WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins practiced today before embarking on a five-game road trip that will kick off at Buffalo on Friday night.
While Claude Julien's team (8-1-2, 18 points) will face only one team in Tampa Bay that is currently over .500 on this trip, it won’t be a vacation by any means.
“Buffalo is certainly going to want to bounce back from their loss to us a week ago, and as I mentioned to the players, with Winnipeg, we’ve yet to win a game in that rink yet so certainly a good challenge for us,” Julien said following practice.
After stops in Buffalo and Winnipeg (Sunday), the Bruins will travel to Tampa Bay next Thursday, Florida on Feb. 24 and then New York to face the Islanders on Feb. 26. Each of these teams is struggling right now and it would be natural for the Bruins to perhaps overlook them a bit, but Julien isn’t about to let that happen and he believes his team knows better than that.
“If we’re looking for ways to motivate ourselves and make sure we’re ready, we just have to look at the different situations,” Julien said. “With Buffalo, we’re only 1-1 with them and playing .500 with them. Certainly at home they’re going to want some sort of revenge for last week’s loss. Same thing in Winnipeg, we haven’t won there like I said and we gotta start winning in that building. Tampa’s gone through a little bit of a skid but I don’t think they’re as bad as their record shows and you just have to look at their lineup."
Julien also alluded to the effect of the shortened season and how every game counts so much. Overlooking any team can prove to be costly.
“We still talk about that shortened season and how it’s anybody’s game every night, and if you have that kind of attitude, it could be costly whether it means out of the playoffs or a certain type of position you’d like to finish in,” Julien pointed out. “So we have to look at in a way where every game means the same night after night.
Keep pressure on Miller: In their 3-1 win at Buffalo last Sunday, the Bruins poured 38 shots on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller and were able to beat him just twice. Miller, it could be argued, prevented a Bruins blowout of the Sabres as he stopped breakaways and just about anything the Bruins threw at him. Boston knows that if they want to leave Buffalo with another win, they will need to make life miserable for Miller.
“Oftentimes goaltenders win games for teams, and we know that he’s a really good goaltender,” center Gregory Campbell said. “So it’s important for us to have chances that make it difficult for him. That means going to the front of the net; cause traffic and create screens. Shots are great, but we have to make it hard on him because he’s a high- caliber goalie that if he sees the puck it’s easy for him, and even when he doesn’t he tends to make it look easy. So it’s imperative on us to get in the crease and get in the paint to make it as tough as possible.”
Lines the same: At practice, Julien had the same lines that he had in the 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers, with newly signed Jay Pandolfo on the ‘Merlot Line’ with Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.