Today’s rematch is a good time to get moving
WILMINGTON — If the Bruins aren’t playing their game, then whose game are they playing?
After getting picked apart, 6-1, by the Red Wings Friday night at TD Garden, they insisted the problem was that they did not play their game, and instead settled for watching Detroit show off its mastery of puck possession.
The Bruins get another chance at the Wings this afternoon at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena in this home-and-home series, but they’ll have to try something different than the puck-dumping, slugabed style they showed Friday.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what we have to do: play much better,’’ coach Claude Julien said after yesterday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “We were not on top of our game and we let them play their game — and we let them play their game comfortably, I thought.
“They’re a highly skilled team and you respect that, but you also have to play your game. There was too much [wrong] for me to start mentioning here because there were a lot of things.’’
“We have to have our feet moving,’’ said Gregory Campbell. “We can’t sit back. But at the same time, their defense is so good at stretching you back and pulling you back, and then just making that one good pass that beats one or two forwards and makes you look foolish.’’
It was a rough game for goaltender Tuukka Rask, who allowed five goals on 19 shots before giving way to Tim Thomas in the third period. But it was bumpy for the whole team, which looked out of place against the swift and slippery Red Wings.
“You’ve got to be able to skate and play well in the position game and be on top of our game,’’ said defenseman Zdeno Chara. “You’ve got to stay with them, something we didn’t do last night. We gave them more time and space than we wanted to.’’
Julien said the Bruins had a game plan for Detroit’s puck-possession approach, but, “It just didn’t happen.’’
His players concurred.
“We have to act rather than react,’’ said Dennis Seidenberg. “We have to anticipate a little bit more and be more a team that takes initiative. We were flat, down the line, so it’s a good challenge for us to show how we respond. Everybody’s up for it.’’
“We’re happy we get them again,’’ said Campbell. “Obviously, we don’t want to sit on a loss like that.
“I think it’s a good challenge for this team. We can see what we’re made of, how much character we have in this dressing room. Everybody’s excited.’’
Familiar territory Tyler Seguin has been a healthy scratch the last two games, and Mark Stuart the last eight, and as of yesterday, Julien was still figuring out his personnel decisions for today. Seguin played junior hockey for the OHL Whalers in Plymouth, about half an hour west of Detroit. “I was in Michigan the last two years,’’ said Seguin, who planned to stop by and watch his former team play last night, “so obviously the thing I always wanted to do was play the Wings.’’ . . . As for Rask’s play, the coach insisted he wasn’t worried about the dud the goalie offered up. “I don’t think there’s any concerns,’’ said Julien. “He had that tough game in Buffalo [Jan. 1], he bounced back and played well [Jan. 3]. That’s not an issue about Tuukka. I think right now we’re all hoping, including himself, that he can get on a bit of a roll, play well, and when he plays well, we can use him a little bit more. I’ll sleep on a lot of things tonight, not just goaltending.’’
Gang’s all here Today is a hometown visit for Thomas, who had 42 ticket requests — all from family. His parents, who now live near Boston, will be at the game, so Thomas can hand off the trickiest part of the process: distribution. The last time he played in Detroit, Thomas said, both of his grandfathers ended up with balcony seats. “I don’t know how much of the game they saw,’’ he said . . . Mark Recchi (personal day) was the only player missing from practice.