As seen on NESN --
|Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, right, is congratulated after his overtime goal by Bruins left winger Marco Sturm, of Germany and Bruins right winger Mark Recchi, left, in the NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Boston won 2-1. (AP Photo/Don Heupel) |
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien didn't see much that he didn't like on Friday night in Buffalo during the 2-1 overtime victory over the Sabres.
"I thought for a team that had played two games in two nights against two really good teams, I think we handled it well," he said. "We battled hard tonight."
The B's did indeed fight hard and returned home with four important points thanks to consecutive night victories over the Thrashers and Sabres.
"We needed that," said Julien. "We are a little behind right now, as far as our expectations, and we know that we have to play better.
"We had committed ourselves to really start playing well on this road trip and hopefully build on that."
There was nothing little about the performance of some of the Bruins brightest young stars, Byron Bitz, Milan Lucic
and Tuukka Rask
"He was pretty dominant out there," said Julien of Bitz smart, physical play throughout the Bruins victory. "That line really (of Lucic, Steve Begin and Bitz) played well.
"And that goal, with the way that Luch went to the net and Bitz made the big play...when you look at the replay and you see Luch just take off from the D-zone and make a B-line for the net -- that was a great, great play," said Julien.
Lucic's goal, his frist of the season, tied the game at 10:54 of the second period.
Rask (25 saves) made that tie hold up until the overtime.
"He was very strong tonight," said Julien of his rookie goaltender. "We talked about it before the game.
"Any goaltender, when you play consecutive games, you get into the groove.
"He's played three in a row now and every game he's gotten better and better...so we're in real good shape there, when you have a young goalie like him coming up big for us when we need him and Timmy who is already a proven goaltender.
"It just makes that a position of strength," said Julien.
Leadership wise, the B's also find themselves in a position of strength. Last week, Coach Julien said that Boston's best players had to be the team’s best players. And on Thursday and Friday Boston's most recognizable faces returned to the fore.
Boston's stawart center Patrice Bergeron
scored the shootout deciding goal on Thursday. Then, just about 24-hours later, he whirled out of a faceoff and tipped a Zdeno Chara
blast from the point past the Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller just 47-seconds into the OT .
"We've been practicing that quite a bit lately," said Julien of Bergeron's move to the front of the goal. "You know getting some traffic in front of the net, and not just that, but tipping [the puck] and screening and those kinds of things.
"You saw a few of those tonight and a lot of them were tipped wide, unfortunately. But...our net front presence is something we're trying to improve to help us score more goals."Boston practices on Sunday prior to a trip to St. Louis and a date with the Blues on Monday night.