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The Bruins wilted over their last 10 games, going 3-7-0, and the Maple Leafs were only a slightly more respectable 5-4-1. The squads enter their first-round series as classic No. 4-5 seeds, neither good nor bad, each in need of focus, a foothold, something to provide playoff momentum.
“We are challenging ourselves to get our game back,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
All of which tells us precisely where the Bruins are. They know their identity, which is centered in defense and heavy, physical play, yet they strayed greatly from that model over the second half of the 48-game season. They have the talent and toughness to blow the Leafs out, but these last 3-4 weeks have been their shakiest since winning the Cup in 2011.
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