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WILMINGTON — The Olympic break had been the carrot. Over and over, Bruins coach Claude Julien repeated that the team wanted to solidify its position at the top of the Atlantic Division in the final games before he and five of his players headed to Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics, and the rest headed for some needed rest.
His team responded. In the final 11 games before the break, the Bruins went 8-1-2, earning points in all but a loss to Montreal. It was exactly the way Julien hoped his team would play, and exactly the way the Bruins themselves hoped they would play, even against some difficult competition.
The issue will be replicating that.