Recently, however, those 60-minute efforts have disappeared, especially late in periods. That was the case Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia when Vincent Lecavalier tied the score in the final minute of the third period. The same thing happened Thursday night in Toronto when Tyler Bozak scored in the final minute of the first period in an eventual Maple Leafs overtime win.
Those late-period issues won’t cost the Bruins much in the final week and a half of the season. They’ve all but locked up the first seed in the Eastern Conference. They might win the Presidents’ Trophy regardless. However, when the Stanley Cup playoffs do begin, the Bruins must be much better in closing out periods. The importance of every goal is magnified, not to mention the momentum swing that comes with scoring in the final moments of a period.
All of that being said, Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t too concerned with his team’s issues when it comes to closing out periods.
“Let’s put it this way: We’re in a position to utilize our whole bench,” Julien told reporters, according to The Boston Globe. “I can guarantee you there are situations there late in the period that if we’re in the playoffs, it won’t be the same thing. Let’s not read too much into that stuff here. In the last minute, you normally put certain guys on, but right now I’m in a position where I don’t have to do that. We’re just playing and utilizing everybody.”
That was the case Thursday in Toronto. The Bruins had their third line on the ice — including fill-in Jordan Caron — and didn’t have their top defensive pairing in the game, either. On Sunday in Philly, the Flyers had pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and used a bit of puck luck to help score the game-tying goal. The puck bounced wildly before Lecavalier buried the game-tying goal.
So it really isn’t a huge deal. As long as the Bruins are able to resolve the issue before the playoffs, that is.