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Hardly a strong start-up company

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / November 30, 2010

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WILMINGTON — On Sunday in Atlanta, the Bruins continued to perfect the formula they’ve seemingly mastered this month. Fail to show up in the first period. Watch the other team start to run them out of the rink. Chase the game and show a little life later. Run out of energy and drop another decision.

The Bruins react instead of act.

“We’re [only into] the game after 20 minutes,’’ Patrice Bergeron said after yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “By the time we start playing, we’re always all over them. [Sunday] night was the same thing. In the second period, I think we had 17 shots. Can’t ask for anything better except for having a better start. It’s just making sure that we do come out of the gate. We can’t just wait for them to see what they’ve got, then be, ‘OK, we’ll show what we’ve got.’ It’s about us making sure we’re playing our game.’’

In the 4-1 loss to the Thrashers, the Bruins allowed the opening goal for the 11th time in the last 13 games — an unacceptable rate for a team whose supposed identity is airtight defense and opportunistic offense.

The Bruins have been one of the league’s tougher teams in the third period, having scored 26 goals in the final 20 minutes. But on Sunday, the third was all but irrelevant after the Bruins gave up a late power-play goal to Niclas Bergfors in the second.

Bouncing back On Sunday, in his sixth game back from a broken left forearm, Johnny Boychuk had his best game since suffering the injury.

Boychuk ripped off a game-high seven shots, not including a screaming slapper that thudded off Chris Thorburn’s foot and sent the Thrasher limping off to the dressing room. Boychuk skated 24:14, the second-most ice time he’d been given all year.

“Just getting the shots through and talking to my partners, whoever it was,’’ Boychuk said of his bounceback effort. “Just getting comfortable playing the puck and making good passes. The last game was a good game. Even though we lost, I felt good on the ice. I made a couple bad plays, but that happens every game.’’

Boychuk had been paired with Zdeno Chara before his injury. Given his play against the Thrashers, Boychuk could be reunited with Chara against Philadelphia tomorrow.

Paying tribute Coach Claude Julien was absent from practice. He attended the funeral of ex-Bruins coach Pat Burns in Montreal . . . Forward Jamie Arniel was returned to Providence . . . David Krejci and Jordan Caron, both out against Atlanta because of the flu, returned to practice . . . As expected, Tyler Seguin wasn’t on Hockey Canada’s selection camp roster for the World Junior Championship.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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