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B's Look to Prevent a Lightning Strike

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins -- The Bruins held practice Friday at the TD Garden to prepare for Saturday's tilt with conference rival Tampa Bay Lightning and during the session Head Coach Claude Julien looked to immediately fix the issues he saw in Thursday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins makes a first period save in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“We didn’t seem to be in sync, so that’s why you saw us doing a lot of transition and making sure that we’re all on the same page,” said Juilen.

Veteran Dennis Seidenberg and his fellow defenseman looked to build better chemistry with the offense during the skate.

“Puck movement and just kind of being in sync with the forwards—that’s what I and the other D’s worked on today,” said Seidenberg.

The B’s vet stressed that Boston's blueliners need to move with more speed both with and without the puck, especially against Martin St. Louis and a fast Lightning team.

“I think the main thing is going back hard to pucks, getting open for pucks and being ready once you get it to make a quick play,” said Seidenberg.
Rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski also emphasized playing with a greater sense of urgency.

“We move it quicker, we push the other team and it puts pressure on them—last night the pressure was on us,” he explained.

The 6-foot-4 blueliner is using practice and the upcoming stretch of games to get more comfortable playing at an NHL pace.

“Last night I was a little hesitant—made a couple rush plays and I just need to know that I can make plays and have more confidence, because last night I didn’t think the confidence was there,” added Bartkowski.

The B’s look to bring their defense back to full force as Adam McQuaid returned to the ice after battling flu-like symptoms in recent days.

“It was nice for me because I haven’t skated a whole lot in really the last week,” said McQuaid of Friday’s practice.

McQuaid played in 67 games last season as a Bruin and doesn’t want anything holding him back from another successful year in Black & Gold.

“Whatever it was I hope it doesn’t happen again," added McQuaid. “I’m hoping it will feel better tomorrow and (I’ll) just be ready to go."

Coach Julien hopes to have his sophomore defenseman in the lineup against Tampa, but won’t make the decision until closer to game-time.

“I’m optimistic, but I’d wait until tomorrow to make that comment on whether he (McQuaid) is in or not,” said Julien.

After a strong practice, the B’s Head Coach thought his team addressed many areas of concern.

“We tried to rectify a lot of things today and hopefully we’ll carry that into tomorrow’s game,” said Juilen.

“We can come out tomorrow night and show the type of team that we really are.”

Julien knows Tampa won’t forget Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals where a late goal by Nathan Horton ended the Bolt’s playoff-run. The B’s Head Coach said the Lightning are well put-together and will be even better than they were last season.

“They’re a team that is heading in the right direction. They’ve got a good general manager (Steve Yzerman) who is very patient and has been through a lot of winning situations and knows what it takes,” explained Juilen.

“(Yzerman) did a tremendous job last year and revitalized that team.

“They seem to have a lot more energy and they play a certain way that has frustrated teams, but we found a way to get through and tomorrow we hope to be able to do that.”

In the 2010-2011 regular season Boston was 3-1 against the Lightning, outscoring the Bolts 15-8.

The Bruins hope to continue their success against Tampa when the puck drops Saturday night at the Garden.

---John Griffin
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