NEW YORK, NY - In stark contrast to Saturday's upsetting setback to the 13th place New York Islanders in Boston's TD Garden, Sunday's playoff-like matchup in New York City's Madison Square Garden had Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien proudly lauding his team's effort in a 4-3 loss against the first-place Rangers (42-15-7).
"I looked at our game as a whole, and our work ethic was where I wanted it to be," said Julien. "We were a pretty dominant team tonight in my mind, spent a lot of time in the offensive zone and that’s what matters.
"Maybe on the scoreboard, it might not have been a victory, but I think our guys feel pretty confident with the game they played tonight; that they’re capable of playing with the top teams and still being a top team ourselves."
But early in the first period, two quick goals by the New Yorkers had the B's back on their heels.
Julien used his timeout.
"Just to calm things down," was Julien's thought. "Those two goals weren’t great goals, so just had to calm things down a little bit.
"They did most of the talking and got themselves going and we took off from there."
Boston (38-23-3) had a dominant second period and kept the pressure on New York's all-world goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
"I wouldn’t worry too much about that," was Julien's answer to a question about Lundqvist's work against Boston. "I don’t think he’s in our mind if that’s the question you’re asking."
And Julien felt that the B's just needed a little luck.
"After our timeout, we just took the game over from there till the end and how we played well," he said. "We had a lot of opportunities, and we didn’t get the breaks we needed - a lot of posts, and pucks that bounced in.
"When you look back at their goals, certainly the breaks were on their side."
But the B's can't lay on the brakes as they continue to work on their offense.
"We’re capable of scoring goals, and right now as a team we’re just being challenged a little bit," he said.