Temps in 90s could affect Garden ice

BOSTON -- With temperatures in downtown Boston hovering near the 90s on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins and the NHL were doing everything they could to keep the ice surface at TD Garden up to par for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.

But after Wednesday morning's pregame skate, members of the visiting Vancouver Canucks said the heat and humidity already had affected the ice, turning it slushy and soft.

"The ice wasn't very good at all," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "The ice is very soft and chippy. It's humid here. It can hurt you when you're coming up the ice and assume the puck is flat on your stick, but it bounces away. We just have to be careful."

The Canucks are among the NHL's fastest teams, basing much of their offensive attack on speed and precision. Yet slushy ice is common all year in warmer climates or multi-use buildings, so Vancouver doesn't expect any major limitations.

"We've been in Nashville during the playoffs, too, and it was the same or hotter," Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. "We're in the middle of June, so it's going to be this way everywhere. I don't think there's many buildings with great ice right now."

Boston coach Claude Julien disagreed, praising the Garden's staff for their maintenance.

"It looked really good," Julien said. "They made some adjustments to this building. I think it's been some great adjustments. I think the guys were pretty pleased with it last game as well."

The Bruins installed a dehumidifier for the Eastern Conference finals in order to maintain ice quality.

"It was OK," Bruins forward Rich Peverley said of the ice Wednesday. "Obviously, pucks are going to bounce in any rink this time of the year. You have to be sharp and crisp with your passes."

Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said the conditions could dictate a more direct, conservative style of play.

"Today, I can probably imagine it's going to be, well, not so good," he said. "In the last 10 minutes of each period you're probably going to see a lot of bouncing pucks. You've got to make sure to keep it simple, play it smart and play it defensively because if there's a puck coming at you and it's bouncing, you better be backing up because at any moment it can bounce and they could get a good scoring chance."

ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and The Associated Press contributed to this report.