ARLINGTON, Va. – Bruins coach Claude Julien flatly rejected accusations from Capitals coach Dale Hunter that the Bruins have been targeting Nicklas Backstrom’s head during the first-round playoff series.
“It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous,” Julien said Wednesday after the Bruins completed practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “There’s always going to be emotions in games. There are things that are happening. There were three cross-checks. They penalized one. They suspended one. We’re not whining about the referees or anything else that’s going on. We need to win a game. We need to win a series. That’s where our focus is on. That’s what it should be.”
Backstrom, who missed 40 games this season because of a concussion, was suspended for Game 4. Ex-Bruin Mike Knuble, a healthy scratch for the first three games, will most likely make his series debut. During practice, Mathieu Perreault took most of Backstrom’s shifts alongside No. 2 right wing Alexander Semin.
“They’re still a very, very good team without him in the lineup,” Julien said. “No ifs or buts about it that we’re going to feel confident that he’s not in. They won some games without him. They’ve beaten us without him.”
* Julien kept his Game 3 lineup intact, which saw Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci switch lines. Julien said he liked how the individuals played better in Game 3. Julien also noted the comfort level that exists if he goes back to the usual lines.