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Despite Win, B's Unhappy With the Effort

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston, MA – The Bruins were not very happy with the way they finished Monday night’s 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. After jumping out to a three-goal lead early, it was only P.J. Axelsson’s empty netter that iced the B’s victory in the waning moments of the contest.

“This is something you don’t like to see,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien during his postgame press conference. “We’re getting used to wins, and that’s nice, but we’re at the stage now where we’re really looking at how we’re winning hockey games.

“The way we won this one tonight, we’re not going to win that many of them and that’s probably the lesson that needs to be learned here.”

It was a lesson that was memorized quickly by the members of the Black & Gold.

“I think we had a really good start to the game,” said B’s captain Zdeno Chara. “We were really jumping on pucks. We were not passing on shot opportunities. We created well in their end and scored two goals. It was a good first twenty minutes.

“But after that…we got away from our game plan.”

Coach Julien said that credit was due to the Lightning, who did not pack it in when Boston got the early lead.

"I think they came out a different team in the second period -- more determined to win battles, more determined to shoot pucks at the net and create something, and we weren’t ready for that," he said. "We probably thought they were going to roll over and die, and we were going out there not prepared to face a team that was going to challenge us.

"We got a little soft and comfortable and when we did have our chances, it was over passing and turning pucks over and over again (and) we got a little bit lucky tonight as far as the damage not being worse."

Asked what were the Bruins problems during second and third, Chara just shook his head and said, “We were not playing the way we usually play against teams.

“For whatever reason we started making plays that we were not making before. Just because it worked in the first period we were just getting too comfortable I guess and maybe we were playing with too much confidence.

“We have to make sure we stay with our game plan, our identity and not try to change it.”

Fellow defenseman Dennis Wideman had similar sentiments.

“That is something that we have talked about,” said Wideman. “Look at the first three goals and most of the goals that we have scored.

“This year there have been some nice tic-tac-toe ones, but the majority of our goals are chipping it in behind their D, going to work, protecting the puck, and creating stuff off of offensive cycles.

“When you start trying to do a lot of drop passes and stuff like that at the blue line, that’s when you start to get yourself in trouble. That might work once or twice but its not going to work every time. We just have to stick to what has got us to where we are at right now.”

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who earned his eleventh win of the season, was philosophical about the B’s play. He was asked why the team did not come out stronger in the third period, particularly since the Lightning had taken control of the momentum in the second.

“It’s because it’s hockey and it’s not always as easy as that,” he said with a small chuckle. “We’ve done a good job of keeping it going throughout this year but every once in a while, for whatever reason, you can’t put it all together, but then you come out with a win."

Meanwhile, it seems clear that Julien thinks his club needs to remain disciplined and focused if they want their winning ways to continue.

“We played (around) with fire tonight,” said Julien. “I thought we had a real good start.

“In the first period, we came out and did what we had to do, created some shots, and went to the net with the puck and once we got a comfortable lead we decided to get cute.

“That doesn’t really go well with our hockey club. “

Clearly, the uneaven effort left the Bruins head coach annoyed.

“We got off the bench after the game and it’s not really a good feeling and I think the players felt the same way,” he said. “Hopefully that’s a good sign, more than anything else, that we didn’t really feel good about it. More than being happy, that we can be sloppy and still get two points.

“We all know that we have to play for 60 minutes the way we can,” said Chara. “We won and it is nice to get two points, but we have to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes in the upcoming games.”

Boston will practice at Wilmington’s Ristuccia Memorial Arena on Tuesday morning before flying to Washington, DC where they will play the Capitals on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.
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