|The B's will look to avenge a 3-2 loss in Carolina |
But Boston Head Coach Claude Julien has no desire to focus too much on the team in the visiting locker room.
"I think right now, the state of our team is more about how we're going to play the game. It's more about our play," said Julien. "I think we just went out there against Chicago and did just that. We thought about the process that we had to go through in order to have success and eventually that came around.
"I think we have to keep doing that until we really get comfortable with our game and feel confident about it and I think that's still a work in progress right now."
However, that progress was evident thanks to the hard work -- particularly in the neutral zone -- that the B's put into their 3-2 shootout victory in Chicago.
"Well, that's just one of the aspects of the game and I think it was a little bit better," said Julien. "I think the one thing that we had to try and do though, is try and minimize [their] speed and at times they used their speed.
"They're a hard team to contain in the neutral zone because when you take away the forward options, that defensemen can carry the puck very easily through the neutral zone with some speed.
"So that's not an easy team to contain through the neutral zone and overall I thought we did a pretty good job when you look at the shots and the scoring chances that were against us against a pretty potent team. I didn't mind the effort that was put in there," he said.
Injuries have conspired to put the B's behind the eight ball early this season, but two of the newer faces in the B's lineup have been able to help the B's muddle through a sub-par start.Benoit Pouliot
has been making consistent contributions to the cause, but Julien thinks that the forward is just scratching the surface.
"What I see is basically a guy getting more comfortable and his work ethic is there," said Julien. "you see him working hard, and we keep working with him as far as making sure he's adjusting to what we expect from him and what our system's all about.
"He's very receptive and you can see him working at that. So I think, again, you have to give him some time...as long as you see improvement and there is some."
The same could be said about rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowsky, who could see some time on the B's blueline tonight if Adam McQuaid
(game-time decision) is unable to play.
"Well what I see is probably, [Bartkowski] processing what's going on a little quicker," said Julien of the young defenseman's progress. "You know, this is a bit of a quicker league than the American Hockey League and you have to make those decisions a little quicker and that's where experience sometimes- and even practicing with us is going to help him."
That said, the B's depth on the blueline has helped the B's to a top-five standing in team Goals Against Average (1.77).
"I think we've tried different pairs together to see which ones seemed to blend better as a pair," Julien said of his defensive rotation. "I mean, certain guys play better with certain guys so we're kind of weighing that right now and seeing where those things are going to get- I guess- where guys are going to get comfortable with each other.
But you've seen what's happened with McQuaid out and last game [Bartkowski] having maybe a little bit of limited ice time, five guys have played together and kind of mixed and matched, so we're comfortable with that too.
"So, we'll do what we have to do."