NEWARK, N.J. -- Boston coach Claude Julien sat his team down Wednesday afternoon and went over some game film in great detail. The point he was trying to get across was simple.
"It was about finding our game again," Julien said Thursday morning from Prudential Center. "I think our level of play has dropped off and we just have to pick that up again. It's pretty obvious when you look back maybe a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, how we were playing and the inconsistency in our game since then. We're certainly trying to find that game we had going there for a while, and right now it's dropped off."
The Bruins are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games. It's a record most teams would accept, especially in the dog days of the season, after the holiday break and before the All-Star break.
"We're still above .500, but for us it's not good enough," Julien said.
He wants to see his team increase its battle level. He wants to see his team work just a little bit harder. He wants them to cut down on the goals against (11 in the last three games), and believes it can happen if they simply pick it up a notch.
"I'm avoiding using the word slump. It's not a slump. It's a dip in our play and we just have to pick it up," Julien said. "If we pick it up, we're going to be fine. But, what you learn to do is not panic. You want to push your players to battle through it, and as a coach when you've been around a team long enough, you'd like to think you know the right buttons to push."
Getting Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley, two energy and speed guys, back in the lineup for Thursday's game should help. However, Julien and the Bruins feel it's about more than just those two players; it's about matching the intensity that teams are bringing toward them on a nightly basis.
It hasn't happened enough for Julien's liking.
"We knew that from the start of the season that teams would be gunning for us. It's something that happens, a natural thing that happens with teams that have won a Cup," Julien said. "We responded well, we were playing some really solid hockey for a while, and there were a lot of games that we kind of ran away with. Teams all have pride and they all seek some sort of revenge."
For example, the Devils will be looking for revenge Thursday night after the Bruins came in here and thumped them, 6-1, on Jan. 4.
"When you come in here and beat the Devils 6-1, it's not something you see very often in this building, so we know they're going to be ready for us," Julien said. "We know revenge is on their mind and that's just a natural thing. We have to make sure we're ready to play as well as we can, because we know the other team will be."
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