According to Head Coach Claude Julien, the games on this three-game, West Coast road trip (Los Angeles and Anaheim) is more than just a tune-up for the Bruins, who have won two-straight games.
“I think it’s not just tuning up, but knowing you’re playing against teams that are pretty desperate to get into the playoffs,” Julien said. “We’re going to have as good a challenge as we can ask for at this time of year.
However, this road trip presents a new challenge, in the fact that the Bruins won’t be playing in the comfort of the TD Garden.
“Right now our team, the last couple of games, have been playing a lot better, but those games were at home,” Julien said. “Now, we got to be in a position to carry that on the road and these next three games are just as important to us as they are to those guys.” Peverley, Whitfield in California
Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley
, who began practicing last week, traveled with the team for the trip, but he is still listed as day-to-day and will not play against San Jose.
“We keep giving him more time,” Julien said. “I assume or predict his return will be sooner rather than later.
"That’s not to say it will be on this trip, but if it is then it will have progressed enough. But he came on this trip so he can practice on the team and see how far we can bring him.”
In the meantime, the Bruins recalled 34-year-old Trent Whitfield
as a spare forward.
“When you look at our situation and guys that can move up, I think it was important to get a guy who can play in our bottom two lines with some experience,” Julin said. “This time of year, it’s about getting some experience and the right kind of help.
"It’s not necessarily about looking at a young guy – we’re looking for wins right now.” Beyond the Numbers
The Bruins (42-27-3) are second in the Eastern conference, and lead the Northeastern division with 87 points – three ahead of the Ottawa Senators.
With 10 games left, the Bruins have an opportunity to hit 100 points. But if you ask Julien that number isn’t important.
“Our goal right now hasn’t been talked about [in terms of] finishing with a 100 points, more so than these last games we have to play our best games possible in order to head into the playoffs with confidence and playing the best hockey you can,” Julien said.
“If you can, you hope it will bring us to 100 points. It would be nice to get to triple digits, but the goal right now is to play better.”
The quest for that goal begins anew tonight.--- Anthnoy Gulizia