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Bruins Rest Up for Road Trip

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- While the NHL's holiday break ended when the clock struck midnight on Sunday, the B's will watch tonight's full slate of games from the comfort of home. Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien gave his club another full day off before the B's leave for Arizona to finish off the 2011 portion of their schedule against Phoenix (Wednesday) and Dallas (Saturday).

"Well, the one thing I said to them was we’ve gone from 15th to first in less than two months – they deserve a lot of credit for that and they worked hard to accomplish that and I think it’s important that they enjoy the three days of the Christmas holiday they have," said Julien after the B's impressive 8-0 victory over the Panthers on Friday night. "Those three days will be beneficial to us hopefully not just in the long run, but in the short term.

"If we come back with the right approach and the right attitude, and head out on the road and play Phoenix, and take off where we left off, then those three days will look even better."

Since starting the season 3-7 in October, the B's are 20-2-1 in November and December. Forward Gregory Campbell said that the break will allow the Boston to reflect on their streak and remember what it took to snap out of an early season funk.

"Having said that, it's not even the midway point of the season," said Campbell. “It almost is but it's a long season and there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the season and I think we learned a lot in the playoffs last year as a team. And I think we learned a lot in the first month about our team.

"We didn't get down...we stayed together in this room, we didn't get divided.

"A lot of times when you hit adversity, things start going poorly and you start pointing fingers and that never happened…[and] we realized that it was our responsibility to get back to the team that we are. We worked really hard, came to work every day- practice, game, whatever- and stuck to the system.

Campbell added, "It's fair for us to appreciate what we've done, but it's also, I think, realistic to know that we -- the guys in this dressing room -- know there's a long way to go and every night's a fight and you have to compete every night in this league.”

The holiday break might make it a little bit easier for the B's, who have an impressive string of opponents to start 2012.

"It'll give us time to regroup and relax, and find our legs," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. "Tonight was a perfect example of howe, when we skate and we make plays, things happen. I think those next couple days are important.

"We’ve got to enjoy it and spend time with family, but at the same time we’ve got to make sure we’re staying with it and staying sharp, and get ready for the big road trip."

The B's will leave New England early on Tuesday morning in order to practice in Glendale's Arena on Mountain Standard Time and the B's sound committed to continue their hot streak in the deserts of Arizona.

"Yeah, you know it was getting a little scary there for the first 10 games or so, but after that we really kind of turned it around and found our stride," explained Brad Marchand. "The tough thing to do is to keep it going all year and that’s going to be our goal; is to make sure we do it game in and game out for the rest of the season and hopefully down the stretch."

And while Coach Julien couldn't say that the last two months had gone as he had scripted in the preseason, his Bruins know how hard they'll have to work in order to give themselves a chance to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

"The one thing we knew was we were probably, at one point, going to get a hangover and we were going to struggle," said Julien. "But we were ready for it, and being ready for it allowed us not to panic and work our way through it…[and] get ourselves back to the team we were last year at the end of the year – playing the same type of game and seeing players execute in same way.

"And our guys have recognized that and our seeing what it is and what we’d like to do this regular season is to build some stability and to be as consistent as we can at going into the game with the same attitude. If you do that, at least once you get yourself into a playoff spot and into the playoffs, you’ve gotten used to being a consistent team night in and night out."
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