- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- In the final five minutes of Boston's 8-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at TD Garden, some of the 16,839 in attendance began to chant: "We want Tuukka."
It was unwarranted given that Malcolm Subban, who was in net for the Bruins, was in his first full preseason game. The rookie and former first-round pick (24th overall in 2012) received plenty of encouragement from coach Claude Julien after the game despite the tough performance.
“It was one of those nights, unfortunately, our guys in front of him certainly left him out to dry a little bit,” Julien said. “We made some real bad mistakes. It’s easy to point the finger at him, but if anything we all have to take the blame for that and that’s for leaving him out to dry.”
Subban made his debut Monday in Montreal, playing the final 30 minutes against the Canadiens, and earned the win with his 12-save performance.
Despite the number of bad goals Thursday against the Canadiens, Julien wanted Subban to fight through it and finish the game.
“This is a good learning thing for a goaltender,” Julien said. “This is what he’s going to be facing and he’s got to fight through these situations.”
It was evident Subban was not happy with his performance.
“No matter what I did, the puck just found its way in. Some bad bounces, but I didn’t do my part tonight,” he said.
Julien didn’t have to explain much because Subban realizes the team he faced Thursday night is one of the best in the league with talented veterans.
“They’re a good team and it can only get better from here. I’m not looking at it that way. I’m looking at it a positive way,” Subban said. “It’s probably a good thing, now I can be more focused obviously and start the game better. Going down 2-0 pretty early like that didn’t help.”
The Red Wings gained a 2-0 lead in the first period. Justin Abdelkader scored a power-play goal at 5:01, before Dave McIntyre gave Detroit a two-goal advantage at 16:07 when he scored during a delayed penalty.
The Bruins' Jarome Iginla scored his third goal in two games when he notched Boston's first tally. He was camped out in front when a shot by Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski hit his skate and beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard at 11:47 of the second period.
Speaking of three goals in two games, Bruins' Nick Johnson accomplished the same feat when he made it 5-2 at 11:32 of the third period. However, that was all the offense the Bruins were able to produce.
Detroit added three more goals to pull away.
“I guess when you let in eight goals, focus probably isn’t there all the way,” Subban said. “I guess I thought I was focused, but obviously not. I’ve got to be better the next opportunity I get.”
POWER PLAY: It’s not the first time Zdeno Chara has been stationed in front of the offensive net during a Bruins power play. Julien is tinkering with his special teams again this preseason and it’s something the captain is comfortable with.
“Just trying to obviously help out in any spot I would be put in,” Chara said. “It’s a little bit different from playing the point, but the most important thing is to work really hard. When I’m in that area you have to really focus on trying to screen the goalie and be there for the rebounds, loose pucks and win the battles to get those pucks back.
“It’s a little bit different from being on the point, but the goal is to work really hard in whatever position. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to be like this, but for now we’re giving it a look and see how it goes.”
Is it possible to be too big of a body in front?
“It’s always difficult no matter who you are,” Chara said with a smile. “When you have bodies pushing and hitting you, trying to control the puck is never easy. You try to do your best when you can in that moment.”
Julien said after Thursday’s game he likes the idea of Chara in front and will continue to tweak his power play during camp.
BIG LITTLE MAN: In the waning minutes of the second period, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug introduced a different aspect of his already impressive game when he dropped the gloves and handled himself well against the Red Wings' David McIntyre. Krug has been paired with veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid during the preseason and the pair have played well together.
UP NEXT: The Bruins will play their fourth of seven preseason games against the Red Wings Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
7dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur
43dKyle Brasseur, Special to ESPNBoston.com