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“We went into that whole venture to improve our team and we have improved our team. So there’s no real vindication,” Chiarelli said. “And there’s no secret to the quality of player that we traded. It was not a surprise that he’s doing what he’s doing.”

The Bruins are relatively healthy despite finishing Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres without three forwards. Chris Kelly missed the game with back spasms, Bergeron left after the second period with a minor injury and Daniel Paille was helped off the ice midway through the third period after a collision with Jake McCabe left him dizzy.

Bergeron is expected to play, and Julien said Sunday that Paille was “much better.”

The Bruins defense remained stingy despite the absence of Dennis Seidenberg since Dec. 27 and Adam McQuaid since Jan. 19. Chiarelli said Seidenberg, who had knee surgery, isn’t expected to return for the postseason, while the team is being careful about McQuaid’s recovery from a thigh injury.

Without them, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Kevin Miller, all 26 or younger, have played regularly. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk are the other two defensemen among Boston’s top six.

“One of our major themes going into the year was integrating the young defensemen, and I think (Julien has) done a good job,” Chiarelli said. “We had the luxury a little bit of these players who played the year before in real tense times in the playoffs.”

Now they must try to stop a team that values puck possession rather than dumping it into the offensive zone and chasing it.

But the Bruins are deep with six players scoring more points than the Red Wings‘ leaders - Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall with 49 - and five with at least 20 goals to one for Detroit.

“The top two lines cancel each other out, so your third line becomes important. You saw that with the year we won,” Chiarelli said.

And the fourth line of Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton has been together for several seasons.

“I’ve liked the look of that line,” Chiarelli said. “It’ll be key to our success.”