Bruins’ Julien proud of his young defensemen

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We know the Boston Bruins are tough on defense and that captain Zdeno Chara is the face of that group, but the host of young players that have stepped up on the blue line this season are part of what impresses coach Claude Julien the most.

As Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com shares, guys like Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Dougie Hamilton have all played major roles in Boston this season and the coach has more than taken notice.

There are times when they did get caught, and I’ve got a lot of clips of that if you want,” said Julien. “But that’s how they learn; you have to teach along the way. Because they were allowed to do that, sometimes you learn from your mistakes and get better. … They’re young players who are getting better all the time, and they have learned. That is to their credit.”

Krug has been the player that’s gotten noticed the most this season because of his point production, but Hamilton has been paired with Chara and seen his game improve. Miller’s physical presence and Bartkowski’s all-around game have earned Julien’s trust.

Say what you want about the Bruins, but one area they’re not lacking is on defense and they could be about to get a lot better with Dennis Seidenberg returning to practice recently.

PHT Morning Skate: Bruins-Canadiens kick off Round 2

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If you thought there was going to be a night off to get ready for the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you’re sorely mistaken.

After last night’s Game 7 tripleheader, action moves to Boston where the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will meet for the 34th time in playoff history. You can virtually throw out everything you know about both teams when these two meet up because the playoffs are an entirely different animal.

Game 1: Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Bruins may have won the Presidents’ Trophy, but the one team that remained a burr in their side in the regular season was the Canadiens. Montreal went 3-1-0 against Boston this season with the Habs winning a pair of games 2-1, one in overtime, and each team taking a 4-1 victory on the other’s home ice.

Like we said, throw out everything you know coming into the series.

Each team has strengths in each area, but the one that might be the closest comes in goal. Carey Price had an outstanding season and Tuukka Rask is a Vezina Trophy finalist. Price was likely close to finishing in the Top 3 there but was edged out by Ben Bishop.

On defense, Zdeno Chara is the be-all, end-all of blue liners, but P.K. Subban was such a vital cog in helping the Canadiens sweep the Tampa Bay Lightning out of the postseason. The Bruins are all too familiar with how Subban plays and we’ll likely see him have more than his fair share of run-ins with Brad Marchand.

Up front, Patrice Bergeron has become the straw that stirs the drink on both ends of the ice for Boston. He can score goals and he can help shut down whoever he’s lined up against. He’s likely going to see a lot of either Tomas Plekanec or David Desharnais’ line, or just whatever line Thomas Vanek is on.

In Vanek’s career he scored most of his points against the Bruins with 30 goals and 62 points in 55 games. For people who like to point out those aren’t playoff numbers, Vanek had two goals and an assist in three games against Boston in 2010 before his ankle was injured by Johnny Boychuk.

Nope, no potential story lines in this series at all.

Julien: Bruins-Habs series starting faster than we expected

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To hear Claude Julien explain it, the Bruins don’t sound thrilled about starting their second-round series against Montreal so soon.

From CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:

The B’s bench boss admitted the Bruins were planning for a Friday or Saturday start to the playoff series with Northeastern University scheduled for Friday morning at TD Garden, and the thinking being that the TD Garden bull gang wouldn’t be able change over from playoff hockey sheet to graduating staging.

“We had to make some adjustments. Obviously at first, it looked more like a Friday, maybe Saturday. There was a lot of that talk,” said Claude Julien. “But there was never any talk of Thursday. So you plan accordingly and then you find out last night that you got to kind of move a little quicker than expected. That’s part of making adjustments as you go along.”

Last night, NHL officially announced the B’s-Habs series would start on Thursday — but has yet to announce the remaining times and dates for the series. A report from French-Canadian news outlet RDS claims Game 2 will go Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at TD Garden, which has yet to be confirmed.

Regardless of when either team thought the series would — or should — start, both will be sufficiently rested for Thursday’s Game 1. Montreal hasn’t played since closing out its opening-round series against Tampa Bay eight days ago, while the Bruins haven’t played since defeating Detroit on Saturday.

Habs-Bruins: embellishment already a hot topic

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The players don’t start battling on the ice until tomorrow at TD Garden, but the latest postseason installment of the Montreal Canadiens versus the Boston Bruins has already set off a war or words on the interwebs.

In response to Habs blog Eyes on the Prize, which expects “embellishment to be a major part of Boston’s game plan” during the longtime rivals’ second-round series — and has gone to the trouble of providing video evidence to support its case —  here’s CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty with a rebuttal:

The proof is in the numbers, plain and simple. The Bruins were dead last in the NHL with 230 power play chances in 82 regular season games during the 2013-14 regular season, and were – yup, you guessed it – dead last in the NHL during the 2012-13 regular season with 122 power play chances during the lockout-shortened 48 season campaign.

In fact the Bruins have consistently ranked from 23rd-30th in the NHL for power play chances under Claude Julien because the Boston coaching staff preaches a non-diving philosophy, and it’s something that Julien, in particular, feels is disrespectful to the game of hockey. It also embarrasses the referees that are trying to do the right thing.

Which team led the entire league in power play chances last season, and had nearly twice as many with 203 power play chances in those 48 games? That’s right, it was Les Habitants.

Yep, this is going to be a fun series.

For what it’s worth, Bruins legend Ray Bourque went on Boston radio this morning and said: “If [embellishing] gets you a call, why not?”

We will now step aside and let the commenters tear this place apart below.

Related: Bruins’ Julien says he ‘hates’ Montreal now that he’s in Boston

Bruins’ Julien says he ‘hates’ Montreal now that he’s in Boston

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Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s first head coaching gig came with the Montreal Canadiens, but being on the other end of that rivalry for seven seasons has made his allegiances pretty clear.

His quote to CSNNE.com could be used as bulletin board material if Habs head coach Michel Therrien is really reaching, even if it’s clear that Julien was having fun with the rivalry talk.

“I hated Boston when I was in Montreal, and I hate Montreal now that I’m in Boston,” Julien said with what CSNNE.com described as a wry smile. “You know this is the kind of series where you won’t need to give the players a pep talk, but instead you’ll send a message about managing emotions.”

No doubt about it, the latest installment of one of the NHL’s most storied rivalries should be a lot of fun. Julien seems hopeful that he can channel that hostility in the right direction.

In case you’re wondering, the NHL announced that Game 1 of this series will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday in Boston.