Bruins ready for long, scruffy road

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins will officially begin defending the Stanley Cup on Thursday night when they host the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. And playoff superstitions are already in full effect, as Milan Lucic let it be known Wednesday that his playoff beard has begun.

“I did the last clean shave Sunday, so getting the playoff beard going and hopefully it will get nice and thick like it did last year,” Lucic said after practice.

But to the Bruins, the most important thing to start again is something they preached all season, and a mantra that helped them erase two 2-0 series deficits en route to the Stanley Cup last year: taking it one game at a time. Easier said than done for sure, but the core of this team has made a habit of practicing what they preach.

“We can’t look too much ahead or in the past,” center David Krejci said. “Like last year I had a bad first round but then I came back strong. So you take it game-by-game because it’s a long road. You can’t let frustration set in. Even when I think back to my first year and first playoff series against Montreal, I had one goal. So I want to start strong now. But if that happens, you move on. Right now it’s about [Thursday] and that’s it.”

Coach Claude Julien said he expects his team to be able to capture that mindset again.

“Well, it’s pretty simple -- that’s not going to change,” Julien said. “We’ve done that in the past and we’re going to continue to do that. So, as I’ve often mentioned, we’re a team that lives in the present and not in the future, and we don’t live in the past. Last year was last year and in order for us to succeed this year it’s important that we create that same excitement we had last year. So, it’s about recreating it, not about living in the past. ... You’ve got to recreate it and the opportunity to do that is tomorrow -- with having a good start and playing the way we know we can and feeling good about yourself.”