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Bruins Bookend a Win

A strong beginning of the first and a strong end of the third give the Bruins their 30th win of the season

Friday, 01.9.2009 / 9:53 AM ET / Features
By John Bishop  -
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Bruins Bookend a Win
The B's celebrate. (Photo by Babineau)
Boston, MA -- It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. And after the Bruins 30th victory in the 41st game of the season – the exact halfway point of the 2008-09 campaign – at first, head coach Claude Julien had mixed emotions.

“I guess the win itself was important,” he said in a disappointed tone. “The way we won wasn’t so good.”

The admittedly uneven effort, which broke a short two-game losing streak, put the Bruins seven points ahead of the Washington Capitals for the lead in the Eastern Conference and 10-points in front of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division.

“I think we’ve got a lot of things here that are challenging us,” continued Julien. “We’ve talked about some of them the other day.

“We certainly have some of our better players that are really struggling, finding their groove again.  And with the amount of injuries we have and with some of our better players not playing as well as you’re used to seeing them, it certainly makes for a struggle.”

Despite that struggle, postgame, the Bruins veterans were actually talking about a big win in the Bruins locker room.

“This was a very important game, more important than everybody thinks,” said Bruins All-Star Zdeno Chara. “It’s the kind of situation where you lose a couple games and the team starts questioning their talent or their play.

“It was a good way to bounce back.”

Fellow All-Star Marc Savard had similar feelings.

“A win’s a win,” said Savard. “Especially now, after we lost two, we’ll take it.

“We know we have things to work on and we’ll go from there.”

During his press conference, Julien’s sentiments seemed to soften, as he was able to digest the club’s turnaround during the evening.

“I thought our first six minutes or so of the game and the first half of the first [period] were pretty good and I thought after the fight (which featured the Bruins Shawn Thornton vs. Ottawa’s Chris Neil at 8:47 of the 1st period), Thornie stood in there and did a great job for us,” Julien explained.  “Where I was disappointed is that we didn’t respond, they did.

“They kind of took the rest of the period over and came into the second and [there were] a lot of bad mistakes.”

But after thinking on the evening while talking to the press, a question about Blake Wheeler -- who was a little too cute in his stickhandling for his coach’s taste in the B’s loss to Minnesota -- led to an admission by Julien.

“I sometimes have the tendency [to remember] those little mistakes,” he said. “[They] stick out in your mind as coaches.

“You have to be hard on him at times, and at the same time you have to let him go through those learning curves as well and be patient a little bit with him.”

And those feeling seemed to sum up his view of his club as a whole as the Bruins coach came full circle in his thinking.

“It was [an important win],” he said in the end. “We had talked about that also before the game…that it was either as we say, ‘stop the hemorrhaging,’ or ‘continue to slide.’

“You lose three in a row and your confidence takes an even bigger beating.

“Losing this game would have certainly hurt us a lot more than we think.  Winning it might hopefully be what we needed to get back our game.”

After all, it’s hard to compare the everyday struggles of a hockey club to the high-flying days of a 10-game winning streak.

“I think we’re at a stage where we have a tendency to be highly critical of our team and ourselves because of what we have done so far,” said Julien. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going through some tough times with some players that are maybe a little ‘under performing’ right now.”

Boston practices at the TD Banknorth Garden on Friday and will begin the second half of the season on Saturday afternoon against Carolina.




1 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
2 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
3 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
4 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
5 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
6 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
7 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
8 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48


P. Bergeron 73 21 31 2 52
L. Eriksson 73 19 23 0 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
M. Lucic 73 15 25 10 40
B. Marchand 69 22 17 6 39
C. Soderberg 74 11 27 8 38
R. Smith 73 12 25 8 37
T. Krug 70 12 23 12 35
D. Krejci 39 7 21 7 28
C. Kelly 72 7 20 8 27
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .919 2.30
T. Rask 29 19 12 .921 2.34
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