BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins are waiting to play in their first Eastern Conference finals in 19-years.
In order to get there, the Bruins had to make a comeback against their biggest rival, and followed that up with a very business-like dismantling of a team that embarrassed them just one-year ago.
“It was a matter of making sure that we stayed focused and finished the job this year,” Coach Claude Julien said of the Bruins sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final Sunday night. “Although we tried to put last year aside, it’ll always be there in the back of your minds. For us to finish it off in four and not prolong that, hear those stories, was just as important.”
But before the Bruins got a chance at exorcising their playoff collapse of 2010, they had to make a comeback against the Montreal Canadiens. A series Julien said was a “good start to us feeling better.”
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“The one thing I saw, we were making a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes,” he said of the Bruins going down 2-0 to Montreal. “They were things we hadn’t done all year. To me it just reflected on the fact that we were feeling the pressure of expectations.”
“I went into dressing room after Game 2,” recalled Julien. “I talked to the guys and said, ‘we have to calm down and just settle down, we still have a lot of time. This is a great opportunity to redeem ourselves for last year. When you’re down 0-2 to Montreal… it’s a chance to show our character and what we’re made about.’”
The Bruins will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the series schedule yet to be determined with the Western Conference Semifinals still in progress.
Julien Breaks Down The Tampa Bay Lightning
Julien compared the Lightning to the Candiens but with more size. Tampa has flashy players in Martin St. Louis (99 points), Steven Stamkos (45 goals) and Vincent Lecavalier (54 points in 65 games). They also shored up their goaltending with the deadline acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, who is 8-3 in net during the playoffs.
The Bruins will also face the possibility they will be without Patrice Bergeron for the series. Bergeron suffered a concussion in Game 4 against the Flyers, his third concussion in the last four years. He had been one of, if not Boston’s best, players in the postseason, so Julien says everyone will have to step up to fill the void.
Julien Confident In Bruins Depth
“This is an opportunity to show our depth can come up big,” said Julien. “What I liked about our team three or four years ago when (Bergeron) had that really serious concussion is that everybody took it upon themselves to cover up for the loss. We have to do that again. It can’t just be one guy stepping into his position and taking over. Our whole team has to step up and make up for it.”
Chris Kelly is expected to be moved up to the second line to take Begeron’s spot, with rookie Tyler Segiun heading to the third line.
Julien also said he does not pay attention to the criticism he receives from the media and fans, and that his focus is on the game.
“I don’t take it personally,” he said. “Fans pay to watch the game; they’re entitled to say what they want. Everyone has their opinion. I don’t take it personally. I know everyone cares.”
Julien, not one concerned with the spotlight, says this time of the year is all about his players rather than personal success.
“What you want to see is your players succeed,” said Julien. “The biggest thing for me, if I could do my job and get these guys to reach the ultimate goal, and I could walk out of the rink and no one would know who I was, I would be just as happy. For me it really isn’t about what I need to accomplish, it’s more of what id like to accomplish for the organization, the players. They’ve put in some hard times, they’ve been
Claude Julien Puts The Players First
Every game of the Bruins-Lightning playoff series can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes before each game with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show