BOSTON -- While the Bruins are seemingly riding high on a season-best eight-game winning streak and have opened up a three-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference, there are still things that bedevil even the Bruins. One of those things is the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild are a lifetime 6-0-0 at TD Garden against the Bruins since entering the league, and overall have won 10 of the 12 meetings between the two NHL clubs entering Monday night’s tilt at TD Garden. Between the longstanding winning streak, the lackluster numbers against the Wild and the Boston coaching staff’s willingness to keep the Bruins players on their toes, Claude Julien said he’s expecting a full tilt effort from his hockey club amidst their recent string of successes.
With Stanley Cup champions like Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Johnny Boychuk on the team, one wouldn’t expect a team that would slack off in the season’s final weeks.
“Let’s not get fooled. We’ve seen guys go on winning streaks, or teams go on winning streaks, and they’re still winning when they’re playing bad. Eventually it catches up, and it takes them forever to get back on track,” said Claude Julien. “This is where we have to be careful at this stage of the year. We have to make sure that guys understand that just because you're winning doesn’t mean you're playing well. And that’s on video, not on paper.
“Our team doesn’t get comfortable. We’re a mature team. We’ve been through a lot, and we’ve learned from our ups and downs, especially our downs. You're a better and more mature team because of that. I know our players don’t get complacent, but it’s also my job to make sure it doesn’t get there. They can do their share and I have to do mine, and that way we keep ourselves on our toes.”
Much of Julien’s thoughts about the subject came from a half-joking comment after Saturday’s game from Milan Lucic, who said he hoped the Bruins weren’t peaking too soon. It was innocent and meant to be funny more than anything else, but these are also the things hockey players worry about as the playoffs approach.
The last thing the Bruins want is a little laziness or satisfaction to creep into their game with only 15 dates left on the regular season schedule, and Boston with little to play for while so many other Eastern Conference teams are battling for their very postseason lives. That could spell serious trouble in the first round of the playoffs no matter how many division titles, or conference crows, the B’s capture this season.