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Bruins again ratcheting up defensive play

by Matt Kalman /

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are doing it again.

With their relentless team defense, the Bruins are shutting down another of the League's elite offensive teams.

After a bit of a blip in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in triple overtime, the Bruins have allowed one goal in their last two games to take the series lead heading into Game 4 Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.

The Bruins' suffocating defense mostly has carried over from the Eastern Conference Final, when Boston limited the Pittsburgh Penguins to just two goals in four games. The Penguins had been averaging more than four goals per game entering that series.

"Playoffs is about playing the right way," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the team's morning skate. "And when everybody puts their mind into it, playing the right way, it's about backchecking hard, coming back hard, taking time and space away from the attacking forwards. Then complete games like the last few happen. And that's what you want."

The Bruins have honed their craft defensively over the last few seasons. Great goaltending and a team of players who almost always are on the same page paid off with the 2011 Stanley Cup championship, and might pay off again in 2013.

"I think we've had the challenge of playing teams like Vancouver [in 2011], Pittsburgh this year, Chicago now, that I just say we have a tremendous amount of respect for their offense," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "All it is is awareness, knowing if you're going to give yourself a chance to win, you've got to try to slow down that offense. Our guys have committed to that. That doesn't mean we haven't provided any offense, because the scoring chances are there, but there's a great commitment to that right now. That's what we did two years ago, that's what we've done so far, and that's what we've got to continue to do if we expect to continue to win."

Here is the expected Bruins lineup for Game 4:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jaromir Jagr

Daniel Paille - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin

Kaspars Daugavins - Rich Peverley - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg

Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Jordan Caron, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson, Niklas Svedberg

Injured: Gregory Campbell

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