There has been a great deal of talk about the Eastern Conference finals between Boston and the Tampa Bay Lightning but the Bruins are ready to dispense with the talk and get Game 1 underway tomorrow night at TD Garden.
This morning was their final tuneup before the puck drop and they are itching to get it going. Coach Claude Julien said the team's final workouts were designed to get them focused and mentally ready after a protracted layoff.
"Yesterday we did a lot of grinding and battling and that kind of stuff that we're going to need to do in this series,'' said the coach. "Today was a little bit more about flow and speed. We've been trying to keep our guys as sharp as we can and part of that is us making sure we prepare for the practices accordingly and the other share belongs to them. They have to be mentally ready to do those kinds of things and to execute well and I think the guys have been really good about that and they've done a good job.''
Julien said both the Bruins and Lightning are coming in all even and he has a lot of respect for his opponent.
"They're not here by accident,'' Julien said. "They're here because they belong here. When you get this far in the playoffs, the teams that are here are not underdogs, they're not anything. Teams that are here are here because they deserve to be here. Right now, we're starting with a clean slate with no teams having won a game. We understand we're facing a team that has a lot of confidence right now and seems to have a lot of depth with scoring and is playing well. We've just to be ready to face that.''
Julien reiterated that center Patrice Bergeron will miss the beginning of the best-of-seven series. He just isn't sure how long he will be sidelined because of the concussion he suffered in Game 4 against the Flyers.
"He's improving, he really is improving and we're optimistic about him,'' Julien said. "How much he's going to miss, I can't tell you right now. He's on the right track. I'm not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions, you've got good news and you've got setbacks. You've got all kinds of things that can happen. So I'm not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now it's going in the right direction.''