"It’s going to be a good challenge for us," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "[It's] something that we probably need right now, some good opposition and, obviously, some better games from our group."
To that end, the B's held another intense practice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena on Monday, but Julien indicated he is keeping a wait-and-see attitude.
"Well, I mean, we’ll be satisfied after you see the results in the games," said Julien. "Obviously, we’ve worked hard and hope it’s a step in the right direction, but the games are what is important right now.
"The results from those games and the way we play is what is important."
Julien was, again, blunt about the B's struggles. Asked what the biggest issue was for his club, Julien said "keeping the puck out of our net.
"This is a team that through the course of the year has been pretty stingy and lately we haven’t been," continued Julien. "It’s a lot of everything.
"Our goaltending has been good and needs to continue to be good. I think our whole game as a whole, in the defensive zone, we‘ve had a lot of breakdowns and a lot of bad penalties at bad times that have resulted in goals as well.
"Your whole team needs to be cleaned up, but no doubt if we’re going to start winning some hockey games, especially this week against pretty good teams, we’re going to have to be a lot stingier."
Julien pointed to the team's need to open up their game as a possible cause of the Bruins current defensive frustrations.
"Well there’s a transition here, where at one point of the year we weren’t scoring enough, and you wanted to score a little more," explained Julien. "You add some elements to your game that’s going to allow you to do that.
"[But] we don’t want to subtract the other part of it and I think right now that’s what we’ve done.
"We’ve added some offense, but defensively we haven’t been as good as we can be.
"So it’s important for us to continue to play, or do the things offensively to improve our game, but we also have to work harder at coming back and doing the right things defensively," he said.Decisions, Decisions
Speaking of coming back, the return of forward Brad Marchand
from a two-game suspension leaves the B's with some decisions to make on offense on Tuesday, even as they have to choose between seven -- or possibly eight -- healthy defensemen.
"I’m not one hundred percent sure here on the logistics of it," said Julien of defenseman Shane Hnidy's possible return to the B's blueline corps. "He looks okay to me and I think it’s a matter of making sure he’s cleared by everybody and whether the [long term injured reserve] is done by a certain date, so those are all things you have to remember.
"But we’ll probably see him at some point, whether it’s tomorrow or at some of the other remaining games. We mentioned yesterday we brought him in to give us some depth and he hasn’t played all year.
"If we want him to be a depth player, at some point he’s going to have to play," he said.
Julien also talked about choosing one of his forwards to take a seat in the pressbox.
"Well that’s a decision that we’re going to have to make tomorrow. I think it’s something that’s part of the process. We’ve got healthy Ds now and we’ve got thirteen forwards so there’s going to be decisions that have to be made from here on forward," he said.Home Cooking
Boston's home record comes into this week at 24th in the league -- 33 games played, 16-12-5. The B's road record stands second at 38 games, 23-10-5, just behind Detroit (24-10-4) in second league-wide.
The B's play eight of their remaining 11 games at TD Garden, but Julien remains steadfast that the Bruins have a golden opportunity to play so many games on Causeway Street to conclude the season.
"Yeah, I think this is a great opportunity to get our home record to where it should be," said Julien. "We’ve got lots of games here and obviously some good challenges, too.
"To me, there’s nothing wrong with what is going on here, as far as our schedule is concerned," added Julien. "I think it’s a great opportunity and we have to take advantage of it."