Julien: Total team defense, not goalies, is the issue

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Julien: Total team defense, not goalies, is the issue

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked, after Monday's practice, what he thought the Bruins' biggest issue was during their recent skid.

Julien wasted no time saying that his team needs to do a lot better job keeping the puck out of its own net. But he didn't blame that on his goaltending. He blamed it on the defensive-zone play in front of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask.

"This is a team that, through the course of the year, has been pretty stingy," said Julien. "And lately, we haven't been.

"Our game as a whole, in the defensive zone, we've had a lot of breakdowns, and a lot of bad penalties at bad times, that have resulted in goals as well," added Julien.

"The whole thing needs to be cleaned up, but if we're going to start winning some hockey games, especially this week against pretty good teams, we're going to have to be a lot stingier."

Julien was also asked about the emotions Rask shows on the ice after letting up a goal, and said that sometimes he'd like to see the goalie control himself more.

"I don't support that, and I don't think anybody supports that, including him," said Julien. "Sometimes frustration sets in. You see players when they're breaking their sticks after a goal against, or you see them putting their heads up in the air, after they miss an open net. There's a frustration part, so I'm certainly not going to stand here and start accusing him of that. But yeah, I think it's something that you don't want to see from anybody, because it has a big impact on your team."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.