Bruins

Julien's early game timeout got the B's on the right track

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Julien's early game timeout got the B's on the right track

It isnt usually in Claude Juliens bag of coaching tricks, but he called the rare early game timeout Saturday night to great effect.

The Bs coach watched his heavy-legged team fall down to the Winnipeg Jets by a 20 score after some uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns, and Julien didnt hesitate to stop the momentum with a timeout after Dustin Byfugliens goal gave the Jets a two-goal lead. Julien didnt rant or rave to his veteran, Cup-winning bunch, but instead tried to instill a little calm back into a group that was running around well out of position.

I think it was just about obviously slowing the game down a little bit, but more so I just felt that we weren't skating very well at that point. We were getting the puck and then we were looking instead of moving. Our neutral zone speed just wasn't there at all, said Julien. We were basically standing still a lot and that wasn't the way we need to play. So I just felt that at that time, we needed to kind of refocus and slow things down a bit.

We had to find the elements of our game that make us successful, again. I just tried to refocus the team on doing those simple, little things and see where it would take us.

The timeout was followed by Zdeno Chara cranking in a power play goal from the right point to cut things to a 21 deficit in the first period, which eventually paved the way for Boston to overcome Winnipeg. At the end of the day the victory was about Charas power play prowess, Chris Kellys miraculous second period scoring outburst and the marvelous third period goaltending of Tim Thomas.

But theres also something to be said for a head hockey coach injecting himself into the game when things aren't going well early, and thats something Julien hasnt done enough to appease his critics at times.

It was the perfect call at the perfect time for the stumbling Black and Gold before they met during the first intermission and really cleaned up the other sloppy aspects to their game.

I think it helped a lot for guys to settle down a bit. Maybe you realized that you are working too hard or you are not, said Daniel Paille. I think it kind of gets you thinking a bit on what you need to improve on. I think it helped a lot.

When a team is rolling like the Bruins are in November, everything seems to happen at exactly the right moment and the puck always seems to bounce helpfully. That good stretch also surely extends to the coaches, who seem to make all of the right roster calls and timeout choices when a team is winning with consistency and regularity.

The time-honored timeout was just that right call for Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins bench in their gritty weekend victory.

Return of Patrice Bergeron, David Backes propels Bruins to win over Canucks

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Return of Patrice Bergeron, David Backes propels Bruins to win over Canucks

BOSTON – The Bruins were hoping for a big boost from the return of Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to the lineup, and that’s exactly what they got in a solid 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden on Thursday night. 

Bergeron finished with a goal and three assists and a plus-2 rating in the win, and it appeared his return to the Boston lineup was exactly what the doctor ordered for a hockey club in need of a little direction. 

Vancouver actually scored the first goal of the game, but then the Bruins exploded for the next four goals in the first period including three power play goals courtesy of a five minute major boarding penalty on Erik Gudbranson. The mammoth Canucks D-man slammed Frank Vatrano from behind against the end boards, and David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork and David Krejci all tallied power play strikes within 1:37 of each other. 

The Pastrnak score was the beauty of the bunch as he took the puck coast-to-coast through the teeth of the Vancouver penalty kill, and completely faked out Michael Del Zotto before snapping a forehand bid past Anders Nilsson. 

Prior to the PP outburst, Derek Dorsett drew first blood for Vancouver on a wobbly bid from the slot and then Anders Bjork followed with his second NHL goal after tapping home the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron bid from the perimeter. 

Brad Marchand teamed up with linemates Bergeron and Bjork for his fourth goal of the season to make it 5-1 in the second period, and then Vancouver managed to get a couple of goals from Thomas Vanek and Bo Horvat to make for an interesting final period. 

Bergeron made certain that it was a happy ending for the Black and Gold by burying his first goal of the season and his fourth point of the night on a power play strike to ice the game. Anton Khudobin was strong stepping in for the injured Tuukka Rask and stopped 26-of-29 shots for his second victory of the season.