Bruins' streak up to six
Julien’s moves pay off with win over Devils
There is no truth to the rumor that after last night’s 4-3 win over New Jersey before 17,565 at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien was writing the script for his second Jack Adams Award acceptance speech.
It was a night, however, when all of Julien’s moves were the stuff of a Coach of the Year.
Brad Marchand was benched for half of the second period after a foolish roughing penalty. Marchand then scored six seconds into the third period. Fourth-line center Gregory Campbell took a third-period shift with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Campbell assisted on Kelly’s goal. Benoit Pouliot, back in the lineup after being scratched against Buffalo Saturday, scored the winning goal.
Bing, bang, boom.
“It says a lot about their character,’’ Julien said of Marchand and Pouliot. “Sometimes you don’t even have to say much. You get to a stage where, as they say, actions speak louder than words.’’
The loudest strike came off the stick of Pouliot. Ironically, it wasn’t even a good shot.
Peverley started the winning sequence by beating New Jersey’s Ryan Carter on an offensive-zone faceoff. Peverley pulled the puck back to Joe Corvo. In earlier games, Corvo might have rushed a shot from the point and risked a blocker stepping into the lane.
But Corvo, who has been far more comfortable lately, stepped up with the puck and carried it down the right-side wall to improve his shooting position. Corvo threaded the puck through traffic and put it on goal. Devils goalie Johan Hedberg punched the puck out with his blocker but left the rebound in the slot.
Pouliot was waiting. He was in the right position, but didn’t put much muscle behind his shot. Hedberg, however, couldn’t stop the puck, which trickled over the goal line at 16:59 for the go-ahead goal.
“I was like, ‘Oh boy, that’s not going to get it there,’ ’’ Pouliot recalled with a smile. “But it did. It trickled in on the side. It felt pretty good.’’
Pouliot has been the quietest forward on the roster. He entered last night with just one goal to his name. He was a healthy scratch Saturday, when Julien informed him he wasn’t doing enough to earn one of the 12 up-front spots. Pouliot wasn’t using his size and speed to enter the danger areas.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to be specific with those guys, help them along the way, and tell them what they’ve got to improve,’’ Julien said. “They’re all pros at this level. They’ve been around long enough that I don’t think you have to sugar-coat too much anymore.’’
Pouliot made the most of his opportunity. When Marchand was benched in the second period, he skated in Marchand’s spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. In the third, when he got his chance to take the late offensive-zone shift with Kelly and Peverley, Pouliot held his ground in front of the net, putting himself in the right spot to find Corvo’s rebound.
“At the end, it felt like the coach had a little more confidence in me,’’ Pouliot said. “He put me out there late. I just put the puck on net. It wasn’t the hardest shot, but it went in anyways.’’
Earlier, it was Campbell’s hard-hat approach that led to two Boston goals. After David Clarkson had scored a five-on-three goal at 10:46 of the second to make it 1-0, a Campbell forecheck created the tying goal.
Hedberg had left the crease to play the puck behind the goal line. Campbell hurtled toward Hedberg and forced a turnover, which allowed Kelly to score an uncontested net-front goal at 14:52.
“When you see a goalie out like that playing the puck, a lot of times there’s miscommunication between the goalie and the defensemen,’’ Campbell said. “If you put pressure on him, oftentimes there’s a turnover there.’’
In the third, after Nick Palmieri made it a 2-2 game at 2:08, Campbell’s ferocity on the puck gave the Bruins the lead once more.
Hedberg had steered a Thornton flip toward the boards with his blocker. Campbell outraced Anton Volchenkov, tracked down the puck, and sent it toward the goal just before absorbing a blast from the hard-hitting defenseman.
Jordan Caron one-touched the puck to Thornton, who batted a shot in at 3:40. Campbell recorded his second assist on the play.
Later in the third, when Julien trimmed his bench to three lines, he gave Campbell several shifts on the No. 3 line.
“Soupy has a tendency to be really hard on himself,’’ Julien said. “He’s very demanding. But yet very smart when it comes to analyzing his game.
“You don’t have to say much about it. You just have to talk it through. For me, it was more about making sure he stayed positive and didn’t become too hard on himself, and just get back to playing like he always has for us.
“He wants to be a leader on this team. He certainly has those qualities. Tonight was one of those nights where he showed it. For me, I had to find some ice time for him. Because he deserved it.’’
The Bruins have now won six straight. This most recent win came against a heavy, grinding, playoff-style opponent that erased two third-period deficits.
“This was definitely one we had to earn,’’ Milan Lucic said. “When we get the lead and they come back and score, it’s easy to get down and get discouraged. But we were able to find a way, keep pushing, and find a way to push for more.’’