BOSTON, MA -- No matter the final score, Saturday's 4-3 shootout win over Nashville was exactly the kind of effort Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien wanted after the two tough days of practice that followed last Wednesday's upsetting 6-0 setback to the Buffalo Sabres.
But the extra point certainly didn't hurt, either.
"Absolutely. I think that’s what we told our players before the game, that it would be a shame if we wasted all that good effort in the last two days and not come out with the same thing this afternoon," said Julien. "I liked our game. Not what the score was, the game was a good one from our end.
"I thought we played a real solid 60-minute game."
However, it took more than 65 minutes for the Bruins to earn the victory over the Predators and Julien said that he and his coaching staff made sure that frustration didn't set in even in the face of repeated combacks -- and a late go-ahead goal -- from Nashville.
"Even when they’d score and tie the game, we just said, ‘Come on, we just got to [get it] back.’ The only time I sensed that...our momentum kind of slipped away a little bit in the second period [was] when they scored that power play goal, and it just kind of seemed to sink a little bit," said Julien. "But then it was important for us that we came back in the third and created a lead again, and when they scored it was about staying positive and making it happen, even when they made it 3-2.
"We were paying well enough that we couldn’t afford to hang our heads, and we had to battle through it. It could have, but we didn’t let it happen."
What did happen was possibly the B's most important victory of the new year as the B's faced off against a motivated and desperate opponent looking to solidfy their playoff standing.
"I think what you saw tonight is a good team on the other side. [Even] when they may not have their best game, they’re good enough team that they’re capable of keeping themselves in the game, even to the point where they took the lead," said Julien. "But as I was telling the players on the bench, we were playing so well, it was a 1-1 hockey game, it’s like, ‘This is want you’re going to be facing from here on in.’
"We can’t expect to have blowouts like we did earlier in the season. They’re going to be tight games, and we need to learn to win those types of games.
"We’re going to see a lot more of that. We have to be able to stay focused and positive and find ways to win those."
That's especially so with the mettle of the Eastern Conference -- the first place New York Rangers -- travel to Boston on Tuesday.
"I’m looking forward to it," said Julien. "I liked the game we played them last time, and even though we lost, it was a heavy game, two teams that are hard to play against, and that’s what we need right now.
"We had a great team [in Nashville] come in...to give us a challenge," continued Julien. "We’ve got New York coming in, and then we’ve got that six-game road trip that starts in Montreal, so it’s probably what we need right now if we want to get ourselves going in the right direction.
"We need those kinds of challenges, and I’m looking forward to it," repeated Julien.