March 8, 2011

Disclipine the key for B's in Montreal

by Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara holds Habs forward Max Pacioretty down to the ice during the Bruins 8-6 win on Feb. 9 at TD Garden. (Getty)

WILMINGTON -- The implications on the standings in the Eastern Conference are obvious.

 With a win tonight in Montreal, the Bruins can not only further distance themselves from the Canadiens in the Northeast Division but potentially knot themselves up with the Flyers at 86 points apiece atop the East.

 Coach Claude Julien, however, believes the Black and Gold's best course of action is to keep focusing on what's been working for them as a team of late, as the Bruins will enter the tilt having taken 15 out of a possible 16 points in their last eight games.

 "We're looking at it in a way that we need to continue playing well as a team," Julien said. "That's the approach we've taken so far. Taking care of our business is the best way to move forward here."

 It's no secret what a crazy affair the last game in this heated rivalry proved to be, as Boston earned their first win in four tries against the Canadiens this season with an 8-6 victory that saw the two teams combine for 182 minutes in penalties.

"I think you've got to turn the page and go game-by-game here," Julien said when asked if there'd be a carryover from the last go-round. "There was a lot of frustration the last time we played and part of it was us sticking up for ourselves. They have a tendency to want to try to stir the pot and look innocent in those situations.

 "The bottom line is at the end of the night you have to come up with the win, and you've got to be smart enough to do that."

 The Habs penchant for on-ice shenanigans has often roped the Bruins into committing retaliatory penalties, especially on the road up at the Bell Centre.

 "They've got a pretty decent power play you have to respect," said Julien. "They've got a team that thrives on that kind of stuff. The good penalties we seem to kill, but the bad penalties end up costing us in the end."

 Keeping their composure, Julien believes, is paramount if the Black and Gold hope to push their lead in the division up to seven points with a victory.

 "It's important to be disciplined, especially now with every team battling for a playoff spot," he said. Discipline becomes really important at this stage of the season. Every win is an important win and every loss could be a devastating loss.

"That's a big part of every coach's game-plan. You have to stay that way and you have to make sure that's what doesn't end up costing you. If you're a disciplined, you hope that at the end of the night you can say that's what helped you win the hockey game."

 Julien also hopes the red-hot first line of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci can keep the good times rolling and play a big part in securing a crucial win on the road.

"Right now, they're feeling pretty good about their game," the coach said. The fact that every one of them is competing really hard has certainly been a key to their success, and now they're reaping the benefits. Once you see what you can get out of those kind of efforts, you want to keep doing it. Hopefully they keep it going."