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The Kings Await the Bruins in LA

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
LOS ANGELES -- Despite the club's somewhat sunny disposition on Friday morning (hey, they were flying to LA) after the Bruins post-flight afternoon practice, several Boston players quietly, but sternly noted that the 2-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday night -- a loss that ended a modest two-game win streak -- really stung.

However, when he was asked about the loss, Head Coach Claude Julien calmly and simply explained the setback and said,"We never caught up to the pace of the game."

While the struggling Sharks came out of the locker room on the attack, the Bruins weren't able to match the desperate Western Conference club's intensity.

"They came out hard, and we looked sluggish and we just weren’t good enough last night," said Julien. "It’s unfortunate, we played two solid games and we have to bring that on the road.

"For whatever reason, we had some guys who just didn’t play well enough to give us a chance to win a hockey game [and] there'ss no way we’re going to win games on this road trip if we don’t have guys going [hard]."

The Kings are exhibit no. 1 in that equation.

Now standing in third place in the Western Conference 86 points, Los Angeles is fighting for playoff position with Pacific Division rivals Phoenix (86), Dallas (85) and San Jose (84) for home ice as well as overall standing with Colorado (85).

Even so, Julien remained steadfast that his Bruins need not be desperate in their approach, even as their opponents use their own predicaments as motivation.

"I don’t like using 'desperate,'" repeated Julien. "We just have to be a little bit more committed and determined more than desperate.

"Right now, the chances of making the playoffs are really good [for the Bruins], but how do we want to go into the playoffs and where do you want to finish in the standings...again, those are things that we have in our own control, and we have to take charge of that and we have to be better.

"Hopefully, this was just a bump in the road at the start of this roadtrip and hopefully tomorrow we’re a better team."

The B's really have no choice. LA is one of the hottest teams in the NHL and sport a 8-2-0 record over their last 10.

"We would have to have those legs going early tomorrow," said Julien. "But we need more than that; what we created offensively [thursday was] not enough to win a hockey game.

"Defensively we’re still a decent team, Tim [Thomas] played well, so we had all the opportunities late in the game to come out with at least a point, if not two.

"But we couldn’t muster up enough offense, and we need some guys to be better and carry a load in that department."

Reinforcements could be on the way, however, as Rich Peverley wore a white jersey in practice and served time with David Krejci's trio.

"Everyday he’s getting better," said Julien of Peverley. "I liked what I saw on that three-on-three [drill during today's practice] down low, tight turns and a lot of contact and everything else.

"He’s starting to feel pretty good, so he’s getting closer there’s no doubt. I think we’ll see him in our lineup pretty soon."

But even with the seemingly imminent return of Peverley, the B's challenge is to find a rhythm going into this springs playofffs.

"That’s why I think tomorrow is a really important game for us," said Julien. "Whether you win 'em all or lose some along the way, you have to play really well so you know you have a chance and could have won just as easily from the other team.

"We just need to create that situation from her on in. We’ve had challenges all year, it’s been for all the right reasons. Last year has left a lot of, I guess 'scars' as far as fatigue factor, short summer, our schedule in the second half has been a real tough one – we’ve been on the road quite a bit.

"The challenges have been there, and what you just hope is by the end of it it’s turned into a real positive thing...and if we have a strong finish it will only be a positive thing."
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