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Julien: "Next 7-10 days are huge..."

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Call tonight's matchup what you will, but with the streaking Bruins (9-7-0, 7-3-0 in their last 10) hosting the struggling Blue Jackets (3-13-1, 3-7-0) what might have seemed like a ho-hum mid-week Western Conference matchup has turned into a pretty important game for the Black & Gold.

"Well it is," said B's Head Coach Claude Julien after Wednesday's practice. "As you know, it’s a dangerous game, too.

"There are always those situations where a team comes in having a tough start to the season and your team mentally isn’t prepared properly and you don’t prepare as well as you had the other games and you end up regretting it at the end.

"We just can’t afford right now to fall into that mode," he said.

Not long ago, the B's were in a similar position to the Blue Jackets, who currently stand 15th in their conference and 30th in the NHL with seven points in the standings.

"We dug ourselves a hole, but We’re still digging ourselves out of it," said Julien of the Bruins who remain just shy of the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 18 points.

"So there is no reason for us to be taking the game lightly," emphasized Julien. "It is a big game and we’ve got [to have] a good finish here on this home-stand and we’ve got an opportunity to go to New York and two games after that are divisional games.

"I think the next 7-10 days are huge for us."

Beyond tonight, the B's embark on a three-game road trip to face the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres and a seventh straight win, as well as a sweep of the current five-game homestand, would fill volumes about the current B's team's potential after a very sub par start.

However, with an eye to the standings, Julien remained unsatisfied, even as his Bruins remain undefeated (6-0) in November.

"We feel we’re a much better team than that," he said. "I think there is an opportunity here in this next week-and-a-half to really move up in the standings as long as we continue to win games and play as well as we have.

"It’s one of those things, we don’t want to be relying on teams to do our job. It’s up to us to continue to play well and win hockey games.

"I think if we can keep playing the way we have lately, this next week-and-a-half is going to really be telling for our hockey club."

Asked to characterize the difference between October's Bruins and November's Black & Gold, Boston's head coach said, "our whole game fell together.

"For me it was more about the execution and the skating. Our legs started going a little better, our execution became better and because of that all of the other things fell in place. The first month of the season — even in practice — you could see that it was sluggish, that’s why we said the mental part of our game wasn’t there.

"We weren’t mentally ready to play the way we have been lately," added the coach.

And now?

"We finally found our legs and our energy," said Julien.
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