How have the Bruins reacted to dropping Thursday’s game to the Canadiens? Well, they’re not happy. Claude Julien called it “the worst-executed game from the second period on that we’ve played this year,” and has juggling his lines for tonight, reuniting David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton as his top trio. Julien also moved winger Tyler Seguin onto the line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Chris Kelly, Jordan Caron and Rich Peverley.
“What would you expect me to do?’’ Julien rhetorically asked reporters after Boston’s practice on Friday. “It’s a simple answer. It’s a coach just trying to find solutions. It’s as simple as that.
“You can look at it whichever way you want. Some of it is, ‘Hey, will bringing guys back together help?’ Who knows? If it doesn’t, I’m telling you right now, you’re going to see changes again.’’
Lucic, Krejci and Horton formed the B’s top line from last season and played together for three games at the start of this campaign. But, Lucic was pointless in those games and the three that followed and, as The Boston Globe reported, Horton had only one shot on goal in his first 43:50 of ice time. Krejci, the line’s catalyst, has been slowed by injuries. Julien was not accepting excuses, however.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy about excuses, because there are none,’’ Julien said. “We’re not going to sit here and pretend that we have reasons and excuses, because we don’t. I don’t want us to be that way. I want us to take responsibility for what’s happening and I want us to accept the criticism that’s rightfully coming our way. And when you admit and realize, that’s when you get better.’’
Former Hab Benoit Pouliot did not practice with the Bruins yesterday because of illness and his status for tonight is uncertain. He’s scoreless in eight games for Boston and is a minus-3. He was on the ice for Eric Cole’s tying goal on Thursday and played only 8:59. If he doesn’t go, Caron will take his spot.
Brad Marchand said he isn’t expecting a rematch with P.K. Subban tonight. “That stuff happens during the course of the game and I’m not going to hold grudges and I don’t think he’s going to,’’ Marchand told reporters Friday. “It happened, it’s over with, now we move on and concentrate on winning.’’
This will be only the third road game of the year for the Bruins, having played seven at home. They split those games, losing to Carolina 3-2 but beating the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout.
The poor start and their bad game on Thursday will likely make the B’s a snarly group tonight. At 3-6-0, the Bruins are already assured of having the worst record through 10 games of the 17 defending champs since 1994, according to John Kreiser of NHL.com. Their 10th game is tonight’s in Montreal. “Prior to this season, only two champs — the 1994 Rangers and 2007 Ducks — had sub-.500 records after 10 games; both went 4-5-1,” Kreiser wrote. “The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes were 4-4-2; every other team had more than a point a game and 11 of the 16 took home at least 60 percent of the available points, with the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins leading the way at 9-1-0.”
This is the worst start by the Bruins since 1999-2000, when they went winless through their first nine games. They finished last in the Northeast Division that year.
The Boston power play, which was atrocious during the playoffs, and not great during the regular season last year, is still sputtering. They are 5-for-37, 13.5 percent and have yet to score with the man advantage in either of their two games on the road this season. Overall, they rank 24th in the NHL on the power play, compared to the Canadiens 4-for-49, 10.3 percent which ranks 27th. They are better than Montreal on the penalty kill as well, killing 29 of 32 (88.6 percent, 6th in the NHL), while the Habs have killed 37 of 45 (82.2 percent, 18th in the NHL).
It’s possible Tuukka Rask will start in goal tonight for the B’s. Here’s how they practiced on Friday.
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid