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Conference Final

Bruins say winning Stanley Cup 'only thing that matters'

Marchand, teammates not satisfied to reach Eastern Conference Final against Hurricanes

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins, despite advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013, are not content to simply be among the last four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They want more -- much more.

"We're happy to be here, but we're not satisfied, this isn't where we want to finish, not where we want to be," forward Brad Marchand said after practice Wednesday. "You know you could lose in the third round or you could not make the playoffs, [you would be] in the same position.

"So at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is you won the Cup. If not, then you're all losers. So you know that's kind of what we're aiming for, we want to get to that end goal. If not, then we accomplished the same thing that everyone else has to this point."

Game 1 of the best-of-7 conference final against the Carolina Hurricanes begins at TD Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Marchand, along with centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, defenseman Zdeno Chara and goalie Tuukka Rask, each have gone at least this deep into the postseason with the Bruins before. They won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reached the final again in 2013 before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.

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So the bar has been set.

"Yeah, it's obviously exciting. It's another step, but at the same time nothing has been accomplished yet," said Chara, the Boston captain.

The Bruins are coming off two series victories against opponents with contrasting styles. Boston defeated the speed-reliant Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round, then the heavier, more physical Columbus Blue Jackets in six games in the second round.

The Hurricanes, who have won six consecutive games, present a challenge similar to each of Boston's prior opponents.

"Carolina's a great team," Bergeron said. "You know, I think we've seen it when we played them. First of all, they're a team that's in your face and doesn't give you much space, and then is very deep also and has some very good puck-moving defensemen. So … I think it's going to be a similar series to what we've seen the first two so far. … a physical series and we're expecting that to be a tough one."

Boston will play Game 1 without defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who was suspended one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his hit on Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson in the second period of the series-clinching 3-0 win in Game 6 on Monday.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy expects to replace McAvoy, who leads the Bruins in ice time at 24:46 per game, with either Steven Kampfer or John Moore. Kampfer, who appeared to be more likely replacement during practice Wednesday, hasn't played since his lone game in these playoffs, Game 3 against Toronto on April 15.

He said he'll be ready if he gets the call.

"Yeah, I think a lot of it's the mental preparation," Kampfer said. "Going into it, they're a fast team, they're going to come hard and you have to be ready for it. When it's all said and done just be ready to go and get a hit your first shift, move your feet, make a play. It's pretty much all you're looking for."

The Bruins are still without defenseman Kevan Miller (lower body), who hasn't played in the playoffs, and forward Noel Acciari (upper body), who missed the past two games. Acciari skated on his own before practice Wednesday.


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