By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON The Bruins have completely fortified their walls for the invading Habs now that their series finally gets going Thursday night at TD Garden, and the Boston lineup has taken full shape. While Chris Kelly was among a scarce number of Bs regulars getting some last loops around the ice during a sparsely-attended optional skate before Game 1 opens up the 33rd matchup between the Big Bad Bruins and the High Flying Canadiens, the rest of the Bruins were getting their playoff minds right.Our emotions have nothing to do with, to me, with the physical part of the game, Claude Julien said. We need to play within the rules no matter what. And I dont know if its emotion more than its discipline, and its about focus. So theres no doubt, theres two teams that are here today that are very excited about starting these playoffs, and were one of those teams.Rookie wunderkind Tyler Seguin will be a healthy scratch as expected, and Claude Julien said the Bruins have decided on the 20 players theyll be going with for tonights Game 1 statement. The team will make adjustments accordingly. Shane Hnidy and Matt Bartkowski will be the healthy scratches for the Bruins on defense with Steve Kampfer working his way back from a knee injury suffered last weekend.
The scratch isnt such a bad thing for the 19-year-old Seguin to sit and watch the playoff-level of intensity to start things off, but theres a very good chance theyll need him on the power play before its all said and done in these Stanley Cup playoffs.Theres no logic here, Julien said. I think its just weve got twenty guys in our line-up tonight that we feel is the line-up we want to go with. Concord, Mass. native, Boston Bruins and Providence College alum Hal Gill is a key statue-like figure for the Montreal Canadiens given his defensive shutdown capabilities and his 6-foot-7 size at defenseman. His size, strength and courageous willingness to block shots means Gill will get the call time after time against the Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton line.Gill admitted the Bs first line had a little bit of everything with size, speed and scoring ability, but said the Habs focus will be on simply executing the speed transition game plan rather than exacting revenge or taking numbers.We need to start off winning a game," Gill said. "Thats what were focusing on. Its not about revenge or anything else other than focusing on the task at hand. I dont think you can look at any of the CharaPacioretty stuff and carry it around with you. We need to simply rely on the fact that we can move a level up in the playoffs. Tim Thomas wasnt on the ice for the Bs optional skate, but is expected to get the call from now until their final postseason game this spring.Marc Savard is still resting and recuperating from a concussion suffered back in January against the Colorado Avalanche, and Julien said he hasnt really made any marked improvement since initially suffering his fourth head injury.Ive kept in contact with Savvy every week or so," Julien said. "We communicate, and things havent changed in his case, and its unfortunate for him, Im sure hes going to be sitting at home and watching these games and wishing he could be part of it because as a player that part of you will never leave. This it the most exciting time of the year, and I know he loved the times that he was in the playoffs. And he was obviously a pretty important part of the success of our hockey club. So will we miss his play? Absolutely. You dont lose an elite player like him and not feel it. Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri definitely busted out an outlier amid his remarks while discussing the Habs 7-0 loss to the Bruins the last time the team came to TD Garden to play, and must have done well on the SAT verbal portion of the test.We didnt get any revenge," Cammalleri said. "We didnt show up. Those ones are easy to put out of your mind and completely bury. It was an outlier and we treated it like that.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.
By Joe Haggerty