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Game Day: Bruins @ Lightning

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
7: 20 p.m.

Boston's lines...

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6:14 p.m.
Coach Julien also talked about the Bruins very busy schedule, both in terms of the number of games in a short time as well as the big game on Friday.

"Well, I think the good thing here is that we’re on the road with the Winter Classic coming because we don’t have that distraction coming that we’d probably get if we were home," said Julien. "At the same time, you look at our schedule from here to the Olympic break, and like every [other] team we’re playing so much and practice becomes something that you almost you wont see much.

"You’ll probably see more 'rests' than practice times, so those are the kind of things [where] you have to adjust [the] course of the rest of the season and second half.

"But again, if you’re asking about the Winter Classic, our guys have been really good about it. They’re excited about it, but they’ve been very good about keeping their focus on what we have to do before we get to that game."

6:08 p.m.
The Bruins are in the St. Pete Times Forum getting ready for tonight's matchup with the Lightning.

Earlier, Coach Julien gave an update on Milan Lucic.

"He’s looking good," he said. "He gave me a pretty good workout [this morning]...and he’s looking good.

"He’s feeling better everyday and I’m not going to say that he’s ready right now, but he’s certainly heading in the right direction. And with everything, every test we’re putting him through, he seems to be doing well.

"We’ll keep plugging away everyday."

Coach Julien was also asked if Lucic had tried talking the coach into letting him play.

"No not yet," said Julien. "He knows better and I think with those kind of injuries the one thing you got to be careful is that you [come] back too early.

"There’s been times where guys have been ready and you probably put him in maybe a couple days too early and the first shift that they get into a scrum or something, somebody leans on them and they’re right back to square one.

"So we’re going to be extra careful and the decisions going to be one that’s made for Luch’s welfare I guess and our team as well," he said.

12:22 p.m.
Caron, Canada Win Big...
Jordan Caron, Boston's top pick in last summer's draft, contributed an assist in Canada's big, 16-0 win over Latvia. reports:
Gabriel Bourque scored three goals and added four assists as Canada opened the 2010 world junior championship with a 16-0 rout of Latvia. Bourque's seven point outburst tied Team Canada's record for scoring in a world junior game.  The score represented the largest shutout victory ever for Canda at the tournament.

12:16 p.m.
News from the front...
Milan Lucic skated with the team during morning skate. Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice following practice.

Adam McQuaid, Lucic and Tuukka Rask worked with Coach Julien, Coach Ward and Coach Houda following the session. Generally the healthy scratches and the backup goalie will spend the most time on the ice during a morning skate.

10:16 a.m.
Legendary singer-songwriter and Boston native James Taylor will make a very special appearance at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Fenway Park on New Year’s Day to perform the U.S. National Anthem.

Fellow Bostonians the Dropkick Murphys and singer-songwriter Daniel Powter also will perform prior to the historic outdoor matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 1.  NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of the game and the performances in the U.S.  In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event live.

Read more here.

9:16 a.m.

Boston Bruins Steve Begin, left, celebrates as Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen drags the puck out of the net after Bruins Marco Sturm scored in the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/ Rick Silva)
Unlike last Wednesday, when Coach Julien seemed understanding about the Bruins heading into their holiday break with a break-neck 6-4 win over the gunslinging Atlanta Thrashers, the B's bench boss sounded downright disappointed with much of went down on Sunday afternoon in Florida during the Black & Gold's 2-1 victory.

"I really didn't like our first period," said Julien. "Our first period was pretty bad. And we just didn't seem to have legs and we didn't seem to be sharp and we had to get better as the second period started and I thought it took...a little bit of time.

"Eventually we got things going and we finished much better in the second half.

"I thought we had a pretty good third until that last 20-seconds there. That should have never happened," he said.

Julien referred to the B's Tim Thomas having to make several point blank saves in the final half minute.

"At the end there, you have a power play and a face off in our own end," he said. "Tonight we struggled in the faceoff circle, okay, and our centers have to take that blame. We have to be better in the faceoff circle.

"Second of all, we could have been better coming back to help and support and when they got the puck you expect your guys to react a little quicker. There's no way that guy should be able to slide in there.

"So, there were at least two or three mistakes in that last 20-seconds that we have to [recognize] and get better."

Despite their three-game winning streak, Julien is looking for a more complete effort going forward.

"Again, it's about finishing and being able to finish," said Julien. "We're batting through that part and you hope that is going to come.

"A lot of that is about confidence and as long as you are winning games it's good. And you hope that the guys can build confidence as long as you are winning.

"If you're losing it is a lot tougher. You start putting more pressure on yourself. But this is an area that needs to get better."

Turning the page, Julien was asked if the B's planned on holding a morning skate, where, presumably, Milan Lucic would skate with his teammates for the first time.

"We'll be a the rink for sure, and we'll decide from there," said Julien.
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