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A Great Matchup

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- B's Head Coach Claude Julien isn't necessarily looking to tonight's game as a stepping stone toward climbing the Eastern Conference ladder, but what he does see is a chance for his Bruins to test themselves against a very good team.

"We need to play give us a chance to win the game – it’s as simple as that," said Julien. "Right now, our issues are a lot different than worrying about how far ahead they are or how much we need to catch up.

"We just have to go out there and play and if we play well and do the job that we know we can.

"Hopefully we can come up with a win and the rest will take care of itself," he said.

Even beyond their first place standing in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers present an interesting matchup for the second place Bruins, owing to the many similarities between the Boston and Broadway hockey clubs.

"There’s a lot of things, obviously," said Julien. "They’re a gritty team, they’re stingy, they play a heavy game and we said that the last time we played them.

"It’s a real good match, and you know I had a chance to talk with [New York Head Coach John Tortorella] when we were at the All-Star game and we both had the same views."

The last meeting, a 3-2 OT loss for Boston with just 3.6 seconds remaining in the extra session, was possibly better known as the game after which B's defenseman Andrew Ference earned a suspension for his hit on the Rangers Ryan McDonagh. The penalty on that hit set up Marian Gaborik's power play game-winner.

However, Julien doesn't believe that situation will have any bearing on tonight's action.

"First of all he got suspended for it," said Julien of Ference. "And I think both teams also realize it wasn’t something that was malicious and done on purpose and he understands after the fact that he should’ve maybe slowed down a little bit. But he didn’t go in there trying to injure a player.

"I think the page has been turned on that," explained Julien. "We certainly didn’t like seeing a guy going down from our side of it as well, you don’t like to see those injuries.

"We were glad to hear he was back playing the next game and that’s the whole goal, to try and minimize the injuries.

"To me, that’s certainly not the key point to tonight’s game because there’s a lot more at stake than that."

What is at stake for the Bruins is a measure of pride; pride in bringing their best to the rink when one of the league's best teams is in the building, and pride in doing the things that they've done so consistently earlier this season for a second-straight game in a playoff-like contest.

"It’s fun to play each other because they make for interesting games, heavy games," said Julien. "If you take away that unfortunate hit at the end [of the last meeting], it was hard-hitting, hard-fought game but it was basically a clean game.

"There was a lot of intensity, I thought it was an exciting game and it’s unfortunate the way it ended for us anyways [with] Just a few seconds left in that [OT], but nonetheless...I was happy with the effort we put in and I’m sure they were with theirs."
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