|Boston Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton (22) scores a goal against Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth (30) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, in Washington. Bruins center Tyler Seguin (19) looks on. The Capitals won 4-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) |
However, to the mind of Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, that makes the Southeast Division leaders (18-11-4, 40 points) that much more dangerous to the Black & Gold (16-10-4, 36 points) in tonight's match-up.
"There’s that, but there’s also our own situation where we’re winless in the last three, so we’ve got to show some determination and some resilience here to turn that over," said Julien, whose Bruins are 4-4-2 in their last 10.
"We have to play better right from the get go," continued the B's bench boss. "Everybody knows that. It’s been well publicized and talked about."
Julien's solution included superior starts for the B's.
"Our starts are so crucial for us, that’s what we need tonight," he said. "Usually, when you have a good start it kind of puts our team in the right frame of mind and usually gives us the opportunity to play a solid 60 minutes."
Just outside the visiting locker room, Washington's head coach, Bruce Boudreau, said he referred to the Caps' past successes versus the B's while he planned for tonight's tilt.
"We looked more back at what we did last year, because I think we were 3-0-1 versus them last year," said Boudreau. "It's easy when you follow the game plan -- it seems easier, anyway."
Obviously, given the Capitals recent record, Boudreau's game plan hasn't been followed to it's highest potential over the past seven games and it won't get any easier as the coach sees a hungry Bruins club waiting for his team tonight.
"They are a meat and potatoes, really good team, right through the lineup," said Boudreau. "You just have to play really perfect hockey to beat them.
"And then you have to play more perfect hockey to beat [Tim] Thomas."
A good start was also prescribed by Boudreau, but he added that it was a given.
"I think that's something every coach says about every game," he said. "We could talk about being fragile or getting ahead, but...in this sport, anyway, you want, every game, to play from above.
"If you look at the records of teams that are leading after the first or leading after the second -- what they end up with as their game records, it's quite amazing.
"So, it says that it's tough to come from behind in the NHL," said Boudreau.