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Bruins look to avoid getting lit up by Lightning again 03.27.12 at 1:00 pm ET
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The Bruins had some low points during their two months of mediocrity from mid-January through this month. There was the 6-0 loss to the Sabres in Buffalo on Feb. 8, or the 6-2 loss to the Panthers on March 15.

Right up (or down) there with those ugly games was March 13 against the Lightning. The B’s, with Marty Turco making his first start for Boston, got trounced in Tampa Bay to the tune of a 6-1. Turco was yanked after three goals in the first 4:31, and the Bruins gave Tim Thomas 18:35 and two goals on five shots of work before returning returning Turco to the net for good. The team was a mess defensively, and the Lightning treated the Boston zone like it was a free skate. Steven Stamkos had two goals in the game, including his 50th of the season, scored on a lazy wrist shot past Turco that NHL goaltenders usually stop with ease.

Since that loss, and the ensuing one vs. the Panthers, the B’s have showed more signs of life. They’ve won four of their last five games, have scored more, and haven’t allowed more than two goals in their last five contests.

Rich Peverley could only watch that March 13 game, as he was rehabbing his right knee, but after playing Sunday in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Ducks, the forward can see a difference in how the B’s are playing. When the B’s host the Lightning on Tuesday, they hope to avoid looking the way they did in the teams’ last meeting.

“I feel like it’s a tale of two teams, to be honest,” Peverley said of the Bruins now vs. then. “I was watching the way we’ve played of late, and I feel like we’ve done a really good job of managing the game. I think it’s confidence, and if we can keep building our confidence towards the end of the season, it’s going to help.”

Guy Boucher‘s squad is currently out of the playoff picture, as Tampa is seven points out of a playoff spot, but the Bolts are currently riding a three-game winning streak. They picked up a 5-3 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia Friday night.

If March 13 taught the Bruins anything, it’s that their former Eastern Conference finals opponent isn’t to be taken lightly. The Bruins will keep that in mind as they look to put forth a stronger effort and avoid another embarrassment.

“That Tampa game was obviously an embarrassing game for us,” Chris Kelly, who was a minus-1 against the Bolts on March 13, said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “If you ask anyone in this locker room, that wasn’t our style of hockey, and give them credit. They came out hard and played well and played right until the final buzzer like they should have, and we didn’t show up at all that game. They played well last night and are coming off a big win, so we’re going to need a much, much better than the last time we played them.”

Said Claude Julien: “It’s never a bad thing to feel the sting a little bit of it. There’s no doubt we didn’t play very well [vs. the Lightning last time]. They came out extremely hard against us, and we weren’t ready for that and because of that we lost a game. It was a pretty easy win for them.

“Let’s put it this way – the way we gave them goals and the mistakes we made along the way, so we have to be better tonight. If anything, we have to make sure we’re skating against this team. They play a system that if you’re not playing well, they’re going to keep taking the puck and putting it into their own end and take advantage of the offensive players that they have.”

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Game over: Guy Boucher has no tricks, only respect for Claude Julien 05.28.11 at 2:38 am ET
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Guy Boucher didn't try any funny business this time. (AP)

Much was made of Lightning coach Guy Boucher‘s mind games, as they seemed, in the Eastern Conference finals. The Tampa coach, who does have a degree in psychology, displayed various tactics to seemingly mess with the Bruins’ heads, from discussing imaginary Tim Thomas quotes to saying before each of the first two games that Patrice Bergeron would play, to overemphasizing Tyler Seguin‘s impact, to cleverly calling out a referee without using his name. During the series, Bruins coach Claude Julien would have subtle and not-so-subtle responses to Boucher’s methods, noting that Boucher was hyping the Bruins more than he was his own team, and after Game 6, Julien said he feared the pre-game referee talk could have influenced the game.

With the series in the books, Boucher had one last press conference, and it turns out that if he used a trick at all, it was a case of killing Julien with kindness. When asked how he felt the Bruins might fare against the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals, Boucher was sincere with his answer and made a point of it to express his respect for Julien.

“Both teams that make it there, to me, they are on even grounds, but one thing for sure, [the Bruins] are very well coached,” Boucher said. “You know Claude, I coached against him in Juniors, he’s always done a very good job. I was always very happy for his success in the past, obviously not tonight, but as he moves on, if there’s somebody that is going to beat us, that’s one guy I hope gets success.”

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Bruins and Lightning taking different approaches on day of Game 7 05.27.11 at 1:33 pm ET
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There are plenty of ways a team could treat a game of Friday night’s magnitude, and the Bruins and Lightning are taking two different approaches. Claude Julien said on Thursday that he wanted his players to be excited and he wanted them to fully realize the opportunity that was in front of them. He reiterated that Friday morning.

“Our guys just have to enjoy this whole process,” Julien said. “As I mentioned yesterday, there’s 27 teams right now that would love to have the opportunity that we have in the playoffs right now. This is one of those days where I think if you don’t enjoy the moment, you’re wasting a pretty precious day. You take advantage of it today, you get ready, you get excited about it, you come out tonight and you leave it all out there on the ice. Simple as that. Anything less than that is a waste of a day.”

The Lightning are taking a slightly different approach. Guy Boucher is trying to rein in his team’s emotions and not get caught up in the magnitude of the game.

“I think that’s the challenge is to be able to control these emotions,” Boucher said. “We didn’t want our players or ourselves playing the game last night or this morning or this afternoon. It’s our job to make sure that we stay focused on what we’ve got to to do, not the hype of everything else that this game means.”

