Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

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Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

BOSTON -- Tell Benoit Pouliot he played well -- hell appreciate the compliment.

Tell him what he needs to work on -- hell embrace the constructive criticism just the same.

At 25 years old, Pouliot has developed a mature approach to his hockey career. Thats what fighting for playing time on three teams over the past six seasons will teach you.

On Tuesday night, Pouliot scored the game-winning goal (assisted by Joe Corvo and Rich Peverley) for the Boston Bruins with three minutes to go in the third period after sitting out four of the Bs previous six games. He was most recently a healthy scratch in Saturdays win over the Buffalo Sabres.

I think its more of a vocal thing, just hearing the guys, just hearing the coach talk to you, he told CSNNE.com following the Bruins 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. If I have a bad game or if I have a good game, Ill still get talked to and theyll tell me you did this good or you did that bad.

Its tough and its been like this throughout my career. Mentally, its not the easiest thing in the world but you cant put yourself down and you cant put too much pressure on yourself. When it goes bad, it goes bad and youve just got to keep your head up.

Pouliot came to the Bruins this season after nearly two with the Montreal Canadiens. One of the keys to adjusting to a new team -- and one with tight chemistry after winning a Stanley Cup championship -- has been communication.

That means putting his feelings aside and soaking in the feedback of his coaches and teammates, even if it isnt always the easiest thing to do.

When youre younger, its tough, he said. I think for any young guy its not easy. If they tell you, You played bad, you get down on yourself pretty hard. But Ive learned throughout the years. Ive had some bad years and I try not to think about it too much and just work on that.

Coach Claude Julien spoke with Pouliot about what he was looking for, and Pouliot responded.

Hes a smart player, Julien said. He doesnt have the speed of Daniel Paille, but he has the smarts, the grit, everything else. With Ben, we just felt that hes got experience in the league, and with that line, it just gave it, again, some speed. Peverley and him on each side and Chris Kelly, who I thought had a fantastic game tonight as well, it just gave us a really, to me, a pretty good third line tonight.

After listening to what his coaches and teammates have to say, Pouliot was a topic of conversation prior to the game.

Sometimes we talk before the game and a few guys had a good feeling about him, said Zdeno Chara. He works hard and its nice to get him that goal. He needs it and we all need him too, and hopefully thats going to boost his confidence and hes that kind of player that we need him to be.

And if there are any compliments or critiques along the way, Pouliot is willing to listen.

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.