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Claude Julien: Bruins ‘not great at playing catch-up hockey’

01.14.14 at 11:24 pm ET
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While Claude Julien acknowledged that the Bruins’ special teams have been struggling, and that Tuukka Rask has been fighting the puck recently, the one thing he kept coming back to in his postgame press conference on Tuesday was that his team can’t keep falling behind.

“I think it’s hard to win in this league when you have to play from behind all the time,” Julien said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now. We’re not great at playing catch-up hockey.”

It’s true that the Bruins have been falling behind quite a bit recently. On their recent West Coast swing, they went down 3-0 to both the Ducks and Kings, and unsurprisingly lost both games. A week before that, they fell behind 3-1 to the Senators and wound up losing 4-3.

Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs was actually a little different, though. The Bruins didn’t fall behind by multiple goals early on like they did in those other three losses. In fact, they had two different leads in the first period, and didn’t trail until the middle of the second.

They went into the third trailing by just a goal, and while Julien says his team isn’t good at playing catch-up, the numbers indicate the Bruins are actually better at it than most. Entering Tuesday, the B’s were 5-10-0 when trailing after two periods, good for the third-best winning percentage in the NHL in such situations. So this wasn’t quite the same as falling behind by three goals, a situation in which no team is good.

The biggest issues Tuesday were defensive lapses, a poor penalty kill and another shaky performance from Rask. Those problems eventually led to the Bruins falling behind, and Julien eventually touched on some of them in his postgame press conference.

“I thought the first 10 minutes, we came out pretty hard,” Julien said. “Then it just kind of leveled off. We gave them a couple goals. You let a guy go to the front of the net for a rebound. The other one, you take a penalty because you don’t dump it in when you’re trying to get a line change. Those are all things that are self-inflicted. Until we clean up that part of our game, we’re going to be coming from behind, like we did again tonight.”

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