Boston Bruins

Bruins try to recapture defensive identity

561910.jpg

Bruins try to recapture defensive identity

BOSTON -- Sometimes, players don't realize how bad they are until they see it on video.

That's why Bruins coach Claude Julien had his players show up to the TD Garden on Sunday to focus "specifically" on the video of their 4-2 loss in Montreal on Saturday night.

"When you see it, it kind of opens our eyes," said Julien. "We've attacked different areas, at times, and showed them. But today was more of the whole package. And that's why we kept our whole day on video, more than on practice. You need to realize it, before you can do something about it."

Sundays are usually the team's day off. And while the now 3-7 B's didn't skate today, they did have to come in and watch film of what they've been doing wrong.

"When things are going like this, obviously, I'm not really surprised with having to come in today and having to look at things," said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. "Because that's the only way we're going to come out of it. It's about putting some work into it, some hours into it, and finding ways. No one else but us can do it."

Amidst rumors of potential trades because of an early-season slide that only seems to be getting worse, the Bruins are confident with the players they have. For no other reason than the fact that a majority of the players inside that dressing room hoisted the Stanley Cup several months ago.

But everyone's in agreement. Something has to change. Not personnel, not lines, not defensive pairings. That change needs to come from re-capturing their pride and identity that led them to a championship run last season.

"Right now, when things are extremely hard, you've really got to rely on your structure and doing things properly," said Julien on Sunday. "Get your structure back, and get your execution back, and keep it simple. And work from there.

"We've got to get back to the things that made us successful," added Julien. "We're a team that likes to put pucks forward and move it forward, and put it behind their D's and go to work and grind it out and win those battles. From there, a lot of things happen for us. As the game goes on, we get more space, we get more opportunities to make plays. We've just got to get back to doing those things."

And after watching video on Sunday, now they know.

It's all about defense.

"Where our team's strength comes from, is that, anytime we've been good defensively, we've been able to feed offensively from that," said Julien. "When we come back hard, when we back check hard, and all five guys come back in the zone, and we cause turnovers and we go up the ice together, that's where our strength, offensively, comes from."

Sunday's video session brought some clarity to what they've been doing wrong. Too many players caught up-ice. Not enough players getting back on defense. Relying on individual efforts to produce goals.

The Bruins know that's not who they are. They know that's not what got their hands on the Cup.

They just needed to see it on video to realize just how much they've steered away from that style.

"We're not a very good team when we stretch or try those long passes, because when a guy gets the puck, he's by himself," said Julien. "We're a team that relies a lot on support and chips and races, and stuff like that. So, our strength offensively, comes from how well we play defensively. I've always said that, you do well defensively, you're going to get the puck a lot quicker. This is what we are, as a team, and this is what we have to understand.

"That's how our team is built. And there's nothing wrong with being built that way, because it got us a Stanley Cup last year."

Kenny Agostino's OT goal lifts Bruins over Flyers

ap_17265065429734.jpg

Kenny Agostino's OT goal lifts Bruins over Flyers

BOSTON – The Bruins continued to pick up wins in the preseason by all different methods. 

On Thursday night it was a bit of an ugly, penalty-filled affair with the Flyers, but the Bruins improved to 3-0-0 in the preseason with a 2-1 overtime victory behind a Kenny Agostino breakaway goal on a nifty double-move in the extra session. 

Agostino finished with the game-winner and a couple of points after feeding Postma for his game-tying strike in the third period as well.

The Flyers took the initial lead in the third period on a seemingly innocuous play that started with Matt Grzelcyk and Paul Postma getting caught chasing the puck in transition. Travis Sanheim fired a shot from the outside of the left circle and somehow got the perimeter attempt past Tuukka Rask after he’d stopped the first 21 shots he’d faced through two periods. 

Postma made up for any miscues immediately afterward when he fired a bomb from the high point that shot that rocketed past Brian Elliott for the game-tying goal. The Postma score came immediately after Grzelcyk was stuffed on his own scoring attempt after a nice Danton Heinen feed set him up directly in front of the net. 

Otherwise Thursday night’s preseason game was about the face-off violations that slowed the game to a crawl, and the ridiculous seven slashing penalty calls made as the NHL looks to crack down on their enforcement of potentially dangerous slashing plays.