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B's Look to Stave Off Summer

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
WASHINGTON, DC -- There's a chill in the air and April showers are making morning in Our Nation's Capital feel more like fall or winter than spring.

Maybe that works in favor of the Boston Bruins, who will try to stave off a second straight summer when they take on the Washington Capitals here at the Verizon Center.

In order to keep going and continue their work toward defending their 2011 Stanley Cup, the B's must shake off Saturday's defeat in Game 5, and bring whatever positives came out of the heartbreaking loss on Causeway Street to Washington's home rink.

That said, in the aftermath of an admittedly disappointing afternoon soiree, Head Coach Claude Julien wasn't in the mood to extol the virtues of his hockey club.

"There are some good things – I don’t think now’s the time to start [sharing] all those things with players," said Julien, whose club out-shot and out-hit DC. "Sometimes you’ve got to feel that sting a little bit in order to get yourself ready the next day and we’ll address that [Sunday] certainly before the game."

Missed opportunities continue to be a catch phrase for the B's 2012 postseason, and although Julien continued to laud the Caps' stingy defensive system the B's bench boss expects more from his squad.

"I think you’ve got to give them credit; they’ve got a game plan that they’re sticking to and they’re making it hard for us to score some goals," said Julien. "At the same time, the reality is we’ve got some players that can still be better for our hockey club.

"We don’t have everybody going and that’s the part that we’re trying to do here [is] get some guys going," added Julien. "Some of those guys are important players for our hockey club and they’re not where they should be at this stage."

Three Bruins got their first goal of the postseason in Game 5, but much like his re-entry into the playoffs last season seemed to spark the B's, Shawn Thornton's hard edge (5 hits) put a much-needed charge into the B's, who had to bounce back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period.

Thornton, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, threw his body at several Capitals, notably Matt Hendricks, and challenged both Hendricks and John Erskine to drop the gloves. Both men, noting the score and possible opponent, wisely declined. But in Thornton's ensuing two shifts, the B's scored twice in 28 seconds to tie the contest and give the sold out TD Garden new life.

"Well we had to get ourselves going here, especially after that second goal that we gave up," said Julien. "It was, to me it was a poor goal to give up on our part – so a little wakeup call and gave us some energy and then the guys responded.

"I though those goals were big [by Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand], got us back in the game and it’s unfortunate that the clock was running out at that point because we were really picking up some steam and then had to go in the room and get a rest there before coming out in the third."

The intermission might have been the B's biggest nemesis, as the horn ended Boston's opportunity to deliver a knockout blow.

"They came out and they scored the go-ahead goal and we had to get ourselves back into it," said Julien. "Their early goal...gave them some momentum swing and some confidence.

"We were able to battle back, score that big power play goal [by Johnny Boychuk]."

In the end, the Caps ability to employ Bruins-like hockey against the Black & Gold has backed the B's into a corner going into Sunday's game and Boston will face a very hostile, red-clad crowd as they look to fight their way off the ropes.

But Julien doesn't see this fight being over -- not by a long shot.

"This is how delicate these games are this time of year and when it’s all said and done you’ve got to make your own breaks," said Julien. "They made theirs and we didn’t make ours.

"But building on the positives...we’re maybe in trouble but we’re not dead," added Julien. "We’re certainly going to make tomorrow a game that’s going to create a Game 7 for us."
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