BOSTON, MA - The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are in different positions right now.
But that won't stop Tuesday night at TD Garden from being a heated affair, naturally, in their second and final meeting of the season.
The Bruins are focusing on continuing the consistency they've built in their play, going 6-1-1 with only one regulation loss in their past eight games. They got back to their team game in a 4-0 shutout of the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
"I thought we were skating pretty well the whole 60 minutes and it was a good team effort so we have to keep our feet moving, and try to get the first goal, and go from there," said alternate captain David Krejci, following the team's morning skate at TD Garden.
The Canucks, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 loss to Detroit on Sunday night, and have now lost four straight games.
Boston had to halt Edmonton's three-game win streak, but facing a desperate team like Vancouver trying to turn their game around can often present more of a challenge.
"A desperate team is always a challenge, and we know that they're going to play desperate hockey," said alternate captain Chris Kelly. "You know, whenever you lose four games in a row, and expectations are extremely high like they are for that team, they're going to come out with their best game, and we need to be ready for that."
The Bruins' focus is on being ready to play a heavy and physical game, wearing down the Canucks from the start, something they weren't able to do 22 games ago, when they fell in Vancouver, 6-2.
"I think there are a lot of reasons to be ready for tonight. Last time we were in their building, they decisively beat us," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Second of all, they’re coming off of a loss last night and I’m sure - they’re a proud team - they are going to come out hard tonight because of the circumstances, not just because of us."
"So, more reasons for us to be ready to play this game."
The last affair between the clubs in Vancouver turned into an emotion-filled night, despite both sides preaching they were in much different places than in 2011. That still remains true, but the key will be keeping those emotions in check and staying disciplined.
"Everyone talks about the bad blood that was created in that series, but at the end of the day we're just focused on getting the two points. This is another big test for us before the break starts," said Milan Lucic.
"That's three years ago now; a lot has happened in those three years in both organizations and we're just looking more towards the future more than what happened there."
"For us, it was a long time ago," Krejci reiterated. "We're just trying to go out there, do the job, and get two points."
The Bruins only have three games left until the Olympic break. Outwardly, a "strong push" has been emphasized because their strong play has coincided with the upcoming hiatus, but really, they're just taking it one game at a time.
"Yeah, you know what, it doesn't really feel like we have three games left; it feels like we're just playing games and trying to win them," said David Krejci, who will be heading over to Sochi to compete in his second straight Olympics for the Czech Republic.
"No one is talking about or thinking about the Olympics; we've got a big one tonight, so hopefully we're ready, and we get two points."
"You want to be playing your best hockey whenever you have a long period of time off," said Chris Kelly. "Like Dave said, it is one game at a time, and we want to be playing our best hockey right now."
Boston Projected Lineup
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Carl Soderberg - Chris Kelly - Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Defense: Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton
Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Chad Johnson