Julien expects challenge from Canes

WILIMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins (24-13-7, 55 points) host the Carolina Hurricanes (22-16-6, 50 points) Monday at 1 p.m. in the first game of a home-and-home set that will be continued Tuesday night in Carolina. While the Bruins have only faced Carolina once, when Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward made 37 saves for a 3-0 shutout win Nov. 26, coach Claude Julien has done his fair amount of scouting and expects a challenge the next two games.

"We haven't seem them as far as playing against them, but I've watched them quite a bit and they're a pretty good team," Julien said. "They're one of those teams that maybe flies a little bit under the radar where they are right now. They're probably a better team than where they are in the standings the way they've been playing as of late. They've got a lot of speed, their forecheck is really intense, and when they cross the blue line, they're a team that goes to the net hard. They throw everything there and they're a team that's hard to defend against."

Julien felt that the Bruins outplayed the Canes in their previous meeting, but knows that his team will have to deal not only with Ward, who was recently named an All-Star, but also a better and healthier Carolina team.

"I thought the game that we played against them, we played a pretty good game at home," Julien said. "To me we were the better team, but their goaltender stood tall for them and I thought he stole the game. But again, that's not the same team that they are now. They're obviously pretty healthy and I expect a pretty good tilt there tomorrow and Tuesday. This will be a pretty good test for both teams, I'm sure."