CHICAGO — The Bruins took the ice at United Center for a quick morning skate, and coach Claude Julien was pleased with what he saw as the team prepares for the drop of the puck in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“I think I saw our guys focused,” said coach Claude Julien. “I thought we had a good morning skate, a short one. At the same time, I think our guys were focused, but also loose in a way that you can tell most of them have been through this before.
“I know for a fact that a few years ago there was some nervousness in our group and everything else. I feel good about our morning skate. So hopefully it shows tonight.”
Julien spoke about finally facing a Blackhawks team that offers some of the same challenges as the Pittsburgh Penguins did in the last round.
“I think we know what they do,” Julien said. “It’s just reacting to their strengths, hopefully exploiting some weaknesses in teams and everything else. That’s what you’ve got to do.
“I think at the drop of the puck, both teams are going to try to do that, they’re going to try to establish their game. I know they will and so will we. I think that’s why everybody is excited to see this series start and see what happens here at the drop of the puck.”
Julien was asked if he had any specific matchups in mind going up against a team that the Bruins didn’t face this season.
“I don’t think there’s much, again, that we don’t know about each other,” he said. “Although we haven’t played against each other, I don’t think our game plan is going to change. What you’ve seen us do in the other rounds, we’ll continue to do because it’s worked for us.”
While Julien agrees with the comparisons of Chicago to Pittsburgh, he believes the Blackhawks will bring a special set of skills to the matchup.
“As far as I’m concerned, they have their own identity,” Julien said. “They do things that no other teams do, that we’re aware of. When you look at their back end, they have a lot of Kris Letangs — let’s put it that way — that can carry the puck up the ice and attack. There’s a lot of things they have. Through our scouting reports, what we’ve watched, we see a lot of those kinds of things.”
It all gets going at 8 p.m. EST when the teams finally meet each other face to face in Game 1.