The veteran bench boss didn’t hide his disgust with how his team played in a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Ducks before a sell-out crowd at the Garden that didn’t hide its feelings either. The Bruins heard several choruses of boos during the night, then Julien laid his emotions bare with reporters.
“I’m disappointed,” said Julien. “I’m really disappointed in our effort tonight and it’s not something that we should be proud of and we should be willing to try and redeem ourselves next game and find some emotion and more intensity in our game.
“We should have been emotionally involved,” added Julien. “We should have been excited about playing this game tonight. We should have been excited. The intention of waking up tomorrow morning or leaving tonight in third place that should have been exciting enough, and unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
The Bruins came into the night in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but they trailed Montreal by just two points for the Northeast Division lead with two games in hand. A win would have pushed them into first place in the division and the third seed in the East, but they were never in this game.
After being outshot 26-2 in the third period Saturday when they hung on for a 3-2 win over Washington — their only win in the last five games — the Bruins managed just two shots again for the first 16:20 of opening period on Monday.
They eventually came alive with seven shots in the final 3:40, but by then they were already down 1-0 thanks to a goal by Brandon McMillan at 5:57.
“I think when they scored it kind of deflated us a little bit and we got down and kind of maybe took us a while to get going again, and you know I think that is what we need to get better at,” said forward Michael Ryder. “A little more edge to the game, I think if we do that we will be OK.”
The Bruins actually had 12 unanswered shots into the second period, but Anaheim converted its next chance with a Lubomir Visnovsky goal at 4:45 of the second. A shorthanded strike by Corey Perry provided the final nail, as the Bruins were never truly in this one despite a final shot tally of 45-25 in their favor.
“You can say we had forty-something shots, but a lot of them were one shot and out,” said center Marc Savard. “We’ve got to dig down. I think the intensity level was lacking tonight on a lot of us and coach switched the lines there for the third. We seemed to have some more jump a bit, just to try and get some energy on the team because like I said, we were getting stale there a little bit.
“We’ve all got to look in the mirrors here,” added Savard. “We’ve got one more before Christmas, and we need it big time.”
The Bruins close out their homestand against Atlanta on Thursday before embarking on a five-game road trip after Christmas. They’ll need to come out with a much better effort against the Thrashers to avoid heading into the holiday in a true tailspin.
“Obviously, we are not playing desperate hockey right now,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “Not enough emotions. For whatever reasons we’re just totally flat. That was not a good performance for us, that’s for sure.
“Everybody has to realize that they need to get up for those games,” added Chara. “It should be an honor and everybody should play with a lot of pride and passion. I don’t know. We all have to prepare for the game and play hard. It’s just one of those things that you have to find a way to get ready for these games.”
Julien is trying to stress the need for more emotion and physical play, but that was lacking from most of the lineup in this one.
“We need to get more physical,” said Julien. “That’s part of the emotion. You play with some emotion, you go in there and finish your checks. Tonight, we had guys playing at the end of your sticks, and when you’re battling to move up five spots, that’s unacceptable.”
The players, meanwhile, insist Julien’s words are not falling on deaf ears.
“Claude is trying,” said Savard. “I mean, he can’t yell at us every single night. It gets long on him too, so it comes with the guys in the room here to pick up the slack and right now, that’s what we’ve got to do. Like I said, this one more before Christmas here, we’ve got to have a huge effort.”
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