espn

Julien, Bruins feeling heat ahead of clash vs. Blackhawks

BOSTON -- The talk shows are filled with the chatter. Social media is filled with tweets. Is Claude Julien about to lose his job coaching the Boston Bruins?

The Bruins, fresh off a hard-to-swallow 6-5 shootout loss in a game that saw them lead 3-0 and 4-1, host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. But the off-day, with the team off the ice, was reportedly a day for meetings. The brass is trying to find answers for a team mired in mediocrity.

This isn't the first time the public has called for a Julien firing. Even in 2011, when the team eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup, there was talk he had lost control of his players.

The talk was heavy after last year's second straight season of not making the playoffs, but he survived that -- and is now coaching a team that has had trouble scoring and had even more trouble winning at home, where the Bruins take a 10-11 record into Friday night's game.

The Bruins (23-19-6) scored five goals Wednesday night in Detroit and all it got them was one point in the standings.

"We collapsed," said Julien. "It's pretty obvious. It's one of those games. We didn't get the save when we needed it, and we made some mistakes, which gave them some chances, so a lot of things went wrong tonight after we took that lead."

Now they have to deal with the Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup at TD Garden in 2013 and who come in with an 11-9-1 road record this season. It continues a stretch that includes two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and a return match with Detroit.

"Yeah, it's not going to get easier," said Tuukka Rask, who allowed five goals on 26 shots. "This is probably the biggest couple of weeks in our season coming up, really good teams against us. We'll have to play some good hockey."

The Blackhawks have lost two of their last three, but won five of their last seven. Prior to last night's Minnesota game against Arizona, they were tied with the Wild for first place in the Central Division but had played four more games than Minnesota.

Corey Crawford, who has started the last five games in the Chicago net, won't start in Boston, where Scott Darling gets the nod -- coach Joel Quenneville saying after Thursday's practice in Boston he wanted everyone to get a chance to play on the team's dad's trip.

And Crawford has been struggling.

"We feel very comfortable that he'll be able to get back and be confident and doing his thing," Quenneville said of Crawford, a 6-4 winner at Colorado Tuesday night. "You look around the league over the last week or two, it's amazing the (high) scores."

Darling stopped 39 of 40 shots in his last start, a 2-1 home win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Darling is 2-1 with a 3.40 goals against average and .905 save percent in his career against Boston; while Rask is 3-1-1 with a 2.36 average, a .920 percentage and a shutout against the Blackhawks.

Related Topics:
sportsespnchicago blackhawksnhlboston bruins
(Copyright ©2017 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.)

Load Comments