WILMINGTON, Mass. — There’s sure to be some questionable ice quality when the Boston Bruins and Montreal Candiens hit the TD Banknorth Garden rink tonight for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The Boston Celtics will host the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of their conference quarterfinal series starting at 12:30 p.m. — creating a rare instance that both teams play on the same day with the Bruins going second. The Bruins game is scheduled for 8 p.m. mostly to accommodate the CBC Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
“I don’t think it’s going to be very good,” winger P.J. Axelsson said after the Bruins’ team meeting at Ristuccia Arena. “But it’s going to be the same for both teams. There’s nothing you can do about that.”
Head coach Claude Julien was asked if a shoddy ice surface favors either team. He shot down that theory, even if the Canadiens might not agree.
“Montreal’s bragging that they’re faster than we are; I know that. So that’s their choice. I guess speed kills,” said Julien, referring to Chris Higgins’ quote in today’s papers about the Habs being able to “wear down” the Bruins with speed and better skating.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas pointed out that even though today’s scheduled order of games is rare sometimes the Bruins have played a matinee when the Celtics played the night before and the ice isn’t as solid. But he held true to the notion that neither team will get an advantage from the under-par ice.
“It’ll even out for either team. It might make it harder to complete passes and stuff, but it’ll be just as hard for our team as it would be for Montreal,” Thomas said. “And there might be a couple funnier bounces because the puck’s rolling before shooting. But it all depends. You can have bad ice where the puck doesn’t do that. There’s different types of bad ice and different types of good ice.”