|Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask of Finland stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres' Tyler Ennis (63) under pressure from Bruins David Krejci (46) of Czech Republic, during the first period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/ David Duprey) |
It was a disappointed but proud papa bear who talked about the group of Bruins in the visitors locker room of HSBC Arena in Buffalo.
"This is playoff hockey, so the guys are going to give it everything they got," said B's head coach Claude Julien. "I think both teams certainly went hard to the net and then threw as many pucks as they could at the net.
"There were some scoring chances, and again, both goaltenders did what they were expected to do.
"They both played well."
The game played out as advertised, with Tuukka Rask
and Ryan Miller stealing the show. Miller made 38 saves to Rask's 30, but Julien praised his rookie goalies poise and performance.
"He was great," said Julien, a-matter-of-factly. "I think when you look at the saves he made at the end when we were trying to stay in it and trying to tie the game up.
"They had some power plays and had some opportunities and he made some huge saves and gave us a chance. So no complaints about that.
"I thought he was really, really good for us tonight."
Julien liked the play of the rest of his squad as well, but hopes that the B's can find the back of the net with more frequency going forward.
"I thought we played well in the second," said the B's head coach of the Bruins 24-shot onslaught in the middle stanza. "Obviously, we didn’t get the go-ahead goal.
"Where [Craig Rivet] shot it from, we could see right from the bench, Tuukka couldn’t see anything, he was screened. It was a good goal, top corner.
"We still had lots of time to get back into it, but unfortunately, we found ourselves in the box in the third, and that certainly made it harder to get some momentum."
Julien sees the series being won and lost in the triangle from the faceoff dots to the goal mouth, and the B's bench boss thinks Miller got a pretty good look at most of Boston's shots.
"Yeah I think there’s no doubt, he probably saw more than we would have liked for him to see, but I think that’s an area where it can get better," said Julien. "They know that and they’re going to do their best to keep us out of there.
"So that’s where the battle happens.
"I know they had a couple guys at times in front of the net, not one but two guys, and they were doing the same thing," continued Julien. "I think they got some respect for Tuukka that way as well. They know that if they want to score, they need some traffic in front.
"I think we’ve seen similar things when it comes to scoring goals from both teams."
Julien expects to see similar things -- hard fought battles along the boards and in front of both creases -- on Saturday, too.
"This is playoff hockey," said Julien. "It’s intensity, and everything else.
"It’s one team responding and the other one doing the same thing.
"It’s part of the game and it’s the intensity that’s there."