First guy I spoke with after practice today was Bryan McCabe. "We were flat," he said, repeating the mantra from the post-game. "Glad to be going on to Boston and another game right away."
Artem Anisimov's locker, another favorite spot to visit, was vacant. The Russian center was given a maintenance day, according to coach John Tortorella, and did not practice. But Tortorella said he would be in the lineup for the TD Garden matinee. Whatever came up last night wasn't enough to prevent the coach from thinking about using him in the fifth round of the shootout. "It was either Artie or Cally, I went with Cally," he said.
"We have our (first) three (Christensen, Zuccarello, Wolski) and Dubi had a goal," he said, so he chose him for No. 4, and acknowledged that he thought about players without much ice time in the third period going one on one. "Erik was iced....I tried to get Zook on on the power play in the third….I have to be cognizant of that."
Christensen, for example, a shootout veteran with a terrfic success rate, said he skated a bit to get loose because his feet were cold.
"Even when you think about your lineups, you think about guys for shootouts, it’s a different scenario as a coach with that silly thing," Tortprella said.
Which brings us to the lineup for the Bruins game, the first of two against them in the final seven. Tortorella said his mind wasn't made up. In fact, he is wrestling with whether or not to break up the Vinny Prospal-Christensen-Marian Gaborik trio.
"It’s a line that was playing well. In my mind, I want it to play well. I’m trying to force it to play well. I don’t think they were dreadful offensively through these past few games, but you’ve got to make sure we get things done defensively. It just seems like they get hemmed in quite a bit. I’d like it to work but not sure what I’m going to do…"
IMO, after scoring just two goals in 125 minutes this week, Sean Avery could be back after sitting for four of the last five. That likely would mean Wojtek Wolski or Mats Zuccarello sits and perhaps Christensen or Prospal drops down.
If you read between the lines, when Tortorella says... "We need to get back to who we are...we need to get back to our style of game", that indicates forechecking and an in-your-face attitude. That's Avery.
The Bruins should help trigger a higher battle level than Florida or Ottawa, players and Tortorella said, and will not look past Beantown. "I’m not even thinking about who we might be playing later or even the playoffs, we’re just trying to get there...I’m glad we get an afternoon game. You don’t have to overcoach, have a bunch of meetings, just go play."