"I think it's business as usual," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on Monday afternoon after the B's practice in Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
"But it's nice to clinch with more than just a game or two left in the season.
"Right now, as I mentioned yesterday, the challenge is going to be to keep our game going in the right direction and not get complacent or comfortable and hopefully head into the playoffs with confidence and a team firing on all cylinders."
Julien's message was not lost on his locker room.
"We've been able to clinch a playoff spot with [seven] games left," said forward Milan Lucic
. "We're definitely happy about that.
"We want to make sure that we don't coast into the playoffs.
Obviously, playoff seeding is what the regular season is all about, and Lucic and the B's are ready to stay focused as they finish the 2010-11 campaign and work toward the Northeast Division crown.
"Definitely, it's what you play for," said Lucic. "You always seem to find that second wind.
"It is a grind going through an 82-game season and it's definitely a lot of fun when you're tops in the division like this."
"It's always a good feeling," said Bergeron of clinching the postseason. "But there's seven games left and it's just one step towards our goal.
"At the beginning of the year [the goal is] to get into the playoffs and then anything can happen, so we're happy we clinched, but at the same time we didn't clinch the division yet.
"So, it's still a goal of ours and we'd be happy to do that in the next seven games and, you know, it's games that we need to make sure we play well heading into the playoffs."
After practice, Tuesday's match-up with the Chicago Blackhawks was first and foremost on Bergeron and his teammates' agenda.
"They are a great team," said Bergeron. "You know, obviously they are the Stanley Cup [defending champions], and they are battling for a playoff spot right now, so it's going to be a tough game.
"They have a lot of talent and last year against them it was some big games and a lot of battles, so it's going to be a tough one, we'll make sure we're ready, and we'll go from there.
"That's a desperate team," added Julien.
"And we talked about that just a few minutes ago -- how those kind of games should be helpful for us to stay on top of ours and realize that if you are not ready for games like that you can get embarrassed pretty easily."