WILMINGTON — The routine is the same, the system is the same, but in some of their recent games, the 8-4-0 Bruins have been saddled with slow starts, including a one-shot first period Thursday against the Ducks.
“The goal is always the same but there are so many things that go into it,’’ said Jarome Iginla. “Sometimes it’s bounces, penalties, different things, energy. Ultimately, you just want to find a way to win the game.
“I mean, we have a plan, the other team has a plan, but it doesn’t always just go the way you like, so it’s really just trying to be as prepared as you can be, play as hard as you can.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien did not want to overanalyze. After all, his team found ways to win in two of those games, 2-1 against the Sharks on David Krejci’s last-second goal and 3-2 over the Ducks in a shootout. In between was Wednesday’s loss at Pittsburgh.
“I think our starts could be better, but sometimes I feel we analyze the game a little too much,’’ said Julien. “Way too much, from one game to another.
“The one thing I would like to see is us having better starts out there, but the rest of the game, that’s just the way it is. Sometimes we’re the ones that are standing there and seeing what’s going on with the players, we’re the ones that know how tired, how tough the trip was, how tough the game the night before was, so it’s our job, I guess, to take it for what it’s worth.’’
Julien noted that by the end of the game against the Ducks, “the shots were pretty even, the scoring chances were pretty even.’’
Adding some speed
Speedy 21-year-old Ryan Spooner was called up from Providence before Thursday’s game. Spooner, whom Julien described as “one of those guys who really puts D’s on their heels with the speed he comes up the ice with,’’ skated on a line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly. Julien said sometimes a bit of dash can push the team in the right direction.
“I think right now we are a little bit flat.’’ said Julien. “We’re looking for some momentum here in our game. [Spooner] was a guy that could come in fresh and give us that spark. He created a penalty [Thursday] night from just working in the corner, he did give us some pretty good looks, some speed through the neutral zone, he got an assist. So he did his job. So the call I guess was a right one for us when that third line was a little bit flat the last few games.’’
Julien counseled patience with Soderberg, whose giveaway led to the Ducks’ first goal, but who later scored his first NHL goal.
“With Carl right now, it’s a little bit of uneven play on his part.’’ Julien said of the 28-year-old Swede. “He doesn’t have a ton of experience here and most of his experience has been playing at center, so he’s getting used to playing the wing. He’s also getting used to playing a different kind of game.’’
Boychuk day to day
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who was injured crashing into the boards in Thursday’s second period, was at the practice rink Friday, but did not skate. His status is day to day, according to Julien. “He’s feeling better, so we’re going day to day,” Julien said. “More than likely he’s on this trip [to Long Island].”
Loui Eriksson, who is out with a concussion, continues to make progress toward full health. “He’s still going OK,’’ Julien said. “As predicted he’s taken some steps in the right direction. He did the exertion test so that he can start working out. It’s still a day-to-day process; whether he’s moving forward or whether we’ve got to hold him back, we’ll only know one day at a time.’’
Friday’s on-ice practice was limited to two lines: Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, and Daniel Paille; and Soderberg, Spooner, and Jordan Caron; defenseman Matt Bartkowski, and goalie Chad Johnson. Bartkowski, who has been the healthy scratch on defense for six games, said, “I haven’t really sat out this long before, but I feel ready, so I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it. Staying on top of conditioning is the main thing.’’
“There’s just a few guys that you can move in and out of the lineup and those guys have been playing really good,’’ said Julien. “So they’re hard to take out. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up a little bit and the time will come where we’ll get Bart back in. That’s where we’re at right now, looking for the opportunity to put him in. It’s as simple as that.’’
The Bruins traveled to Long Island Friday to wait for Saturday’s game against the Islanders, who were in Ottawa Friday night. Julien said no decision had been made on the goaltender. Johnson was on the ice for practice Friday while Tuukka Rask, who has played 11 of the Bruins’ 12 games and started Wednesday and Thursday, rested.