Bruins set for fresh start after regular season

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm •  Published: April 17, 2014
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BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy by leading the NHL with 117 points.

Another number shows just how much, or little, that means.

"I heard about 40 percent of the series are upsets in the first round," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

"You have teams that have high expectations. You have teams that have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So that certainly makes that first round a challenge."

That begins for top-seeded Boston on Friday night against eighth-seeded Detroit.

The Red Wings had 24 fewer points in the regular season but went 3-1 against the Bruins, a sign that Detroit's speedy, puck-possession style can overcome Boston's physical approach.

"I think we're complete," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I think we're way better than people think."

A glance at the past three seasons should convince the Bruins not to take a first-round opponent lightly.

They had the better seed in each of those series, but played the full seven games in all of them including a loss to Washington in 2012.

"We certainly learned from all those Game 7s that we've had to go through in the first round that it is important to be on top of your game at the end of the year and not limp in to the playoffs," Julien said, "which I thought we did at times after we solidified our playoff spot."

Another lesson could keep the Bruins from losing focus. They scored the third-most goals in the NHL this season, but Pittsburgh led the league a year earlier then got just two goals in a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in the Eastern Conference final.

"I feel comfortable with the fact that we have some depth at scoring this year, a little bit more than we did last year," Julien said. "We really limited Pittsburgh to very few goals with a lot of goal scorers there.

"So, again, nothing is guaranteed in the playoffs. You've got to work for your goals. Just because you got them during the season doesn't mean you're necessarily going to get them automatically in the playoffs."

The Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in last year's Stanley Cup final. Expectations are for Boston, the 2011 Cup winners, to make another solid run at the title.

"All of the pressure is going to be on them," Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard said. "They've got to win, we're not supposed to. We've got to make it as hard as possible on them."

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