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Bruins face another opponent looking for revenge

Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:35 PM / NHL Insider

By Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

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Bruins face another opponent looking for revenge
Their season-opening reunion with teams they vanquished in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs is scheduled to continue Saturday night when the Lightning visit TD Garden.
BOSTON -- The Bruins' season-opening reunion with teams they vanquished in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs is scheduled to continue Saturday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit TD Garden.

Boston downed Tampa Bay in seven games in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, including a 1-0 triumph in the series finale on Garden ice.

The early-season rematch has Bruins forward Milan Lucic thinking that the Lightning might have a little extra spring in their step, even though they played Friday night in Carolina (a 5-1 Tampa Bay victory).

"Right now, our team has to focus on how they want to play and not so much on the outcome. There's a lot of focus right now on the outcome, and seeing if we're going to win games or we're going to be struggling to win games. And I think our focus has to be more on how we want to play and let that dictate whether we win or lose games."
-- Claude Julien

"Two years ago when we played Carolina, we came out and we beat them 7-2. And then last year when we played Philly, we beat them 3-0 in their building," said Lucic about Boston's first matchup against teams that had knocked them out of the postseason the prior spring. "So there's a little extra that gets you pumped up for the game for the team that ended your year last year. If they are like we are, it's not going to be any different."

The Bruins, who swept Philadelphia in last spring's playoffs, dropped their season opener to the Flyers, 2-1, in a lackluster performance Thursday night. Coach Claude Julien says he looks at the early-season rematches as a positive to get his team focused on the task at hand and playing better.

"I think it's probably a good thing for us," he said. "Might as well face the kind of opponents that we think we're going to be facing most of the year. It's probably a good way to get us focused on our game tonight and understanding how good we have to be, how hard we have to work. I don't mind that at all.

"Right now, our team has to focus on how they want to play and not so much on the outcome. There's a lot of focus right now on the outcome, and seeing if we're going to win games or we're going to be struggling to win games. And I think our focus has to be more on how we want to play and let that dictate whether we win or lose games."

Five different Lightning players scored goals in their season opener in Raleigh. So although the Tampa Bay offense still revolves around Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, there is plenty of firepower wearing Lightning sweaters these days. Julien knows his team will have a tough task of matching up its defense against a talented lineup.

"I don't think there's one particular unit that you have to watch more than another," he said. "I think they've done a pretty good job of spreading the wealth around and they've got two good offensive lines for sure that have the credibility of being people that can put up some points on the board. But at the same time, I still remember them coming against us in the playoffs with their third line that was a line that was producing a lot. So you've got to be careful where you put all your focus on. And what we have on the back end is a lot of depth. We've got a lot of guys back there that we're trusting more and more."

Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players