April 8, 2011

Bergeron, B's ready for 'real season' to begin

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. (Getty)

WILMINGTON -- At long last, spring is in the air in New England and that means one thing for the Boston Bruins: it's playoff time.

With two tune-ups left in the 2010-11 regular season, the Black and Gold are ready to make their final preparations before the postseason commences.

First up will be the Ottawa Senators, who will visit TD Garden on Saturday afternoon in Boston's final home game of the year.

"We need to make sure we're ready for a long run here," Patrice Bergeron said. "That's the goal. We need to make sure we come out, set our tempo and don't worry about them. Things will just fall into place because every time we do that we always come out with a big win. We just have to play our game, play hard and be confident we can do it."

The Bruins have -- somewhat understandably -- failed to bring their best effort over the last few games with their anxious minds looking ahead to next week.

While gaining points over this past week certainly would have helped, as there's still a very real shot they could move up to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, victories haven't been nearly as necessary as they will be in the playoffs.

"Well I think we're getting excited for the playoffs," said Bergeron. "That's when the real season starts. I think our preparation needs to be the same. There's more at stake in the playoffs, but we just have to stick to our system over the next few days and do what has given us success."

While the postseason is undoubtedly packed with pressure, as its outcome is generally all fans will remember at the end of the day, it's the most enjoyable part of the season for the players.

"We can't wait for the playoffs," Bergeron said. "It's a fun time of the year with the weather so great outside. You can tell the fans are really excited. It's fun."

With their foe still undetermined, as Boston could wind up facing one of the Canadiens, Sabres, Rangers or even the Hurricanes in the first round, the Bruins aren't bothering with intense scoreboard watching. They plan on being prepared for whichever teams comes their way.

"We're ready for whatever," said Bergeron. "We don't have a preference and that's something that's important. We have to be ready for anyone. There's still three or four teams (we could play). For now, it's about making sure we worry about ourselves. We'll know by Sunday night and it's not too far ahead."

Had their first-round fate already been decided, it wouldn't have had any effect on their approach to games No. 81 and 82 of the campaign.

"Even if we knew already, it's important that we get into the playoffs feeling good," Bergeron said. "There's two games left and Ottawa is playing well right now. They beat Montreal last night and the play hard. It's going to be tough and we need to be ready."