Julien returns to Boston with Habs (Jan 17, 2018)
BOSTON -- One might expect a video tribute to flash on the TD Garden big board in Boston on Wednesday night.
Claude Julien, who coached the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup and went to the finals the following season, brings his Montreal Canadiens to town for the first time since he was fired by Boston last season.
But Julien has more -- a lot more -- on his mind than his Boston homecoming. His team is starting to run out of time in its quest for a playoff spot.
Amazingly, this is the second of three games in eight nights between the two old rivals after the Bruins left Montreal with a 4-3 shootout win Saturday night. Both played and lost in overtime Monday, but one point for the sizzling Bruins is fine -- losing the second point in two straight games for the Canadiens is not.
Montreal (18-20-6) is nine points behind the second wild card spot, with five teams between the Habs and that final spot.
The Canadiens, who visit Washington on Friday before another game against the Bruins, had 56 shots on goal and lost 5-4 in overtime to the New York Islanders on Monday night.
"It's heartbreaking," Paul Byron said. "We're playing a team that we're chasing and you need the regulation win. Any time you go into overtime it hurts, and to lose the extra point is a big loss for sure.
"When you have 56 shots on net, a lot of quality chances, you expect a better result. A couple of mistakes cost us the game (and) we have to make sure we're not making those mistakes that cost us the game."
The Canadiens are just 2-5-2 in their last nine games, but 2-0-2 in their last four.
"We took six of eight points and if we keep that standard, we'll be okay," Julien said. "We're frustrated that we didn't get that second point, but there were mistakes that created that situation. The important thing is that the effort is there. We did a good job in our end (Saturday against Boston), but tonight not so much."
And injuries are piling up. Phillip Danault was felled by a Zdeno Chara slap shot Saturday night and is out with a concussion, and Andrew Shaw has been lost indefinitely with a lower-body injury. The club claimed Logan Shaw off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks and he will join the team in Boston.
The Bruins also lost in overtime Monday -- overcoming a 2-0 deficit before old pal Tyler Seguin scored a dynamic goal in overtime -- but they are still on a roll.
Talking about his team coming back, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, "That's the positive in this game; we were down two. We were able to scratch back against a very good defensive team. It's one thing to do it against a team that gives up a lot, but this is a good defensive team, so that's the positive in it all. You could hear it on the bench; guys were pulling for one another and saying the right things, in terms of one at a time and one good shift, you will piggyback a couple of good shifts instead of trying to hit home runs and get breakaway plays and cheat. So, that was certainly a positive."
The Bruins (24-10-8) are 9-0-3 in their last 12, 18-3-4 in their last 25. Boston is second in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs (with four games in hand) and 14 ahead of the Canadiens.
Tuukka Rask, who has never had much success against Montreal, improved to 8-15-3 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage against the Canadiens. He is also on a 12-0-2 run for the Bruins.
Carey Price, who has made eight straight starts (2-4-2), fell to 24-9-5, 2.39, .922 against the Bruins with Saturday night's loss.
The Canadiens moved Jonathan Drouin, who has struggled at center, to right wing at practice Tuesday.
The teams, who play again Saturday night in Montreal, split two games in Boston last season (and play there again March 3) -- but the Habs are 5-1 at TD Garden over the past four seasons, 11-3 over the last five, the latter stat counting playoffs.
The Bruins, who visit the Islanders on Thursday before going back to the Bell Centre, were missing three players from practice Tuesday.
"Jake DeBrusk was under the weather and so was Kevan Miller, so they stayed home," Cassidy said. "Noel Acciari has a bit of an upper-body injury and it affected his minutes (Monday). He's kind of day-to-day. I suspect that he would play tomorrow, but we'll have a better idea on (Wednesday) morning."