BOSTON -- Bruins head coach Claude Julien was certainly happy with his Bruins eventually securing Thursday night’s two points, and has to appreciate the sudden third period pushes that have allowed the B’s to come back from deficits in recent games.
But the B’s also snoozed through the first two periods of Thursday night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and didn’t start showing net-front urgency or any sustained offensive push until the third period clock started ticking. If not for a masterful goaltending job by Anton Khudobin and his 29 saves, the Bruins might have come away disappointed against a Hurricanes team they need to handle if they harbor hopes for a playoff return.
A Torey Krug scoring blast in the final minute of regulation, aided by a Teuvo Teravainen kick into the net, was some much-needed relief for a goal-starved Bruins team. The goal was also thanks in part to David Backes grinding away in front, and getting into a net-front battle with Teravainen that helped boot the puck in the Carolina net. Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak also chipped in with shootout goals during the last two games, so that was a positive as Claude Julien and Co. work to cement a consistent lineup in the little-utilized shootout.
With all of this Julien still challenged his group postgame for more while knowing full well the Bruins haven’t exactly hit their franchise high water mark this season, and that there is room for his Black and Gold group to really improve offensively, defensively and on special teams.
“They created a lot of turnovers so you can’t let your guard down for a minute and we weren’t strong enough,” said Julien. “I think our team for two periods was content with being okay. But that wasn’t good enough for us.
“We needed to step it up in the third period and at least we did that. It took us a while to get that goal, and finding a way to win is important. But at the same time we need to understand that if we want to be one of those playoff-contention teams, let’s not get satisfied with being okay and being close in games. We need to push a little harder at times.”
So the message was pretty clear from the B’s bench boss to his players: let’s see less of the hockey we’ve seen during the first 40 minutes of the Bruins over the last two games, and more of the 20-minute third period comebacks that have ensured the Bruins of much-needed points in the standings.