|Claude Julien says ‘lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now’||03.06.15 at 8:50 am ET|
It’s been the one thing that has haunted these Bruins all season.
They can’t find a way to finish scoring opportunities in and around the net and wind up regretting it at the end of the game. Such was the case again Thursday night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames. There were several chances for the Bruins to put some distance between themselves and Calgary in the early and middle parts of the game and they simply couldn’t find the finishing touch.
There was Daniel Paille with a wrister on Flames goalie Karri Ramo midway through the first period. There was a slap shot from Dougie Hamilton that was deflected away by a stick at the last moment. But there was no better example of Boston’s inability to find the scoring touch than when Loui Eriksson, on a 3-on-1 rush, had the puck on his stick and fired wide of an empty net midway through the third period.
Carl Soderberg, without a goal since Jan. 17 against Columbus, has now gone 17 games without a goal. He had two chances in the opening period and couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Again, the challenge of our lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now,” coach Claude Julien said. “So I think we had the better of the game, five-on-five. There’s no doubt we played a lot more in their end then they did in ours.
“It’s a little bit of maybe confidence, and you squeeze your stick you’re trying so hard. There’s a lot of guys, use Carl Soderberg as an example. He’s really struggled the last little while scoring goals, and guys are putting pressure on themselves. There’s games where you like your team’s game, but your finish is what ends up killing you at the end.”
Julien realizes that the Bruins had chances leading 1-0 and 2-1 to really do damage and failed to seize on the opportunity because they simply couldn’t finish.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Claude Julien on shootouts: ‘They suck’||03.05.15 at 11:12 pm ET|
Claude Julien hates shootouts, just like everybody who has anything to do with the Bruins hates shootouts.
The reason the Bruins hate shootouts is because they’re bad at them. After falling in eight rounds to the Flames on Thursday, Boston’s 2-7 record in the shootout this season is better than only the Kings’ 1-7 mark.
So, when asked about shootouts following Thursday’s loss, Julien cut off the question.
“They suck,” he said.
The reporter responded, “Hmm?” before Julien enunciated a little better.
“They suck,” he repeated as clearly as he could. “That’s my [feelings on] the shootout.”
Julien was then asked if he was talking about his players or the shootout, which was a good question, given that Bruins players happen to — to borrow a term — suck at shootouts. He said he meant shootouts, though he was probably just being nice.
Though the Bruins have participated in nine shootouts this season, no Bruins player has multiple goals. Reilly Smith, who leads the Bruins in attempts, is 1-for-10. Patrice Bergeron is 1-for-8.
The Bruins also participated in the NHL‘s worst shootout of the season less than a month ago, as neither the Oilers nor the B’s scored until the 12th round in the teams’ Feb. 18. In case you had to guess, it was the Oilers that scored and won.
To make matters worse, the Bruins had to deal with bad ice as they tried to turn their shootout luck around Thursday. Both Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug lost the puck as they tried to skate in on Karri Ramo, with Spooner losing the puck so badly that he couldn’t attempt a shot. The puck also skipped on Brad Marchand.
The good news for the Bruins is that there aren’t shootouts in the playoffs. The bad news is that you get more points and make the playoffs when you in shootouts.
|Claude Julien growing tired of ‘carelessness’ and ‘poor work ethic’||02.11.15 at 7:27 am ET|
As bad as the Bruins power play was Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the Stars, Claude Julien sees a bigger problem. His team is getting sloppy and careless when it matters most.
One example came when the Bruins had tied the game in the second period, 3-3. They get a power play and a chance to take their first lead. Instead, they allow their second short-handed goal of the night. They couldn’t recover.
“I think carelessness is one [issue],” Julien said. “[Just] poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft and real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight. We talk about the lack of power plays we get, and tonight we get some and we don’t do anything with it so we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play but this loss.
“I thought when we tied it 3-3, the start of our second period, even in our second period, I think we had at least seven good scoring chances. But a lot like last game, too, we had some great opportunities right in front of the net and we’re not burying those. Same thing with Montreal, in the first period we could have had the lead 1-0 with Price out of the net and they’ve got guys in the crease and we didn’t bury those, so again it’s a challenge of burying your chances, and what it ends up doing is giving them the opportunity to take a lead.
