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Eastern and Western Powers Face Off

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- After morning skate on Saturday, Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien talked about his Bruins (11-23-1, 23 points, 5th East) contest against the Kings (12-6-0, 24 points, 2ns West).

In contrast to recent circumstance, Julien said that he was glad that Boston was waiting in New England for the Los Angeles club while the Kings traveled from Buffalo after the West Coast powerhouse dropped a 4-2 decision to Buffalo. But the B's bench boss doesn't expect the Kings to bring anything less than their "A" game to the Garden tonight.

"We’ve seen every situation," said Julien of the Bruins, now 6-3-1 in their last 10, but just 4-4-1 in TD Garden. "I think there's no perfect scenario.

"If you had the choice, you’d rather have it this way, but I’m looking more at it in a way that tonight, they’re one of the better teams in the NHL. They’re young, but they’re extremely deep and good that are coming in here with a burr [in their saddle] because they’ve lost three in a row.

"I think we should be wary of that, because desperation on good hockey teams usually gets the best out of them. They’ve lost three, we’ve won three, and hopefully by the end of the night we’ll have won four and they’ll have lost four, but certainly won’t be an easy game," he said.

Just a quick scan of the stats sheet shows that the Kings are a young, talent-laden roster.

"I’ve already warned our players about the depth in their lineup," said Julien. "It’s not about shutting down one line.

"Their back end is extremely good. They carry the puck up the ice well. They move the puck well, so I think we need to respect that part of it.

"I think the one thing that they will have, I would assume they would have a fresh goaltender, so it’ll be a tough task."

The LA media expect former UMass-Amherst backstop Jonathan Quick to take the ice again at TD Garden. Quick ranks third in league goals against average at 1.73, right behind Tim Thomas (1.37) who left the ice first for Boston on Saturday morning.

In three games versus Boston, the Milford, Conn. native is 3-0-0, with 2.16 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Thomas has played four games against LA and is 0-0-3 with a 2.36 GAA and a .92 sv%. Tuukka Rask, who earned a 4-0 shutout victory on Thursday against the Florida Panthers has never faced the Kings.

"We have to make sure we’re ready to play hard and play smart," added Julien. "Sometimes there may be a situation because they’re such a good team that you’ve got to grind it out like we did the other night and at one point, hope they break."

Julien implied that the B's shouldn't count on any sort of breaks for Boston, particularly with names like Kopitar and Brown scheduled to skate on TD Garden ice.

"Yeah, I think if I recall, Kopitar scored a goal on the half wall against us," said Julien of Anze's success against the spoked-B (4 games played, 4-1-5). "He stepped in, then took a shot and he picks corners pretty good, so that’s what he does. He’s a highly skilled player and he’s obviously got size and reach. You have to play him smart and get good angles on him because he is a hard guy to stop.

"Brown (6 GP vs. BOS, 4-2-6) is probably one of the best power forwards in the league. He can score goals, but if you don’t have your head up, he’s going to run you over, as well. You got [Ryan] Smyth that’s probably one of the best players in the league at standing around in front of the net and tipping pucks, taking a beating, finding loose pucks.

"[With Drew] Doughty and [Jack] Johnson in the back end, they can carry the puck. They move it well with smart offensive players, so there’s good balance on that team. We can talk about one or two players, but I really think we need to focus on their whole team."
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