DENVER – The Bruins had Wednesday completely off after extending their winning streak to 10 games in New Jersey on Tuesday night and Claude Julien called an optional practice on Thursday at the Pepsi Center, home of the Colorado Avalanche.
The Merlot Line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille took the ice to skate along with extra forward Jordan Caron. B’s defenseman Corey Potter, Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros, along with the injured Johnny Boychuk, also took part with backup goalie Chad Johnson.
The victory over the Devils ended a stretch of five games in seven days and is smack dab in the middle of the 17 games in 31 days in March. So, Julien felt Thursday was a perfect time to give his red-hot troops a little extra time off with a few more back-to-back games coming up over the next week.
“Just looking at the schedule for us, you really looked at this couple of days as a chance to give our team some rest,” said Julien. “We’ll be doing that here on out whenever we can.
“You see some mental mistakes being made out there, and some bad decisions at times despite the winning streak. You chalk a lot of that up to guys fighting fatigue a little bit, so having an optional today was kind of a no-brainer for us.”
The Bruins will also be playing 10 of their final 14 on the road, including this weekend’s games against the Avalanche and the Coyotes, and had this quick two time zone jaunt shoehorned in with the rest of the games.
The B’s 10-game winning streak will probably fall sooner rather than later due to the fatigue factor from a busy schedule, but the coaching staff is doing its best to get players a few pockets of rest here and there whenever possible.