February 4, 2011

Timely timeout proves to be pivotal for Julien, B's

Both Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara recognized how big Claude Julien's timeout in the third period was to their win on Thursday night over the Stars. (Getty)

BOSTON -- It was supposed to be a runaway victory. On Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins jumped out to a seemingly-insurmountable 4-0 lead over the Dallas Stars in the first period, a frame that saw the two teams drop the gloves a whopping four times.

 The B's were beating them and beating them up in convincing fashion.

 But before five minutes had even elapsed in the third period, two quick tallies by Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards turned a potential blowout into a one-goal game.

Coach Claude Julien saw his team's grip on the contest slipping away.

 "I just felt that we had gotten away from our game a little bit and gave them some opportunities and I didn’t want us to panic," Julien said, as the B's bench boss decided to call a timeout after the Stars made it 4-3.

 "We still had a one-goal lead. I told the guys to relax. I told the guys that we had to get back to certain things we had mentioned on the bench and then it was basically just to calm them down."

 Less than two minutes later, his troops responded. Tyler Seguin scored on a slap shot from out high in Dallas' zone, making it 5-3 and allowing the B's to breathe again.

 "It’s a slip of concentration I think," defenseman Andrew Ference said when asked how the Stars were able to climb back into the game. "I mean, you can’t take anything away from them. They have some very dangerous players out there that will jump on opportunities. We gave them a couple opportunities, so we gave them a couple rushes and a little bit of room, and they took advantage of it.

 "It wasn’t huge slack, I don’t think in our play, but it was enough to let them back in the game. We turned it back up, it was a good response, Seguin going out there and getting that quick response was a big goal."

 Netminder Tuukka Rask, who picked up his first win since Jan. 10, knows how crucial Julien calling timeout proved to be.

 "It was huge," Rask said after the 6-3 victory. "They were tough goals. I’ve got to look at them too, maybe I could have done something differently, but they made some nice plays there and we took the timeout and regrouped and then responded again with a couple of goals. So one goal first to get us back on track there. You know, it’s a good sign."

 B's captain Zdeno Chara, who was on the ice for each of Dallas' strikes in the final frame, credited his coach for making an extremely timely decision to allow them to regroup.

 "I thought it was a good call," said Chara. "They made really nice plays and obviously made it a one-goal game. At that point, you don't want to give them any more momentum or flow. I thought it was a good thing to have, a few seconds to really get it together and go back to the game plan."

 Those few seconds, in a game that lasted nearly three hours, made a world of difference for the Black and Gold.