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Bruins Hit the Road in Search of Identity

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- Prior to Tuesday night's 3-0 setback to the New York Rangers, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said he hoped that his team would continue the good work they had put in over the weekend against the Nashville Predators and even improve their play against the Eastern Conference-leading Broadway Blueshirts.

"I’m not saying we didn’t do anything right," said Julien. "We spent some time in their end, and we had some good shots, and we did some good things.

"[What] I’m talking about, overall, is a team game, and the identity of what you’re looking for as a team wasn’t there."

Boston came out of the locker room with a good tempo, and was able to pour numerous shots on New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's net. But it was an early power play goal for the Rangers that put Boston back on its heels for much of the game.

"We certainly could have done more, but I think, you look at our team right now, and it’s certainly not the team we’re used to seeing, identity-wise and everything else," said Julien. "You can shoot 42 shots on net, and it may look good on paper versus 20, but the mistakes, the identity, the battles.

"I think they won more battles than we did tonight, especially in their own end - so certainly not good enough for the Boston Bruins."

When the B's did create opportunities, Lundqvist was there to turn them away.

"I don’t know," was Julien's answer when asked why the Swedish goaltender has been so tough on Boston. "I think he plays well against us, and we’ve just got to do a better job.

"We had some chances tonight in close, and Zdeno [Chara] had the open net there, hit him in the head. I mean, there is some luck involved, but a good goaltender makes his own luck. We thought we had a goal, but not tonight."

We certainly could have done more, but I think, you look at our team right now, and it's certainly not the team we're used to seeing, identity-wise and everything else. - Coach Julien
Dennis Seidenberg's shot at 10:01 of the third looked initially to have beaten Lundqvist, but replays showed that the puck never actually entered the net, but had lodged into the outside padding of the goal.

"That kind of, I guess, was a symbol of tonight’s game," confessed Julien. "We weren’t going to get a break, and it was one of those nights where we just had to suck it up and do the best we could.

"He’s been good. He’s a great goaltender. He plays deep in his net, but he’s sharp and very quick. You saw that we had an empty net, I thought we had a goal, and he stuck the glove out and made the big save. I think that was on [Tyler] Seguin.

"I’ve always said he’s a good goaltender, and just because he doesn’t play for you doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve these compliments."

But on this night Julien had few compliments for his own club.

"We’re a checking team that scores. That’s our identity," explained Julien. "Right now, we’re not checking, and we’re not scoring.

"We’ve got to get back to get back to checking, and checking is playing a lot harder, winning battles, and being really hard to score against. And when you do that, then teams get frustrated like we did tonight -- make a few mistakes -- and it ends up in the net.

"So they beat us at our own game."

Julien hopes the B's find their own game during a season-longest six-game, 11-night road trip through Montreal, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo and Ottawa, but said that the club can't expect the travel to be the cure-all it has been in the past.

"Somehow we’ve got to use this road trip here to turn things around," he said. "But there’s no easy way out - I’ve never heard of an easy way out.

"Teams have had to battle their way out," he added. "That’s what we’re going to have to do."
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