“And our power play wasn’t good, but at the same time we had lots of opportunities to score goals tonight throughout the whole night. We had lots of shots, lots of loose pucks in front, and because you don’t bury those you end up on the losing side of things, and that’s one of the reasons, besides not having enough guys playing at their capabilities.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Zdeno Chara says ‘my bad’ for running into Dougie Hamilton and giving Montreal game-winning goal||02.09.15 at 9:40 am ET|
For as much as Bruins fans might be frustrated with the unfinished chances that Daniel Paille continues to generate, no play summarizes Boston’s frustration this season with the Canadiens than the one in the opening minute of the third period Sunday night.
Dougie Hamilton had the puck in the high slot and appeared ready to take aim on the impenetrable Carey Price, with the Canadiens leading, 1-0. But Zdeno Chara, reading David Krejci circling around the net, collided with Hamilton. The back-check of his own teammate gave Dale Weise the puck. Weise found a sprinting Max Pacioretty at center ice and Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask between the pads for a 2-0 Canadiens lead.
“That was my bad,” Chara said. “I saw David going around the net and I moved in and that’s something that I shouldn’t probably – usually you have the crossing defenseman moving in. I may have misread it and it ended up costing us. I’m taking blame for that because that’s something I should be more patient with and maybe take a look. Dougie [Hamilton] was in the right spot, David made the right play and, I don’t know, I just thought that I would have a chance to move in but that’s not the way we play.”
“I saw him last second,” Hamilton said of Chara. “I don’t know, I haven’t really seen it yet. I don’t know, just a bad bounce, miscommunication, and it results in a goal.”
Claude Julien did see it very clearly and left no doubt that he felt badly for Rask. It was his goalie who saved Chara in the first period when he lost a puck at the blue line and turned away a chance from Jacob De La Rose. In total, Rask stopped 31 of 33 shots but fell to 3-13-3 all time in the regular season against Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »
Sooner or later, the Bruins will have to find a way to solve Carey Price.
On Sunday night, the league’s top goalie stonewalled the Bruins for a fourth time this season, stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins that gave Montreal a clean sweep of the four-game season series. What does it mean to Price?
“That’s what they are. They’re a really good team, well-structured,” Price said. “They work hard. They’ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team, and I don’t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’ll see them again.”
In those four games, Price has allowed just six goals, turning aside 113 of the 119 shots he’s faced. On Sunday, he admitted he was a little bit lucky to go along with being very good. The best example of that was in the second period when Loui Eriksson fired a shot on goal from the left circle after he left his crease. The puck hit his stick and popped straight up in the air and into his glove.
Then came his two saves in the same period on the tough-luck Daniel Paille. One was a kick save on Paille, who was right on the doorstep and took a pass from Torey Krug but could not finish. The other was a stick save on a shot from Paille from the right circle.
“Lucky. I don’t even think it was going in, to be honest,” Price said of the second Paille chance.
In the first period, Craig Cunningham had a chance in the low slot with Price again scrambling in the crease. But there was Michael Bournival there to get a piece of it before Price could get back in position.
“Absolutely, yeah. We had some guys bailing me out,” Price said. “That’s what it’s all about. We’re a committed team to blocking shots, and battling in that blue paint, and tonight it paid off in a close one.”
The flip side of this is alarming to the Bruins, especially coach Claude Julien.
“I don’t think we made Carey Price‘s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn’t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren’t good enough, and in order to beat this team that really gets up for us our best players have to be our best players and we didn’t have that tonight.”
How do the Bruins go about making things tougher?
“Traffic,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s pretty obvious I think. I don’t think there’s any goalie in the league that likes to have traffic in front of him. We didn’t do that probably consistently for the whole night.”
“Like every goalie you have to get in front,” added fellow blue liner Dennis Seidenberg. “If the goalie doesn’t see the puck he can’t stop them or he can’t make a save. There are going to loose pucks and we just have to get there in front of him and then get those second chance opportunities and that has been missing in the past.”
The Bruins have two months to find what’s been missing against Price.
|Claude Julien on loss to Blue Jackets: ‘Can’t afford to have those kind of outings’||01.17.15 at 11:16 pm ET|
Normally a team wouldn’t be too disappointed with one loss after a five-game winning streak, but considering that the Bruins are still fighting for their playoff lives and the Blue Jackets are out of the playoff picture, Saturday’s 3-1 loss was pretty disappointing.
