Washington, DC -- Claude Julien stood outside the Boston Bruins locker room at the Verizon Center and explained that his club had every opportunity to take control of Wednesday night’s game, but that it was the Washington Capitals who actually buried their chances.
“We’re going to call it missed opportunities,” said the Bruins head coach of the reason the B’s lost to an Eastern Conference rival. “We had some real quality opportunities there to score and thought we could have made a different game of it.
“That was the difference right there.”
Julien got no argument from inside the visiting dressing room.
“I think we came hard (but) I think all of us missed a little bit of focus,” said B's goalie Manny Fernandez (23 saves).
“We had a lot of chances. We played well defensively – enough to win at both ends.
“We came up short a little bit,” he said.
The Capitals, who now have a three-game winning streak against the Bruins at home, relied heavily on their goalie Brent Johnson (33 saves). On one of those saves, Johnson stopped a would-be Blake Wheeler goal into a wide-open net with a desperation lunge with his goal stick.
“I pulled (the puck) around him,” said Wheeler. “I saw him trying to poke check and once I got it around him, I figured I had the empty net and he just swung his stick back around and made an extraordinary save.”
Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau correctly credited his goaltender.
“He was pretty outstanding and you need that type of goaltending to win,” said Boudreau. “This league is too good…when we needed (him), he was there.
“You want to ride the hot hand and Johnny’s hot right now.”
Fernandez, watching from the other end of the rink, saw that and many other fine stops and marveled at the Washington goalies’ night.
However, like Julien the veteran goalie also implied that the Bruins had more to give going forward.
“I give credit to Johnson – he played terrific tonight,” said the B’s goalie. “He had a good game.
“But we’ll face other teams that are on a roll (and) I think we were just missing that extra push.”
Although he gave Johnson his due, Coach Julien clearly believed the game was lost outside of Washington’s goal crease.
“The one negative thing that I pull out of tonight’s game is that we didn’t put a lot of traffic in front of that net,” he said. “We’ve been pretty good so far, but tonight was one of the worst nights as far as shots in front of the net.
“We don’t want to take any credit away from (Johnson). He played a really solid game, he played well in net for them and I think he deserves a lot of credit but from my side of it, I know our team and we could have done better about getting in front of the net.”
Boston will practice in Atlanta on Thursday before taking on the Thrashers on Friday night.