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night (7:30 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The Bruins hit the ice at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Canadiens at 11:30 a.m. The Canadiens’ morning skate was an optional with Max Pacioretty the only player absent. Coach Michel Therrien also wasn’t on the ice.
“It’s an optional practice and I took the option, too,” Therrien told reporters in Boston, adding that Pacioretty was fine.
After the skate, Therrien said he wouldn’t reveal his starting lineup until just before game time.
“We’re playing against the best team,” Therrien told reporters. “Underdog or not, the Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now. We understand that it’s a huge challenge not only for us, but for all of the teams that play them. They finished in first place and it was well-deserved. We’re confident, though. I like the way that we finished the year. That gave us the confidence we needed coming into the playoffs. We had a really good first round. The way that we played in the first round gave us confidence for the next step.”
You can listen to Therrien’s morning press conference by clicking here.
Brad Marchand did not take part in the Bruins’ morning skate with coach Claude Julien saying only: “He took his option.”
Daniel Paille took Marchand’s spot on the second line at the skate. Paille, who has been sidelined since suffering an upper-body injury in the final regular-season game, will be a game-time decision on whether he plays.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked by reporters in Boston after the morning skate if there is a little extra emotion in the locker room after some time off.
“I think it would be the same no matter what,” he said. “Guys are excited just being in the playoffs so the day before or two days before that, I think everybody is just looking forward to getting it started.”
Julien was also asked about Milan Lucic maturing and becoming a focal point of a playoff series.
“It just means he’s doing his job,” Julien said. “He is a physical player, a good player and if the attention is towards him, that means he’s doing his job.”
Listen to the audio of Julien’s morning press conference by clicking here.
Here’s how the Bruins’ lines and defence pairings looked:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Paille – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton
Chara – Boychuk
Meszaros – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Krug
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)
(Morning skate locker-room videos by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell in Boston)
Guy Lafleur gives his series pick (video by The Gazette’s Allen McInnis)