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Julien has some points

Areas need work, despite the wins

By Jake Seiner
Globe Correspondent / December 3, 2011
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WILMINGTON - The Bruins, coming off their first undefeated month since NASA put men on the moon, are decidedly the hottest team in the NHL.

But all coach Claude Julien wants them to do is stop playing with fire.

That’s the task for the first-place Black and Gold tonight at TD Garden as they take on the Maple Leafs for the second time in four days. The Bruins prevailed, 6-3, on Wednesday, marking Boston’s third blowout victory over Toronto in three tries this season.

The three-goal decision looks good on paper - most notably in the standings, where Boston has a one-point lead over Toronto in the Northeast Division. The road to that victory, though, was a treacherous one Julien would rather avoid.

“I didn’t think we played that well last game. I thought they played a pretty good game,’’ he said. “The score wasn’t indicative of the way they played and the way we played.’’

Among the Bruins’ deficiencies was their play in the neutral zone. Defenders were exposed in transition multiple times, most notably on the Leafs’ first two goals.

“I felt that we were slow to react,’’ Julien said. “When you give Toronto with their speed and their skill level some time and some space, they’re going to give you a good run for your money.’’

The defensemen were aware of their mistakes, but as a reminder, Julien ran them through transition drills yesterday. Up front, the forwards know they can help with more puck possession and fewer turnovers.

“I think if you manage the puck you’ll have success, and if you’re careless with it they’re going to make you pay for it,’’ Chris Kelly said. “If you put your defensemen in a tough spot by turning the puck over and not being in the right position to help them out, it doesn’t matter who you play, but against a good skating team like the Leafs, you’re going to be in trouble.’’

“Right now, we’re finding ways to win, but there are still some areas we feel as a coaching staff we need to improve on,’’ Julien said. “Part of our game is slipping a little bit. We have to make sure we fix those kinds of things and continue to make ourselves better if we want to continue winning hockey games.’’

See you soon

Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer were not with the team, instead prepping to play for Providence last night against the Connecticut Whale.

The pair had been with the big club for most of the season, but neither had appeared in an NHL game since mid-November. Julien said both are expected to return before the Bruins hit the road for a game Monday in Pittsburgh.

“We’re not going on a road trip with just 20 players,’’ said Julien. “They’re here with our team and this is where they belong.’’

Razor-sharp

Most of the Bruins have opted to shave with “Movember’’ being over, but Tim Thomas is keeping his lip blanket for now. “I haven’t decided what to do with the mustache yet,’’ he said. “It’s been pretty good luck. It’s day-to-day, a game-time decision, I guess.’’ . . . After scoring 11 goals in his first 15 games, Tyler Seguin has cooled of late, notching one goal in his last eight . . . The Bruins will be collecting new, unwrapped toys prior to all December home games, benefiting Toys for Tots.

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