WILMINGTON, Mass. — There was no bag skate today at Ristuccia Arena.
The morning after the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead and lost 5-3 at New York, they went through a normal practice for around 45 minutes.
Instead of punishing his player, head coach Claude Julien was looking to educate his team after the debacle on Broadway. Even at this late date in the season, he doesn’t feel like it’s too late to learn a lesson.
“Lessons are to be learned all the time. I hope you’re still learning some lessons at this stage of your life. And we all are,” said the coach after practice. “You always have an opportunity to grow with these sort of things and I think our group has. It’s probably not a bad time to get this kind of lesson because it’ll be fresh in our minds.”
Of course, the Bruins haven’t really learned their lesson. They dropped a two-goal lead in the final three minutes in Montreal in January. They squandered a 3-1 lead in Buffalo New Year’s Day. While these might just be blips during a mostly successful season that every team endures, they could also be a sign that the Bruins can sometimes lose focus when things are going too well at crucial times. Julien even used the word “complacent” today when describing the reason for the team’s loss in New York.
Chris Kelly wasn’t with the Bruins during those previous losses. He’s confident that the club can build back up after the defeat and that it might’ve happened just in the nick of time.
“It’s easy to correct,” said Kelly. “Obviously we played well for the first half of that game and then kind of let them sneak back in. I think it might be one of the best lessons we’ll learn this year. Obviously you play 82 games for a reason and you might learn those lessons early in the first 10 games or you might learn those lessons in the last four games. So I think this is going to be good for us moving forward.”
One can only hope this lesson finally sinks in.