B's know how hard first round can be

BOSTON -- Each of the Bruins’ last three first-round playoff opponents have taken them to overtime in Game 7.

In 2011, Boston defeated Montreal 4-3 in overtime. In 2012, the Washington Capitals beat the Bruins 201. In 2013, the Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic can’t explain why they’ve had so much trouble in the first round each year, but he’s hoping that changes against the Red Wings.

“I don’t know,” Lucic said. “It just seems to be the biggest battle for us and the hardest one to get through. I don’t think it’s going to be any different heading into this series, so we’ve got to be prepared to bring our best because you talk about the last three years, the other team hasn’t taken us lightly and they’ve given us their best. Maybe we kind of overlooked the other teams a little too much where we kind of got ourselves in holes and got into a Game 7 overtime situation in the last three years, so hopefully our mindset is where it needs to be in order for us to bring our best.”

Earlier this week, Bruins coach Claude Julien was doing his homework and found a stat that he found interesting, saying that 40 percent of the so-called underdog teams have won the first round.

“That’s a pretty high number in the first round,” Julien said. “So that means there’s a lot of upsets going on, so it’s not just us. It just means that when you get into the playoffs, you’ve got sometimes one of the top teams playing against a team that has nothing to lose, and it just goes to show you what pressure does versus we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

The Bruins played their best hockey in the month of March, posting a 15-1-1 record. In April, however, Boston went 2-2-3 down the stretch and let their guard down a little after they clinched the Presidents’ Trophy.

“Just because we had a couple of iffy games there at the end in Minnesota, Winnipeg, doesn’t mean we feel like we’re limping into the playoffs, or maybe not going at full tilt and let our guard down. I think this year, we’ve played pretty consistent and we hope that’s going to be helpful for us here in the first round,” Julien said.