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Bruins' late season pickups a big reason they're in Cup Final

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TSN.ca Staff
5/30/2011 11:28:20 PM
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Maxim Lapierre and Chris Higgins have been touted as terrific pickups for the Canucks at the trade deadline, and their value has helped Vancouver close in on their first ever Stanley Cup title.

But they are just a few of the prominent late additions that will play an integral role in this battle for the championship.

For Boston, the acquisitions of Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley - players who would have just played out the stretch with their non-playoff contending teams - are a big reason the Bruins are in their first Cup final since 1990.

“Obviously, it's nice. After six years, and not being in the playoffs, it's a different atmosphere, and everybody is looking forward to it,” said Kaberle, who was the longest tenured Maple Leaf before being dealt to Beantown.

While Kaberle helped solidify Boston's defence core, Peverley and Kelly added stability and more scoring punch up front. Peverley has eight points, while Kelly has chipped in 11 in 18 games.

“I'm extremely lucky to get traded to this team,” said Kelly, who was plucked from the Senators' roster. “This was a great team before I got here, and when I got here, I just tried to help where I could. Obviously, good things have happened here, and we're going to the finals.”

And they've accepted the roles they've been given - even though they're playing out of their natural position at centre.

“I think I played on every line last game. I'm all over the place, but I enjoy getting minutes and just try to play my game, use my speed, and I've been lucky to have been used in all situations,” said Peverley, who was acquired from the Thrashers.

“Both of those guys have switched from centre to wing and vice versa depending on the situation and what we needed out of them,” Julien said. “Those guys have really filled in a good role for our hockey club.”

It hasn't been all smooth, though. Kaberle has come under fire in these playoffs by media and fans for not meeting the high expectations that followed him as Toronto's top defenceman - this despite holding a plus-7 rating and leading Bruins defencemen with eight points.

“The outside, I just have to leave behind. It's to listen to sometimes, but it's all about hockey right now,” Kaberle said.

But talk to the Bruins, and they don't believe that's the case.

“Maybe sometimes the expectations are a little too high, and we have the tendency to get on a guy like that. I know from our dressing room, from our players' and coaches' perspective, we like him,” Julien said.

“These three guys that we've got, they're obviously special players,” said forward Nathan Horton, who joined the Bruins via trade before the start of this season. “When they came, you could just see the difference and see how good they really are. We're lucky to have them: they're pieces that we needed, and we're happy to have them.”

Chris Kelly (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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