“I’m disappointed,” Claude Julien said after the game. “I don’t care, six wins in a row, whatever, we just can’t afford to have those kind of outings. Disappointed that we didn’t come to play harder than we did tonight and we wanted to take the easy way out. When we do that, we’re not successful.
“We’re a north-south type of team, we backcheck hard, we forecheck hard, and we make things happen by taking pucks to the net. Tonight we weren’t willing to do that. When we got into the battle you could tell they wanted it more than us. We’ve gotta accept the blame and the responsibility. We weren’t good enough tonight and we shouldn’t accept that.”
The Bruins did have 35 shots on goal in the game, but as multiple players pointed out, they didn’t do enough to make those saves tough ones for Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney. There was a lot of settling for shots from the outside, not setting screens and not being in position to get rebounds. That lack of getting to the so-called dirty areas seemed to be more frustrating for Julien and the Bruins than the loss itself.
Technically, the Bruins can actually afford the loss. They’re still ahead of the Panthers, who suffered a shootout loss to Edmonton Saturday night, for the eighth and final playoff spot. In terms of points, the B’s have a four-point edge with the Panthers holding three games in hand. In terms of points percentage, it’s .587 for the B’s to .581 for the Panthers. The Bruins also hold a 22-15 edge in regulation and overtime wins, which could matter for tiebreak purposes if it comes to that.
The Bruins weren’t going to keep their winning streak going forever, but suffering a letdown and having it snapped against a non-playoff team doesn’t sit well. The Bruins will look to get back to playing the right way during a mini-road trip to Dallas and Colorado this week before heading into the all-star break.
|Claude Julien finally likes what he sees in his ‘focused, energized’ Bruins||01.09.15 at 9:51 am ET|
A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
That’s what he saw Thursday night in a 3-0 win over the hapless Devils at TD Garden.
“I think we seemed like a real focused and energized team tonight,” said Julien, who watched as his team outshot New Jersey by a stunning 43-14 margin. “I think the biggest thing we did was we executed the way we were asked to execute and I thought coming in late last night – the first period it was so important to get our legs under us and put pucks in behind him in and get our feet moving and get a good forecheck. But what impressed me the most tonight was how hard the guys worked to get back and the layers were there, so we didn’t give them much room or too many opportunities.”
As DJ Bean points out, Thursday might be a sign that the team is finally embracing the Julien message. Wednesday and Thursday marked the first back-to-back wins since before Christmas and come after the Bruins lost three straight one-goal games.
“So that was the kind of game we like to see our team play,” Julien said. “So, you want to build on that kind of stuff. Again, you never consider yourself out of the woods, but certainly something that’s real positive to build on.”
The one man in the locker room all season the Bruins have been waiting on to pick it up is Milan Lucic. His power play goal at the end of the first period picked up every single player in black and gold and gave the team a lift it desperately needed after outplaying, outshooting and outworking the Devils.
But what really stuck out to Julien was how his team responded to adversity of its own making, namely looking disorganized and impotent on a 5-on-3 power play.
“Well, what impressed me again, a lot about that. Obviously our five-on-three wasn’t great, and you know, there’s times where your team could have just fallen apart or lost its momentum ‘ we came back the next shift and we kept going and we never lost the pace of our game.
“So, that was important for us. And then again that power play goal at the end of the second, just kind of justified, I guess, the period that we were having. At least coming into the dressing room with the lead, it would have been disappointing had it not been that way. But our guys had a good first and we stayed with our game and got rewarded there at the end of the first.”
The other aspect of Thursday’s game that encouraged Julien was how the team picked up the slack for Loui Eriksson, unavailable after injuring his hand the night before in Pittsburgh. Leading the way there was Mr. Reliable Chris Kelly, creating a turnover that led to Carl Soderberg’s goal making it 2-0 in the second.
“He did a great job on that forecheck, forcing the guy to turn the puck over and Carl ‘ who had also a real good game, scored a big goal for us,” Julien said of Kelly. “But Kells is always going to be Kells. He’s not flashy and sometimes underrated by a lot of people, but we know how important he is and some of the things he does. The team needs a little bit of everything, and he’s not in the goal department, but he’s certainly in the other department that gives us a real good identity defensively.
“I think again our forecheck ‘ we talked about how important our forecheck had to be and that was one of the things that we looked at for our own team before looking at New Jersey. And our forecheck had to be better in order to spend more time and not let teams come out so easily.”