With the temperatures reaching the high 80s outside the TD Garden and the inside warmer than usual as well, the ice surface didn’t seem exactly to the Bruins’ liking in their Game 3 homecoming.
Tuukka Rask was, perhaps, the most vocal about it, letting drop an expletive in discussing the ice after the game with NBC’s Pierre McGuire.
But he wasn’t the only one displeased.
“It is pretty bad,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “When you try to shoot, try to swing your blade on the ice, it feels like it’s sandpaper. It’s really rough. When you try to pass, the puck bounces.
“That’s why you have to keep the game simple, like I said. If there’s a play to be made, you have to make sure it’s an easy one. If not, you’d rather choose to go over the wall and out.”
It wasn’t a problem at the start of the periods, Rask said. But after that?
“Pretty quickly it got really chippy,” Rask said. “It’s tough to get the read off of shots when it’s really a mess out there with the ice. You just got to be extra careful with the crazy bounces and stuff.
“You don’t want to make any stupid mistakes playing the puck either. You just got to be extra careful.”
While Shawn Thornton wasn’t interested in criticizing the bull gang and its preparation of the surface, he did note that choppy ice isn’t always a problem for every hockey player.
“It doesn’t make a difference to me,” he said. “When it’s horrible ice, everyone comes down to having my hands. Probably works to my advantage.”
While the Bruins’ penalty kill has been exemplary, the power play has also impressed, something that wasn’t the case in their last Stanley Cup run. The Bruins scored one of their two goals with the man advantage in Monday’s Game 3.
“For the most part I think what you’ve seen is when you add a guy like [Jaromir] Jagr, when you put a guy like [Torey] Krug, who is extremely good on the power play, you’ve plugged in some certain holes or added to that depth,” coach Claude Julien said. “Now you have a second power play that can do the same kind of thing.
“There’s a lot of things that have happened, like at the trade deadline, guys called up, that’s really kind of stabilized, helped us on the power play.”
Julien pointed out that the Bruins had other opportunities in Game 3. It wasn’t just getting lucky on the one shot that they converted. As he put it, “Our power play right now is maybe not perfect, but it’s a lot better.”
Meanwhile, Chicago’s power play has struggled.
“We’ve won battles, and I think that’s what it comes down to,” the Bruins’ Milan Lucic said. “When you’re on the power play, you want to try to outwork the PK, and when you’re on the PK, you want to try to outwork the power play.”
He added, “It’s nice not having to talk about how our power play’s been awful in these playoffs, like it was two years ago.”
Gregory Campbell’s absence on the fourth line has caused Julien to switch his lines, which has led to the emergence of Daniel Paille of late. As Campbell cracked, “I guess we found out the problem, me and Thorty have been holding him back the last two years.” . . . Julien also quipped of the new-and-improved third line: “A lot of the credit goes to them. I’m just a little ticked off that I didn’t put them together sooner.” . . . Julien said that the pregame injury sustained by Zdeno Chara on Monday was a cut over the eye suffered when he fell after a collision with Lucic. He joked that, unlike the injuries to Nathan Horton and Marian Hossa in the last week, “That’s not a hidden injury.”
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.