It will be interesting to see if one approach pays off more than the other, or if either approach even has an effect on the game. Players often say that everything goes out the window once you get into the flow of the game anyway, so it’s entirely possible that neither team’s game-day mindset will mean anything once the puck is dropped.

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Guy Boucher considers Sean Bergenheim ‘doubtful’ for Game 7 at 12:53 pm ET
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Lightning coach Guy Boucher said Friday morning that forward Sean Bergenheim is “doubtful” for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Bruins. Bergenheim, who has not played since leaving Game 5 of the series with an undisclosed lower body injury, participated in the team’s morning skate Friday, as he did Wednesday before missing Game 6.

“I wouldn’t say optimistic for now,” Boucher said of Bergenheim. “It’s better. He might try the warm-up. We’ll see. I’ve still got to talk to my therapists and doctors. There’s been some improvement. To what extent, we’ll have to wait and see, but doubtful.”

Bergenheim has nine goals in the playoffs, which at the time of his injury led all postseason skaters. He has since been surpassed by teammate Martin St. Louis and Bruins center David Krejci, both of whom have 10.

Boucher said that the absence of Bergenheim, who was exceeding expectations on the third line (he had 14 goals in the regular season), makes it more difficult to deal with the Bruins’ offensive depth.

“Obviously you want to think of your own team, but at the same time, when you look at the Bruins’ depth, it does make a difference, because instead of equalizing things, it has a tendency to give them a little upper hand on that,” Boucher said. “They’ve got [Tyler] Seguin on their third line and [Michael] Ryder, and [Chris] Kelly is doing really well. They’ve got [Rich] Peverley on the fourth line — first-line guy from another team on their fourth line — and that’s where Bergenheim became extremely important for us in the previous series and this series where the line with [Steve] Downie and [Dominic] Moore played like a first line.”

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Guy Boucher confirms Dwayne Roloson will start, Sean Bergenheim still questionable 05.26.11 at 7:17 pm ET
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Lightning coach Guy Boucher confirmed Thursday that Dwayne Roloson will be his starting goaltender in Friday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Boucher has started five of the series’ first six games and was pulled in two of them. He made 16 saves in Wednesday’s 6-4 win in Game 6 and has just a .851 save percentage in the series. Asked Friday whether Roloson would get the nod, Boucher replied, “yep.”

Boucher offered an update on forward Sean Bergenheim, who has nine goals this postseason but has not played since leaving Game 5 with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

“Well, he’s seeing our doctors again today,” Boucher said Thursday. “He’s going to have another evaluation tonight and tomorrow morning. And we’ll see, but right now it doesn’t necessarily look like something positive for us.”

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Claude Julien says he isn’t concerned with what Guy Boucher is saying at 4:06 pm ET
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BEDFORD — One day after a complaint about officiating may have suggested Guy Boucher could be getting to him, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday at Hanscom Field that he is not concerned with what the Lightning head coach is saying.

Boucher called referee Eric Furlatt “lopsided” against the Lightning prior to Game 6 in Tampa Bay, and after a game in which the Bruins weren’t satisfied with the four penalties called against them, Julien said that “hopefully what was said [by Boucher] didn’t have any impact” on the officiating. Boucher fired back in his press conference by pulling out the box score and counting that the Bruins were penalized less than the Lightning.

After the team landed in Bedford, Julien declined to take the semi-war of words any further.

“I’ll tell you what,” the coach said. “I’ve been around this game too long to worry about what’s going on on the other side. Right now I’m focused on our team. It’s as simple as that.”

Game 7 will be played Friday at TD Garden.

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It’s official: Everyone’s complaining about Eric Furlatt at 12:02 am ET
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TAMPA — Bruins coach Claude Julien said he “disagreed” with the officiating in Wednesday’s Game 6 loss to the Lightning. The Bruins had five power plays to the Lightning’s four, but players and the coach took issue with some of the calls. What made matters worse in Julien’s eyes were the fact that the calls came on the very day that Tampa coach Guy Boucher called referee Eric Furlatt “lopsided” in favor of the Bruins this postseason. Entering the game, Furlatt had called 24 penalties on the Lightning, as opposed to nine on the Bruins.

“What was more disappointing is probably the fact that I don’t know if I agree with those calls,” Julien said when asked about special teams. “Hopefully what was said today didn’t have any impact on that, because if it did, I’d be really disappointed. You look back at those, and you get an opportunity to look back at them, and it’s really, really tough to swallow.”

Boucher fired back in a unique way, actually picking up the game sheet to present his counter-argument when asked about Julien’s words.

“Well, first of all, I was asked that,” he said. “I didn’t bring it up myself. I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me. Those were the facts and the numbers. If you’re asking me,” Boucher said as he took out the box score and began reading off it, “the power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I don’t know, who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.”

The Lightning went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the B’s were 1-for-5. Tampa was called more often, but Bruins players felt the calls against them may not have been legitimate.

“Well, I mean, it seemed like some of them were just makeup calls because we had a bunch of [power plays],” a frustrated Milan Lucic said. “You’d hope it’s not the time of year where there’s makeup calls like that. You can’t let the refs get to you. You don’t want them to be difference, and you want to do whatever you can to work past that. We don’t want to make excuses because of referees, but then again, we have to do whatever we can to not take penalties.”

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