Last night’s 4-1 loss against the NHL’s top-seated Detroit Red Wings may not have been exactly what the Bruins were looking for, but the team still felt they had a lot to be happy about.
“They’re the best in the league for a reason,” said head coach Claude Julien.
B’s goalie Tim Thomas
expanded on his coach’s statement, explaining that the Red Wings “have the record they have [because] they win tight games.
“They are doing a good job of it, too,” he said.
The post-game chatter in the locker room centered around Detroit’s style of play, which defenseman Aaron Ward compared to his former championship teams.
“They were fast [and] they have a lot of skill,” he said. “Most of the time when you look at the score sheet, it’s…the same guys.
“Those guys are as potent as they come,” Ward said.
Coach Julien noted similarities between the Red Wings and Finnish teams in European hockey leagues.
“Especially in the neutral zone, they’ll cover a lot of ground, and then they’ll force you to one side, and it’s almost like a half-ice trap,” he explained. “The weak-side winger comes right across, and they just take away that space from your guys.
“It doesn’t give you that many options, and that’s why you’ve got to make sure that you shoot pucks in past them and go on the attack and get the pucks in deep and hopefully get a good forecheck going.”
But, Coach cautioned against “getting cute” in neutral territory, saying that “they’re going to turn pucks over, and…they’re extremely good on the transition.”
Right-winger Chuck Kobasew, who scored the B’s only goal of the night, brought up the respect factor that had been mentioned at morning skate but said it was no excuse.
“I think the first period we executed the game plan, but we gave them a little too much room,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s giving them too much respect or just us sitting back.
“They are a smart team, and they play well together. It is no secret that they are what they are.”
Coach Julien was happy with the B’s play but knows they have some work to do.
“I thought for at least two-thirds of the game we played pretty well against them,” he said. “There were some lapses here and there, but overall we played pretty well.
“We have to have a better killer instinct in [five-on-three] situations and make those kinds of situations count. By not scoring on five-on-three, you let teams off the hook and certainly give them momentum.”
They may have lost tonight, but the Bruins won two of three battles in a hard week, and they were proud of that accomplishment.
“We have to take positives,” said center Marc Savard
. “We are heading in the right direction. We proved we could play with the best teams in the league.”
“You have to look at it in a way that we did get four points out of six this week, in a week that was huge for us,” Coach Julien said. “I thought we handled ourselves well.
“We could have come out with a perfect week, but overall, when you see the way you played, and you try to correct those few little things that we needed to do better, I think it’s a pretty good sign.”
Perhaps Ward summed the night up best, however.
“[Am I] please, happy [with the outcome]? No,” he said. “But, [I am] pleased there were some positives. Tonight I thought we were…a lot more consistent.
“We got pucks in, we respected them but didn’t show them respect, and that was the key.”