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Bruins Earn 9 Of Possible 10 Points On Homestand, But Team Still Aiming To Improve

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Milan Lucic celebrates his OT game winner. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Milan Lucic celebrates his OT game winner. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — In sports, results are always what matters most. And in that regard, the Bruins were nearly perfect in their five-game homestand, going 4-0-1 and collecting nine out of a possible 10 points to climb the Eastern Conference standings.

Yet in terms of sustainability, the process is equally as important as the results, and the Bruins know if they hope to maintain their current level of success, they have to improve.

“We weren’t perfect,” Claude Julien said after the B’s beat the Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime. “We aren’t a perfect team, but we are a good team. It’s one of those things — there’s breakdowns. I’m not standing here saying I’m happy, but the guys worked hard. And we need to be sharper mentally and make some better decisions, but you have to give the other team credit. They came in here, and they’re a team that forechecks hard, they play a heavy game, they battle hard. They did that to us in Columbus and that’s what they did to us again tonight. So we got through it and won the game and now we’re going to Ottawa hoping to win another one.”

With little time to celebrate Thursday night’s victory, the focus on Friday night will be trying to limit the types of mistakes that led to a series of opportunities for the Blue Jackets on Thursday. Fortunately for Boston, backup goaltender was sharp, even though he admitted he didn’t necessarily feel his best in the first two periods.

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“Sometimes, you’ve kind of got to fake it every now and then, you know, kind of show that you’re feeling great, but I kind of just battled and got more comfortable,” Johnson said after stopping 32 of 34 shots faced in 64-plus minutes. “In the third period, I felt great. The guys did a good job killing penalties and really forcing them to shoot pucks from some tough areas. It was just good to get the two points.”

Johnson came up huge particularly in the third period, when he stopped all 12 shots from the Blue Jackets. He then made a snazzy glove save on a point-blank backhand from Nick Foligno in overtime, keeping the Bruins alive before Milan Lucic eventually scored the game-winner.

“We weren’t a bad team tonight. There were some breakdowns but it was tough for us,” Julien said. “It was a bit of a challenge but we persevered.”

The ever-honest Brad Marchand liked the results, but the team is still working to play its best game.

“We know we have to be better, we have a really good team here, and we want to live up to our expectations. I think we’re coming around,” Marchand said. “That’s what you want to be able to do. You want to take it game-by-game and try to get as many points as you can. We have to keep building, and keep working on our game.”

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Last season, the Bruins came up just a few goals short of winning the Stanley Cup. Partly because of that, and because 85 percent of this year’s roster was a part of last year’s team, the Bruins believe they are a top-tier team in the league. Julien said it last week, when he lamented that the Bruins “played at the level of the other team,” and it was evident again on Thursday, when Johnson admitted, “There’s always teams you think you should get points off of, and we really wanted to get the two points tonight.”

The Bruins’ having such confidence is what a championship-driven team should be, and with a four-game win streak, they now have the results to bolster their beliefs. Yet with nine games in the remaining 16 days in the month of November, plenty of work remains.

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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