Afterward, Julien talked about the necessary mental transition into the postseason after a grueling 82-game campaign.
"Obviously, there’s a lot of little things," said Julien of the differences between the two mentalities. "First of all there’s the excitement of being in the playoffs is a little bit different than getting excited for 82 games. I think everybody knows that.
"But at the same time, the mental approach is – you know that one mistake can cost you a game, one mistake can cost you a series. You minimize it into those kind of things and understand how important it is to be ready to play every game to be focused, but also to have the energy to play through those. You can’t let the pressure crush you, but you’ve got to thrive on it.
"That’s what we, as a team I think have learned, the most from last years’ experience was that going into Game 7 - I thought our guys did such a great job of just going in there and playing versus being afraid to lose that game," explained Julien. "We went out there determined to win, so I think our mindset and our maturity in that area grew a lot last year."
Yesterday, in Peter Chiarelli's availability, the Bruins general manager said that he wasn't going to divulge the B's entire gameplan versus the Caps, but that it was obvious that Zdeno Chara
would figure prominently.
"I think it’s pretty hard to deny that he’s not going to play against [their] best players, but at the same time, I really feel that there’s a lot more than Ovechkin on that team and let’s not get caught up in looking at one player," said Julien, who noted that the B's own style of defensive responsibility was pervasive in the locker room and has been since his first season as the head coach in Boston.
"You know, we had a young team, we had a lot of players that aren’t here anymore, and we still made the playoffs and brought Montreal to Game 7 because our team played the system and worked hard at it and gave Montreal all it could handle," said Julien. "So, I really felt that our guys right from the get-go, guys like Zdeno and those kind of guys that were good leaders, really bought into it and just kind of made sure that the whole team followed suit.
"And I really felt good about that first year because our goals against went down and obviously we weren’t a team that had a lot of fire-power but we still managed to score enough goals to make the playoffs."
But now, the roles are reversed and Boston goes into the series with home-ice advantage against a lower-ranked opponent.
Julien, however, cautioned against overlooking the complete package that Washington will bring to the TD Garden on Thursday.
"They’re a team that’s very capable of playing solid two-way hockey," said Julien. "They’ve got their guys scoring and they’ve done a good job of defending as well. They never got enough credit for how good their defensive game has gotten over the year and they’ve been a lot better at that.
"As we all know, they’ve given us some tough games...but lately the games that we’ve played against them they’ve been tight and they’ve been close, and they’ve been well-played."