When his players can’t find the back of the net, Bruins coach Claude Julien acknowledges being too critical of every other phase of their game.
“When you don’t score, we have a tendency, even as coaches, to scrutinize everything that’s going on,’’ said Julien. “Every little mistake seems to be a big thing. That’s where we’ve got to be careful.’’
The series against the Capitals is tied at 2-2. Each team has scored only seven goals. Boston’s top six forwards aren’t producing. But the Bruins have limited Alex Ovechkin to one goal. They still have home-ice advantage, with Games 5 and 7 (if necessary) scheduled for TD Garden.
“Last time I checked, they had seven goals. Just like we did,’’ Chris Kelly said. “That’s playoff hockey. Everyone might be looking at the Philly-Pittsburgh series as being the norm. That’s the furthest thing from it. By no means are we frustrated. It’s 2-2 in the series against a good hockey team. That’s what the playoffs are about - good defense, trying to capitalize on your chances, and trying to score one more goal than the other team.’’
Every game has been decided by one goal, indicating the close matchup.
“It’s a 2-2 series right now,’’ Julien said. “We’re not down in it. It’s tied. We’ve done a lot of good things. At the end of the day, we just haven’t scored. That’s the only major issue right now we have, the fact that we aren’t scoring.’’
Boston’s offense is flickering. But at the other end, the Capitals are just as hard-pressed to score, albeit with fewer opportunities. The Bruins are averaging 37 shots per game, the Capitals 27.2.
Waiting for chance
The Bruins will enter Game 5 riding an 0-for-12 streak on the power play. They rolled out two new units in Game 4 but had only one power play, in the third period when former Bruin Mike Knuble was whistled for holding. The Bruins didn’t record a shot during that man-advantage.
“We only had one, so it’s hard to evaluate and start jumping all over the power play,’’ Julien said. “The area you’ve got to look at is the area you play the most at, which is five-on-five. That’s where we’re not scoring. We’ve made changes on the power play. Now we’ve got to give it a chance to showcase it.’’
Back at it
The Bruins couldn’t take advantage of Nicklas Backstrom’s absence in Game 4. The Capitals center will return for Game 5.
According to the Washington Post, Backstrom centered Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich during practice Friday. Backstrom and Ovechkin had been regular linemates, but have not played together during the series.
Hamming it up
During Friday’s practice, Tim Thomas exaggerated every glove save, seemingly to imitate Capitals rookie Braden Holtby. When Holtby has gloved pucks, he’s done so with a flourish. Thomas’s teammates laughed after each exaggerated save . . . The NHL will release the three finalists for the Selke Trophy on Monday. The award goes to the forward who best excels in the game’s defensive aspects. Patrice Bergeron could be one of the finalists . . . Michal Neuvirth will back up Holtby in Game 5 for the first time this series. Dany Sabourin was assigned to Hershey. Neuvirth has recovered from a leg injury . . . Alexander Semin enters Game 5 with a two-game scoring streak after netting power-play goals in Games 3 and 4. Semin scored the winner Thursday when he snapped a riser over Thomas in the second period. Semin also nearly set up Dennis Wideman for a power-play goal earlier in the second. The Bruins got in Semin’s face early in the series in hopes of intimidating the skilled right wing, but Semin is shooting with confidence . . . The Bruins are planning to travel to Washington immediately after Game 5. Game 6 on Sunday is at 3 p.m. . . . Adam McQuaid (eye/head) didn’t practice. He is doubtful for Games 5 and 6.