SAN JOSE, CA -- Tonight in San Jose, the Bruins begin a three-game West Coast road swing and earlier this afternoon, after the club's morning skate, Head Coach Claude Julien was asked about both clubs' desperation
He explained that in the B's case "desperate" hockey was about getting back on track.
"Right now, I’d say it has to be focused hockey from here on in," said Julien. "We’re going to play teams that are feeling desperate, and we shouldn’t feel like we’re in a comfortable position, but we have to keep playing like we have the past couple of games.
"In order to do that you have to be focused and you have to be determined.
"For us, we really want to make sure we’re playing our best hockey...[and] with 10 games left, you have to make sure you find the time to fine-tune yourself to be able to do that."
Over the past couple of games, the Bruins have also displayed an ability to return the defensive responsibility that's been their trademark under Julien.
"Yeah, we were a lot better last game, not just in the D zone, but in the neutral zone," he said. "We were a lot more alert -- a lot sharper -- and because of that we were able to either get possession of the puck quickly, or we created some turnovers so something you got to keep doing.
"It’s part of your game, and its part of identity," explained Julien. "As far as being able to be better offensively, we have to get the puck back as quick as we can.
"I think our guys have been around long enough to understand that’s been our philosophy - our bread and butter is good defense and it turns into good offense, as well."
The Sharks stand tenth in the West at 84 points, just two points behind eighth place Los Angeles and ninth place Phoenix. Boston, with 87 points, stands second in the East, but is holding off Ottawa (84) and Buffalo (80) for the top spot in the Northeast Division and home ice in the playoffs.
That makes tonight's East vs. West match up an unusually pivotal game for both teams.
"I know they’re in a battle for a playoff spot, and I think we’ve followed them enough to understand that," said Julien of the seldom seen Sharks. "This is a good team across the ice here.
"I think the one thing we do know is we’ve gone through the same situation, really struggling to find our game and eventually when you do, you see what kind of team you really are. It’s a matter of them doing the same thing, and right now our focus is not to let them have that happen against us.
"If they want to do it, do it against somebody else and we have to be ready."
And the lateness of the season dictates a that the B's keep themselves in high gear.
"Everybody’s in a fighting mode here, and everybody’s in a situation where they want to finish as high as they can," said Julien. "Some are battling for playoffs, and so are we as far as what position you want to end up in.
"That’s the challenges you have with so [few] games left – every team has something to battle for."