Saturday night, following the Bruins disappointing 6-3 loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers in the TD Banknorth Garden, B's head coach Claude Julien was candid about his squad's performance.
“I saw a team tonight that, for part of the first period, seemed to be focused on doing what they had to do to win a hockey game. Then we stopped paying attention to detail,” said Julien. “We’re up, had the lead a couple times, and, instead of playing sound hockey, we decided, again, not to pay attention to detail.
“This was a game tonight that we needed as much as we needed the game last night, but we didn’t respond.”
Looking back, Coach Julien said that the blame could be spread around.
“I think there’s not much good to be said about our performance tonight because it wasn’t there,” he said, elaborating with a list of issues he saw.
“We got sloppy and gave up a number of [scoring chances], soft plays,” Coach said. “We weren’t very good from the back end out tonight.
“There’s concern about the [penalty kill], there’s concern about our power play,” he continued. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
The Panthers scored on two of four power plays, and, while the B’s penalty kill could be blamed for those two goals, there were still four more to be accounted for.
“It all goes hand-in-hand,” said Coach Julien. “When you aren’t paying attention to details in five-on-five, you aren’t paying attention to details on PK either.”
According to the coach, intensity also seemed to be an issue for the Black & Gold.
“One of the biggest things that came to us as the game went on is, we had guys caught low in the offensive zone, and they didn’t sense danger,” said Coach Julien. “Instead of working their way back, they were hoping we would keep the puck in. We call that cheating.
“We were hoping we would turn the puck over, and when we didn’t, we kept giving them outnumbered situations.”
Coach didn’t feel that tonight’s issues were occurring in all this season’s games.
“Some of the things we’ve done fairly well for most of the season,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful that you don’t panic in that regard.
“We’ve been good at home, for the most part; we had a bad night tonight.”
While the team played a game last night in Buffalo and flew back after, Coach wasn’t using exhaustion as an excuse for their performance.
“We need to learn that there’s going to be more back-to-back games,” he said. “It’s certainly not an excuse to say ‘We’re tired’.
We didn’t have a morning skate [this morning], gave the guys an opportunity to stay home, get their rest. We put all the odds in our favor as far as dealing with those back-to-back games.”
And in the intense playoff race that’s shaping up, the B’s game needs to be strong every night.
“If you want to be a team that’s going to be in the top eight, you are going to have to have [good games] on a consistent basis, night after night,” Coach said. “Not once every two or three nights.
“Right now, we need to build some consistency in our wins.”Game Notes:Muzz back in the puzzle…
In his second game back after a 19 game hiatus with a hip injury, Glen Murray made his point-scoring comeback in Saturday’s match-up with the Panthers.
Just 2:19 into the first period, Murray had an assist on Zdeno Chara
’s back-door goal that got the Bruins on the board. In the second period, Muzz was in position to take a shot on goal off P.J. Axelsson’s direct pass that put the Bruins on top 2-1.
After the game, Axelsson had only positive things to say about his teammate return to the squad: “He played really good. And even coming down to this stretch, scoring a little bit is going to get balance back.” Marco Milestone
Marco Sturm reached another NHL milestone tonight assisting on the game’s first goal for his 200th NHL assist.
This accomplishment comes just one week after he played in his 730th NHL game making him the all-time leader in NHL games by a player born and raised in Germany.
Sturm is only three goals shy of his 200th NHL goal milestone and three points short of his 400th NHL point milestone. Savard adds anotherMarc Savard
tallied his 48th assist tonight giving him assists in each of his last two games with 3-14-17 totals in his last thirteen contests.
Savard is in a three-way tie with Pavel Datsyuk and Jasson Spezza for second place for most assists in the league.Helin Siris contributed to this report.