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Holding Defensive Game to High Standards

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following Sunday night's 4-3 loss to the Canadiens, Coach Julien cited the Bruins' defensive breakdowns and puck management as reasons for the defeat.

Naturally, as the B's move on to the Capitals tonight in Washington, D.C., they are looking to clamp down defensively in front of what's expect to be Tuukka Rask between the pipes.

"I think it’s really important for us every game," Rask said following Monday's morning skate, on the B's holding their defensive game in especially high standards. "That’s what our game is based on. We know that they had a tough start to the season, they really want to regroup in order to make the playoffs"

"I think today is a good test for us for that. Still, we need a good effort to bounce back from a tough loss."

Despite the six-game win streak prior to Sunday's loss, the Bruins had voiced during that stretch that they were still striving for a more consistent effort throughout games - that they had been able to find ways to pull out wins, but weren't playing their best hockey.

"A little bit," said Rask, on if he though Boston's game had slipped a little bit in their zone. "I think awareness in our own end a little bit, making some passes that aren’t there, maybe keeping your head up and you don’t know where your guy is and stuff like that."

"But, we have a really high standard, even if  it slips a little bit, we want to fix it. I don’t think it slipped too bad, but we have to get better."

"I think in situations we can be better," added Zdeno Chara following morning skate. "We’re still one of the better teams in the league. The ability in this team is pretty high, just have to make sure we bring out everything."

The challenge tonight will be bringing that strong defensive game against a team with offensive talent like that of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

"We are very much aware of the team they have, how much skill they have and the individuals that are at the top of the league, as far as the skill  level," said Chara. "We have to be aware of them."

"We know if we don’t play our way it’s not going to be a good game. We just have to bring our game."

"He likes to carry the puck, he likes to have the puck a lot," said Rask, on paying special attention to where a player like Ovechkin is on the ice at all times during a game. "I think it’s just  that you’ve got to be extra careful when he’s got the puck because he can shoot whenever."

"I think it’s important that defensively we get a little bit better," echoed Coach Julien pregame. "Montreal scored four goals against us, and a lot of it was from the crease area, which we addressed before the game, but certainly didn’t do a good enough job."

"We have to, again, our game has always been as good as we are defensively. It seems to really ignite our offense as well."

Collectively, the B's know they need to bring a better game against Washington, on both ends of the ice, to earn the two points against an emerging team.

"If we have an off game, we definitely try to improve ourselves the next game, work a little bit harder," Bruins forward Danny Paille said, on moving on from the loss to Montreal.

"I think that’s why we’ve been so successful this year."

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