Bruins' edge: Experience

Posted: April 09, 2012

BOSTON - The Boston Bruins still have Tim Thomas, and they've added something they think might be even more important as they try to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

"It's called experience," coach Claude Julien said of the lessons he learned in the Bruins' title run last year. "Once you've got that experience, it makes you a better coach, and the experience I gained last year, I certainly hope to be able to utilize to my advantage this year."

The Bruins won their first NHL championship since 1972 last year, thanks largely to the Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Thomas and some young forwards who emerged during the postseason. Like their coach, those players have another year of experience and the confidence of knowing they can win it all.

"I feel good about our team," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Sunday. "I think we have more skill, because I think our skill has matured from last year. It's so tight, I mean, you've got to get some luck along the way, but I think we've got as good a chance as any to come out of the East."

The defending Stanley Cup champions earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They will begin their title defense against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at the TD Garden.

Last year, Boston escaped Montreal in a seven-game series in the first round, and after sweeping the Flyers, beat Tampa Bay in another seventh game to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 7 in Vancouver.

"Playing a couple of Game 7s, and Stanley Cup final Game 7, that's going to go a long way," second-year forward Tyler Seguin said.

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