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Claude Julien: 'It's time for hockey to step up' in Boston

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  May 7, 2011 12:44 AM

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Tonight they're gonna party like it's 1992.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien was happy to see the black and gold advance to the third round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in 19 years.

"I think it’s a nice feeling and when you get past the second round and play the way we played through the series, it’s certainly fun to be in, as far as the situation," Julien said. "I thought our guys played well tonight. They tied the game up and we found a way again in the first period to get some important goals here and finish strong."

Julien said Bruins fans have been punished enough and it's time for the local hockey team to reach the heights that Boston's other pro teams have in recent years.

"I think the one thing that our team understands here is that where are some great fans here in Boston," Julien said from the postgame podium. "And I said in the first round, they have been punished enough. And they have had some tough years. Yet our building is filled right now and the fans are into it. For us, it’s rewarding to be able to give those fans what they have been waiting for for a long time.

"So you play for a city, you come from all over the place, but you are representing the city of Boston and the one thing you want to do is do them proud. And I think our guys have got that behind their minds here of continuing to do well here and hopefully bring in some pride to this city with this hockey club. We know that baseball, football and obviously basketball has done very well lately. And now it is time for hockey to step up and do the same thing."

More from Julien on the series clinching win:

On how rewarding it was to see Milan Lucic score two goals, his first of the playoffs… Well, you asked the question this morning and you got your answer, right? He scored two goals and he turned it around. So it was nice to see. Obviously he had a good time.

On if, going into the third period, he drew upon the fact that they had such strong third-period performances during the season…
Yeah, I think that’s one thing that the guys really have confidence in. They know that in the third period we’ve been a pretty strong team this year. So, going into the third, we’re a confident group and we believe in our ability to win hockey games and certainly that’s played a big role here in the playoffs, knowing that we can do that.

On Patrice Bergeron’s status…
I don’t know. I have no update for you guys right now. Basically, I can’t give you anything more than that.

On if he feels like the power play unit is coming together, given the back-to-back games with a power play goal…
Yeah, I think our power play, well, like I said we scored a couple of goals, has been pretty good overall. I thought in the second period we had one there that we didn’t do a very good job with our entries and consequently we didn’t get much of a power play out of it. But once we got control in the offensive zone, I thought we’d been doing a better job of moving the puck and creating some scoring chances, so hopefully that’s something that keeps getting better, because we all know we’re going to need it.

On the Montreal series and how the team responded to his “calming” influence as a coach…
Well, good. I think it’s important for our group to stay calm. It’s important for our group to stay poised. You’ve got to be careful not to get them up to the point where they go out there and we end up in the penalty box all night. So it’s about focus, it’s about poise, you know, making sure that we focus on our structure and how we play. No matter what the situation is in the game or in the series, I thought it was important for our group not to panic. Probably the biggest challenge was in that Montreal series, when we were down two games to nothing, going into a building that they had a lot of success in throughout their regular season. It wasn’t going to be an easy uphill climb, but we were able to get that first win and we seemed to build some confidence from there. So I thought that our message, or the message that I gave them after Game 2 here, and some of the players spoke from their past experiences, really helped us get through that. Right now I think we’re understanding the fact that if you’re calm, but you’re a focused group, it’s certainly going to help you win some hockey games.

On how well the defense played throughout the Philadelphia series…
Well I think the best example to use is Game 2 in Philadelphia when we didn’t respect that part of our game, you saw how hard they came at us. To be honest with you, we were lucky to come out of Game 2 with a win. They were dominant in the third period and obviously in a good portion of that overtime. All of that was because we weren’t respecting our game without the puck. I thought when we did a good job of it for the rest of the games, it obviously took away some of their strength, which was their offense. It certainly cut down on the scoring chances, but I also thought it gave us some good offense because when we turned the puck over, we were really good with our transition game and our offense stood out. So it’s a combination. They say, “Good defense creates good offense,” and I’m one of those believers.

On how Johnny Boychuk’s shooting from the point has been effective in creating offense…
Well obviously that was a big goal tonight. It certainly lifted the whole bench. Johnny’s got a good shot and we know the success that he’s had in the American League in the past on the power play, but for a good portion of the season here, he didn’t seem to be able to find that range or find those opportunities to use his shots so that kind of took away some of his opportunities on the power play. But we moved Patrice [Bergeron] up front and we certainly were looking for some plays down low and Patrice [Bergeron] is one of those guys that can create those, but at the same time, we wanted to have a good shot from the point, so Johnny [Boychuk] fit that mold pretty good and, you know, he seems to have found, again, the range, and found those openings for him to use his shots in the playoffs more than he had during the regular season.

On how Tim Thomas has played the entire postseason…
Yeah I think from Game Two on, I thought and even Game Three when we started that game in Montreal, a couple of tough goals went in on him. But in that third period when he made those big saves to help us win in Montreal, he has just taken off from there. What I like about Tim [Thomas] right now is he is very confident. He seems very calm as well, not overly busy in his net. But when he is busy it’s because he is making a big save. So I mean he’s given our whole team a lot of confidence. When you know you have that kind of goaltending it just makes your team that much more confident. And then certainly the guys are feeding off that.

On how Brad Marchand has played in the postseason…
Well he’s had a great year. Obviously as a rookie when you come in and score twenty goals, I think he had twenty-one, is certainly a great start. And for whatever reason he doesn’t seem intimidated by the playoffs, and he’s not nervous about it. And certainly he’s been a good player for us. When a player like him is being targeted by the other team it means he is doing something pretty good. And I think for him right now is just to stay poised and make sure he doesn’t get sucked into those penalties, retaliation or get short-tempered with that kind of stuff. And he’s done a good job. It’s been a challenge for him, but he’s done a great job. And I think throughout the playoffs he has been one of our most consistent players. He kills penalties, once in a while plays a power play, but five-on-five he’s been a real good contributer, especially on that [Patrice] Bergeron line.

On how rewarding it is to sweep Philadelphia…
Well it’s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year. Ever though we tried to turn the page we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series. I thought we played extremely well. It’s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.

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