Chiarelli knows expectations have heightened since Oct.

“I like to think that that has helped them, that that has contributed to the experience,” said Chiarelli. “At the end of the day, the only experience you can get is when you actually play in these games. So it’s not a concern. I’ve liked the way we’ve performed this year. We’ve had some statement games from our perspective and I thought we did well for the most part. So I expect them to step up their play and to build on the experience they have from last year.”

We’ll find out just how they’ll respond Thursday night when the puck drops for Game 1.

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