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Three Days Until Toronto Returns

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
8:21 p.m.

Despite some of the frustration that Coach Julien's volume belied during Monday's practice, the Boston Bruins bench boss' tone during his daily media scrum belied an equal notion of calm that followed a successful on-ice session.

Julien was asked to point out some of the things he felt his team needed to work on before they faced the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Well it’s a little bit of everything to be honest with you," he said. "Players and everybody at this stage of the season prefer playing and you know when you are on a bit of a roll, you want to keep it going.

"But...I think our four-on-four has slipped a little bit, we touched upon that. We still want to get better at battling, even on our rushes, better net drive and that kind of stuff."

In the end, Julien explained that the practice time is good. Buuuuuuut.

"I’d say [it's] half-and-half," he said. "Maybe [it's] good that you get guys...maintenance and give some players an opportunity here to get better. 

"At the same time [the players] always feel better when...they are playing almost every second day.

"And You know you get on a bit of a roll and you build momentum and you want to keep that momentum going.

"So, probably the biggest challenge for us will be to come back Thursday and grab on to what we did the last game and try and duplicate that.," he said.

12:19 p.m.
Wideman and Morris were out due to "maintenance" according to Coach Julien.

11:40 a.m.
I think we are winding down here. Look for more in a bit.

11:34 a.m.
Coach Julien looks unhappy and sounds unhappy over by the coaching dry erase board over by the Bruins bench.

11:20 a.m.
Derek Morris and Dennis Wideman are not on the ice for practice.

11:14 a.m.
The running joke in the Bruins locker room over the past three months has been B's seventh defenseman Johnny Boychuk's reaction to the press as began their interviews each day.

"I'm ready," he would say with an understanding chuckle to nobody in particular, as the TV camera's headed to Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron or Marc Savard's locker.

Then, when it was his moment to shine on Saturday, big John was obviously a little taken aback and his less than colorful one sentence answers and his bewildered smile attest to the fact that the well-liked blueliner had a little stage fright.

Boychuk on his first NHL goal: "Well it was a great pass from [David] Krejci.  Basically I tried to shoot it as hard as possible [chuckle]."

Boychuk on his plan on the shot: "Just shoot it as hard as I can [chuckle]."

But that is just Johnny -- a lighthearted, big-hearted man who loves to play hockey. In true Bruins tradition, Boychuk is substance over style, all the way.

However, Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who is generally not someone who throws praise around casually, had plenty to say about Boychuk's return to the Bruins and his big first goal.

"I don’t know that too many goaltenders would have stopped that shot to be honest," said Julien a-matter-of-factly.  "It was a rocket. It was a great pass [by Krejci] and he stepped into it.

"What a great way to come back into the lineup and get some confidence from things like that.

"I thought he played well," he said.

Does anything more need to be said?

10:36 a.m.

Zdeno Chara is on the ice with Doug Houda working on his shot.

The Bruins have returned to Ristuccia Memorial Arena looking to nurture the momentum they garnered with their big victory over Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Throwing an interesting twist into the scenario, the Bruins face those same Maple Leafs on Thursday night in Boston.

"We needed that big effort we all knew before this game that we needed to bounce back," said Patrice Bergeron after Saturday's game. "[Friday] night was embarrassing and especially in front of our fans today we needed a big effort and we did it.

Bergeron likened the environment to that of a playoff game.

"The atmosphere was awesome tonight; the fans got us into it," said Bergeron. "I thought our first couple shifts also got our momentum for us.

"It was a fun game to be apart of."

Chara, Boston's captain, also pointed to the stands when he talked about Saturday's win.

"Well I think they really enjoyed it," said Chara of the Bruins faithful.  "They enjoyed the game.  They saw goals, they saw physical plays, they saw what they came to see.

"And they got into the game and once they got into the game they were just having fun.

"It’s nice to play in front of a crowd like that, [fans] that are behind you and cheering you on. They make that atmosphere and the whole time you play on the ice it’s exciting for you as well," he said.

But it's the unexciting times like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's practices, that will have the most to do with the result on Thursday night.
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