An NHL coach in his home arena has the final say in one-ice personnel matchups. Boston head coach Claude Julien had that luxury last night against the Canadiens. So, why in the world did he not find a way to get his number one line away from the Canadiens’ Hal Gill and P.K. Subban?
Was Julien so sure his club could beat the Canadiens that he didn’t feel the need make use of his home ice advantage or was his game plan so carved in stone that he had no room for adjustment.
Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton are a main component of the NHL’s highest scoring team five-on-five. After only one shot over the first forty minutes, the line mustered three shots in the third period, Gill and Subban were on the ice for only two of them, a 30 footer by Lucic which tested Price and a harmless 40 foot slapper from Horton. The rest of night they were out in the cold, boxed out by Gill’s size and Subban’s strength, speed and puck-carrying ability.
It should have been clear that some in-game adjustments were needed. While Jacques Martin and his staff were moving things around because of in-game injuries to Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen, Julien sat on his figurative hands. It’s quite possible that the line was just having a bad night. They were invisible all night. But, if that was the case, Julien did nothing to shake the players out of it.
It seems to be a given in the Boston area that Julien won’t be returning if the Bruins don’t get past the second round of this year’s playoffs. Judging by his performance last night, one can only come to the conclusion that, at least in game one, he was out-coached. And ultimately, the Bruins lost home ice advantage in the series.