Bruins-Blue Jackets preview: Respect the process

Bruins-Blue Jackets preview: Respect the process
November 30, 2013, 3:00 pm
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It’s all about handling their own business for the Bruins against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

They’ll miss out on any kind of Nathan Horton homecoming as the injured former B’s right winger didn’t make the trip to Boston with his Blue Jackets teammates as he closes in on a return from offseason shoulder surgery. So there won’t be any distractions for the Black and Gold, and instead it will be about inflicting a whole lot of reality on a new Eastern Conference team that doesn’t quite have the right stuff.

Claude Julien is moving with caution, of course, and the hope is there won’t be a letdown after Friday’s big win over the Rangers in front of a nationally television audience on NBC.

But the Bruins head coach just has to look at the last win over the Blue Jackets to realize how narrowly they escaped with the two points.

“It’s parity. I thought we played them well last game. I thought our finish wasn’t there and because of that [Columbus] hung around,” said Julien. “I think we had enough chances earlier in the game or during the game that if we would have scored on those, it might have been a bit of a different game; it probably wouldn’t have had to go into extra time.”

Saturday night’s game vs. Columbus doesn’t come with any of those bells and whistles, so the Bruins will have to manufacture some of their own emotion.
PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Jarome Iginla has five goals on the season, and is on pace for only 16 goals for the year after scoring 30 as an afterthought each and every year with the Calgary Flames. He’s in a particularly slow funk right now with one goal in his last nine goals – the only one coming in the blowout loss to the Detroit Red Wings – and two goals in 14 games during the month of November. It’s part of a slowdown offensively for the entire line, but it’s time for the power forward to pick up his goal-scoring pace a bit.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “They work hard. Their goaltending has been good for them and there are a lot of things. Again, I can’t say enough about parity. You look at the standings and you see where teams are but when you see teams on the ice and there isn’t that big of a difference. I don’t think you’ve seen in our league a lot of teams totally toy around with another team – except for our team in Detroit.” –Claude Julien on what he expects from Columbus despite their low point in the standings.
KEY MATCHUP: The Columbus Blue Jackets are 23rd in the NHL in defense while allowing just a shade under 3 goals per game, and could be exactly the kind of field day Boston’s top forwards have been searching for. With both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand coming off scoring goals on Friday afternoon with Loui Eriksson playing a solid brand of hockey, expect them to do more damage against a suspect Blue Jackets defensemen corps on Saturday night.  
STAT TO WATCH: 8-0-2 – the Bruins’ record in their last 10 home games at TD Garden as they’ve gone more than a month since their last home loss.
INJURIES: With the return of Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid, the Bruins are relatively healthy.

Blue Jackets forwards Nathan Horton (shoulder surgery), Derek MacKenzie (back), Marian Gaborik (sprained knee) and Jared Boll (bruised foot) are on injured reserve. Center Brandon Dubinsky (bruised foot) skated Friday but is considered doubtful against Boston.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: With Tuukka Rask having played 22 of the team’s first 26 games, expect Chad Johnson to get the call for the Bruins for the Saturday night tilt against the Blue Jackets. Johnson had his best game as a member of the B’s with a 32-save effort vs. Columbus several weeks ago, and the 3-1-0 record with the 2.21 goals against average and .917 save percentage are solid thus far.

One would expect it would Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets as he is finding it difficult to follow up last year’s Vezina Trophy-winning season with a 9-11-2 record along with a 2.81 goals against average and .906 save percentage this year. “Bob” hasn’t stolen many games for the Blue Jackets.