The Boston Bruins take a six-game winning streak into Thursday night's meeting with the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m., NESN), but coach Claude Julien is not taking Columbus lightly.
On the surface, the Bruins are rightfully big favorites: They are the defending Stanley Cup champions and they have won twice as many games during their current streak as the Blue Jackets have won all season. But Julien said Thursday might be a classic trap game.
"As you know, it's a dangerous game, too.
"There are always those situations where a team comes in having a tough start to the season and your team mentally isn't prepared properly and you don't prepare as well as you had the other games and you end up regretting it at the end.
"We just can't afford right now to fall into that mode," he said.
The Bruins are currently as hot as any team in the NHL, but Julien wants to keep everything in perspective.
"We dug ourselves a hole, but We're still digging ourselves out of it," said Julien of the Bruins who remain just shy of the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 18 points.
"So there is no reason for us to be taking the game lightly," emphasized Julien. "It is a big game and we've got [to have] a good finish here on this home-stand and we've got an opportunity to go to New York and two games after that are divisional games.
"I think the next 7-10 days are huge for us."