For the second time in three games, Claude Julien had a bone to pick with the men in stripes.
Last Friday in Anaheim, the Boston Bruins coach took issue with several penalties that went uncalled. After Wednesday night’s loss to the New York Rangers, Julien’s gripe was with an iffy infraction that was punished.
Bruins center David Krejci was sent to the box on a questionable holding call midway through the first period, and Derek Stepan lit the lamp for the Blueshirts on the ensuing power play. Stepan’s goal gave New York an early two-goal lead in a game it went on to win 5-2.
After the final horn, Julien sounded off.
“(The referee) called that penalty on Krejci, and it ended up being 2-0. That was a crappy, (BS) call, and he knows why he made that call,” the coach told reporters, as aired on “NESN Sports Tonight.” “(I was) really disappointed, but then we fought back.”
The Bruins got a goal from Lee Stempniak four minutes after Stepan’s and another from Frank Vatrano in the third period, but it was not enough to save Boston from its fourth consecutive loss.
Some additional notes from Wednesday’s action:
— Tuukka Rask started the game in net for the Bruins but did not finish it. He was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson after allowing two goals on eight shots in the first period.
The switch was not performance-based, however. Rask had missed Tuesday’s practice with an illness, which Julien said returned near the end of the opening frame.
“He was feeling great,” Julien told reporters, via BostonBruins.com. “He had the morning skate. He said he was ready to go, and even (Wednesday night), he was ready to go. But just at the end of the first period, it turned the other way around. So, we decided to make the safe and the right call.”
Gustavsson proceeded to allow two additional goals on 15 shots, and the Rangers salted away the win with an empty-netter.
— Thursday’s home game against the Florida Panthers will feature a pregame ceremony honoring Julien, who earlier this month surpassed the legendary Art Ross to become the Bruins’ all-time winningest head coach.
“It really is humbling because this guy here (Ross), he’s an icon,” Julien said after the March 3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks that tied him with the Hockey Hall of Famer. “He’s a legend. I don’t have a trophy named after me. (laughs) Those are all things that there’s a big difference between Art Ross and myself, and the fact that I’ve avoided being fired for the last nine years helps get that many wins here. So (I) just feel fortunate and most of all obviously humbled by that achievement.”
Julien’s career wins total now sits at 509, 390 of which have come with Boston.
— Jeremy Smith’s latest NHL call-up lasted all of one day.
With Rask on the mend, the Bruins on Tuesday recalled the 26-year-old from Providence on an emergency basis. Smith traveled with the team to Madison Square Garden and participated in morning skate, but he was sent back to the American Hockey League once it became clear that Rask would be well enough to suit up against the Rangers.
Smith instead started Wednesday night’s P-Bruins game in Hartford, making 24 saves and assisting on Alex Khokhlachev’s overtime goal in a 3-2 win over the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Wolf Pack.
Smith has been called up to the NHL five times in his career but has yet to see game action.
— Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped 39 of the 41 shots he faced to earn the 372nd victory of his career, tying former Bruin Andy Moog for 15th on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
— The teams held a moment of silence before puck drop to honor the victims of Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images
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