WILMINGTON (CBS) – The Bruins outshot the Montreal Canadiens, 26-9, combined in the first and third periods of their game Thursday night at Bell Centre.
Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, the second period featured an 18-7 shots advantage for the Canadiens, and more importantly a 2-0 edge in goals. The Canadiens hung on to the 2-1 victory, and after the game Bruins coach Claude Julien called his team’s second period “atrocious and embarrassing.”
Julien and his staff then postponed by one hour his team’s on-ice practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday. That delay allowed the players to watch on video what Julien and others were subjected to Thursday night.
So was the second period as bad the second time around as the first?
“Yeah, probably worse,” Bruins center Chris Kelly said. “That’s the luxury of video. You know it looks worse after the fact. I think that it’s such a good learning tool, video is. When you’re in the moment you maybe don’t realize the mistakes that you’re making and maybe you don’t see the game like they see it from behind the bench or up top. It’s not what you want to see, but sometimes it’s what you need to see. And I think it was a good video session.”
The Bruins no longer have the luxury of pointing to the standings and using them as evidence that their inconsistent play isn’t costly. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who visit TD Garden on Saturday, are in first in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens leapt over the Bruins into first place in the Atlantic Division with that win Thursday.
For a while the Bruins have been grinding out wins. The full 60-minute efforts have been few and far between. Sure, they outplayed the New York Rangers on Black Friday and probably deserved to be ahead long before their third-period rally. But that game followed the disaster in Detroit, where Boston lost to the Red Wings, 6-1. Boston’s win against Columbus the night after the Rangers game wouldn’t have won a beauty contest. And then after four days off, the Bruins produced their roller-coaster effort in Montreal.
With five games in eight days, and a lot of travel, coming up starting Saturday, it was time for the Bruins to put in extra screen time in an effort to eliminate their inconsistency.
“Well it was important. We talk about the inconsistency of our game. And sometimes it’s from one to another, sometimes it’s like [Thursday] night, a certain period,” Julien said. “So we showed some video and where we’re getting away from our game and stuff like that. A lot of it is about seeing it, correcting it. A lot of it is about realizing it and maybe, I think, sometimes we have that challenge. Especially in the second period, I think it’s been pretty obvious to anybody that follows our team that our second periods at times have represented a challenge. So we’re just trying to work on our game as a whole and trying to fix the things that need to be fixed. And right now I think we’re seen our team play some real solid hockey. And we’ve seen our team really struggle at times. And like I said, sometimes it’s from one game to another and sometimes it’s from one period to another. So if we can fix that, I think a lot of things will be fixed.”
The second period has been the only one Boston has been outscored in (22-20) through 28 games this season. While the Bruins might’ve had to watch the second period of the Canadiens game through their fingers, they also got to watch some positive clips from the other sessions. That they’ve now recognized they can be better should be boon to their efforts to get first place back.
“Yeah, it certainly should [help],” defenseman Matt Bartkowski said about the video session. “Just showed us a lot of good things and then things that we need to work on. It’s always good to see what you can do better and what you do well. I think with that, we now, we’ve talked about playing a complete game and competing all year, but I think we’re finally ready to turn the page and become the team that we should be.”
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