Boston, MA --
|P.J. Axelsson fights for a puck in front of Niklas Backstrom.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien chose his words carefully when asked about his club's level of intensity on Tuesday night.
"It’s hard to really judge or critique the competition level when our players are probably not at their best right now," said Julien. "We have a lot of players that are fighting the puck, not always making good decisions.
"You could see that coming a little bit. We’ve kind of lost that confidence moving the puck quick and getting our attack going and we have a lot of guys fighting the puck. It’s one of those situations that every team...goes through. I think right now it’s about us fighting through it and getting our game back to where it was when things were going well."
Obviously, a 1-0 setback is nothing to panic about, and Julien said as much.
But the Bruins head coach was less than thrilled about some of his players' work over the last two games.
"I don’t think it’s so much the other team, it’s a lot about us right now," he said. "Our game just isn’t quite there.
"We’re just not in sync right now.
"We see things from our team that definitely have slipped, and not as good as things (were) when they were going well," said Julien.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
agreed and said, "It’s something that we have to face and we have to stop sooner than later.
"It’s tough to lose games 1-0, but we lost tonight and we lost 2 points and we have to regroup really fast before it gets worse."
Yes, there are mitigating factors and Julien reminded the assembled media at his postgame press conference that the Bruins are pretty banged up at this point of the season.
"It’s a combination of a lot of things," he said. "[Andrew] Ference, [Aaron] Ward, [Patrice] Bergeron, [Marco] Sturm: I think those are four pretty important players missing out of our lineup.
"Eventually things catch up as well in different areas...[and when] you’ve got some top players that probably aren’t at the top of their game, it doesn’t take much to slip a little bit.
"We’re going to show the guys where we’ve slipped or what needs to get better. We’re going to work at and work our way out of it; that’s all you can do," he said.
One part of the Bruins game that has remained pretty constant is goaltending and the the puck stopping of Manny Fernandez in particular.
"I don’t think you can blame Manny when he gives up one goal when it was on a power play with a screen," said Julien. "He did his job. He’s one of the few guys we can honestly say was good tonight."
Fernandez, however, was already looking forward.
"We need to get back in next game and forget about this one, and the last one, and just keep going," he said. "You know it is going to take a little while before we get back on top [with] guys in and out of the lineup.
"It’s tough to get the same energy, but some of those guys are getting back now, they are getting their legs back and hopefully they will be there to help us out [and] if we get back to the rhythm where one guy steps up every night it is going to help us."
The veteran goaltender also said that this current downturn was a "good challenge" for the Bruins.
"It is a good learning process here in the middle of the season like that," he said. "You know we are going to have some adversity during this long stretch. If this is going to be it, we have to see what we are made of so it’s just time to get back to work."
That work begins in Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena today at 11:30 a.m.