BOSTON- Before the Boston Bruins faced the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, B’s coach Claude Julien talked about the importance of getting the first goal.
“It’s always important to get that first goal,” said Julien during the pre-game skate. “I think every team that starts a game wants to get an early lead and get control of that and I’ve said that all along…the good thing about our hockey club is our record is extremely positive even when the other teams score first.
“It certainly doesn’t put us in a situation where we haven’t been able to rebound, but nonetheless I think for every team, every game we talk about that and getting an early lead and taking control of the game.”
However the Bruins were not able to score first, nor could they get a tally past Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom as they were shutout 1-0 in front of 16,272 fans at the TD Banknorth Garden.
At 7:29 of the second period, the only goal that was scored was from Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicki. He scored the goal on the power play as he took advantage of a screen shot that Bruins goaltender Manny Fernandez did not see.
“I didn’t get a good look at it,” Fernandez said about the lone goal of the game from Zidlicki. “I didn’t think he was going to take the shot from there but again they had a lot of guys in front …I just didn’t get a good look at that one, and they came here doing what they needed to do.”
All game the Bruins had trouble getting their timing going. Whether it was battling for loose pucks, the timing of their passes, or even getting one past Backstrom, the B’s could not generate any offense against the leagues best defensive team.
“It’s hard to really judge or critique the compete level when our players aren’t at their best right now,” said Julien. “We have had a lot of fighting the puck and not making good decisions. I wouldn’t say we’re going through a slump right now because we’ve lost (two games in a row) but you can see that a little bit of moving the puck quickly and not getting that going and right now we got a lot of guys fighting the puck.
“Every team at one point goes through it and it’s about us fighting through it and getting our game back when things were going well.”
Right now the level of play might not be the best the Bruins have played the last couple of games, but there is little concern right now, as the B’s are still holding on to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Black and Gold currently hold a five point lead on the Washington Capitals for the best record in the conference, and they didn’t even lose ground on San Jose, who lost to Calgary Tuesday night.
Manny Fernandez is now 9-1 this year at the Garden.
The Bruins are now 0-5 All Time against the Wild on home ice. All time, the Wild hold a 7-1 advantage in the series.
This was the first time that the Black and Gold were shutout in the 2008-09 season. The last time the B’s were shutout was on the last game of the 2007-08 season on April 5, 2008 against the Buffalo Sabres.
When allowing the first goal, the Bruins are 11-3-2 in those 14 games. This was the 18th time the Wild have scored first and their record is 13-5.