After a week of travel, the team did not hold a full practice at Scottrade Center, with rest - mentally and physically - the priority.
The Bruins may have picked up a point in consecutive games, but their three-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the second Wild Card spot heading into Thursday night isn't much of a cushion.
They're a frustrated team that has dropped five straight losses, including three straight to start an 11-day, five-game road trip.
"I think guys are feeling the heat, feeling the stress of the expectations and stuff like that, so I’ve been trying to get these guys to not relax," Head Coach Claude Julien said from the Scottrade Center. "As far as the game is concerned, we’ve got to play better, but just mentally, they need to be a little bit more relax in order to be able to execute and think properly out there."
"You can see guys trying to do too much, guys missing open nets. We’ve got an open net, and you can see the frustration there [in Edmonton] when Looch came back to the bench. It goes to show, it’s not because guys don’t care; right now, we just, it’s about finding the right way to turn this thing around."
"And you haven’t done well on this road trip, you come here to St. Louis today - I guess if you want to justify not winning, you put everybody on the ice," Julien stressed. "But at the same time, it’s probably not the right thing to do because they do need some rest. We’ve been traveling a lot. Give them a chance to kind of recharge the battery. To me, it gives us the best chance to win."
Tuukka Rask was sensing the focus around the rink.
"It's tough when you lose consecutive games, it becomes really hard to stay loose in a matter of not overthinking and tightening your stick too much," said Rask. "So hopefully we take this today as a rest day and kind of regain our focus and start from scratch [on Friday], because it's going to be two big games coming up we feel like we can win."
The Bruins play the Blues on Friday night, before wrapping up their road trip in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.
"Just trying to do whatever we can to get on the winning track again and with two games left on this road trip, we have an opportunity to come out with 6 out of 10 points," said Milan Lucic. "So we have to make sure we do our jobs as players."
Ferlin Gets the Call
On Thursday afternoon, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that forward Brian Ferlin had been recalled fro the Providence Bruins. He was set to join the team in St. Louis on Thursday night. If he suits up Friday against the Blues, it would mark the 22-year-old's NHL debut.
"Well, management told me they were going to bring him in because they thought he’s been playing well," said Julien. "I liked him in training camp — he’s a big body, he can skate, strong along the walls, so when things aren’t going well, there are opportunities for others to maybe come in and help out. So there’s a good possibility you’ll see him in our lineup [on Friday]."
Ferlin is in his first full AHL season with Providence, after suiting up for three years at Cornell. The 6-foot-2 winger has appeared in 46 games, notching nine goals (third on the team) and seven assists for 16 points with 36 penalty minutes. He was drafted in the fourth round (121st overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, and the Jacksonville native would become just the sixth Florida-born player to appear in an NHL game.
Ferlin has always admired Lucic's play.
"I got to be on a line with him and Chris Kelly in the first couple days of training camp and big kid, strong kid," said Lucic. "I definitely saw some real good potential there. Big, strong winger that obviously plays a straight line type of hockey, which fits into our identity, so it's good to see him getting a call up and hopefully he can learn a few thing being around the guys up here."
Miller Placed on IR
Chiarelli also announced on Thursday that defenseman Kevan Miller was placed on Injured Reserve. Miller re-injured his right shoulder during Monday's game in Calgary.
Miller flew back to Boston on Tuesday and has seen various specialists this week.
"All I can tell you right now is it’s not looking good, as far as his situation is," said Julien. "I don’t know what the final prognosis is, but it’s not looking good."
Rask Could Get a Rest
Rask has made 15 straight appearances between the pipes for Boston, with 14 of those being starts. The netminder has always said he'd play every game if he could, but at this point, he could use a rest.
"Yeah, and I think that’s why we talked about bringing Malcolm [Subban] in, and we want to also see Malcolm at some point," said Julien. "So I realize, even though he’s told me he’s feeling fine, I think realistically you have to consider the fact that he may need a good break here, so there’s a possibility there that we may have to make that decision tomorrow."
If Subban gets the nod, it would mark his NHL debut.
"Obviously I've played a lot of hockey and it's been kind of an unusual situation for me too, playing so much, but that's why I said the other day, the more you play, the more tired you get, you don't even notice it and then you just don't stress about the game so much," said Rask, of managing any fatigue. "But you know, I'm sure I'm going to have a night off here in the near future - nobody can play every game."
"[This season hasn't] given the coaches the luxury of rotating us as much as he would have liked, and I have no problem with that."