BOSTON -- While all the talk following the Bruins’ game day skate Tuesday surrounded the five-game suspension handed down to Brad Marchand, head coach Claude Julien did his best to remind the media that his team will try and bounce back from the emotional 4-3 loss to Vancouver Saturday when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight. Boston is 1-1-0 against the Jets this season, with the Jets winning the last meeting 2-1 in Winnipeg on December 6.
“Because they’re a good team – I’m not just saying that,” Julien answered when asked why the Jets play the Bruins tough. “I think they’re a team that works hard and they compete hard, and I think [coach] Claude [Noel] got them playing really well and they seemed to have bought in what he’s trying to do. But at the same time, they got some good players on that team. Sometimes it probably gets overlooked because where they came from -- they weren’t getting the same people who weren’t seeing them as much as they are now, and the visibility of that club has improved a lot and people have been paying attention. I don’t think we’ve ever taken them lightly, and we certainly won’t tonight. They came in here the last time and took a quick 2-0 lead and beat us in their home building. They’re not a bad team and certainly one we respect.”
The Jets will be without star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (knee) but as Julien pointed out, that doesn’t mean they will pose less of a threat from the blue line.
“I think any time you lose a key player there’s something that’s going to happen after that,” Julien said. “At the same time, people talk a lot about it in team sports, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and say because of one player -- the team’s not the same. They’re a good team -- just look at their lineup and look at who they have. I have a lot of respect -- I’ll tell you right now for their back end. They’ve got a lot of depth there. I coached Johnny Oduya -- we know [Tobias] Enstrom and all those guys -- [Zach] Bogosian. They got pretty good depth back there. They’re missing a good player, but at the same time it certainly doesn’t make them a bad team. They got a lot of players there that can win games for them.”
On the Bruins side, Benoit Pouliot will once again take Marchand’s spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. When Marchand was out with the flu against Calgary last Thursday, Pouliot had success there with three assists in a 9-0 win. Julien likes what he has seen of Pouliot not only on that line but as the season has progressed.
“Well he played well with those two guys, he’s a player that I think everybody’s seen him from day one to now – is he’s improved a lot and fit in better,” the head coach said. “He’s done exactly what we were anticipating at the beginning when we said let’s be patient with this guy and give him a chance. Some guys fit in quicker than the others, but he’s done a great job. You look at the goal Peverley scored [against Calgary], he poke checks the puck away on the fore check and he does that a lot. He has a good stick, he turns a lot of pucks over and he makes plays and he’s contributing too now. So to me, I like the way he’s played and it’s an opportunity for him to jump in with that line and help out.”
Here’s what the lineup should look like Tuesday night:
Benoit Pouliot-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin