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B's Determined to be Better

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
ST. PAUL, MN -- The frustration was still there on Sunday night, just like it had been on Friday and Saturday, but it sounded different after the B's 2-0 loss in Minnesota.

After Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom made a career-high 48 saves (22 in the 3rd period alone), and shut out the Bruins with a new Minnesota franchise record for stops, Boston Head Coach Claude Julien didn't sound displeased with his club's effort - just the result.

But the frustration was apparent on all members of the Black & Gold, particularly on Milan Lucic after his bid to put the B's on the board died in Backstrom's glove.

"I think there’s some concern there, where we’re getting frustrated because we’re not scoring and we’re getting a lot of shots every night," said a much calmer Julien than had been seen in Winnipeg or at Saturday's practice.

"I think we can still be better as far as getting in front of the net and finishing around those areas. We had a breakaway tonight, so we’re getting our chances and right now we’re just not burying them.

"I think we’re squeezing our sticks a little bit at the time because of what we’re going through," added Julien.

There was some improvement from the Winnipeg game, a contest after which Julien questioned his club's determination and enthusiasm.

"I think that first period, again, was decent and the third period we spent most of the period in their end," said Julien. "It certainly was better, but the second period came as a challenge again.

"We have to find a way to be a little better, but when you’re not scoring you’re having to fight from behind all the time. You’re allowing the team to get the first goal and we’ve done that a lot and that’s tough in itself. In this league it’s tough to always come back from behind and creating that lead is so important to every team in this league and we’re struggling to make that happen.

"I think once we get over that hump and get those early goes and that lead, you’re going to see a lot of that confidence come back."

Beyond their February doldrums, the B's are dealing with the prolonged absence of two major roster pieces in veteran forwards Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley.

"I don’t think that’s the reason they’re squeezing their stick, but [it might] have an effect. It disrupts our line and our chemistry within each other, we’ve had to move players around so that’s been a challenge in itself," said Julien. "But we have to overcome those things. It’s not an excuse – it’s a reality. We’re still a better team than to be shut out the way we have been lately.

"That’s where the confidence has to come back, and you know, there’s times we had loose pucks we took the extra time to get around it and right now we’re just shooting right back into the goaltender. That’s what happens when you squeeze your sticks and things aren’t going your way."

And until things turn around, Julien said that his team has to continue to put in their work.

"You know it’s just taking it one step at a time right now, frustration is something that can be dragged on for a long time if you let it," said Julien. "At the same time like I told the guys, we can either be bitter or better. So lets work on getting better here.

"That’s what we’re going to try to do the next few days."
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