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BOSTON -- It may have been only the third game of the season, but Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn't holding back any punches following what could best be described as a flat performance by his team in a 1-0 loss to the Avalanche on Monday afternoon.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins wasted a 35-save performance by goalie Tuukka Rask and appeared to be skating in quicksand throughout the game.
Asked if he was impressed with his team's effort Monday, Julien said, "I don't think I can stand here and say I was. We got outworked by a team that was a lot more hungry than we were. Right from the get-go, as soon as they got that power play, it gave them some momentum and then they just never looked back. Throughout the game, I felt our team was second on the puck. We're losing the races, and whenever we got there and got into battle, they certainly were a lot hungrier than we were."
The Avalanche went on a power play two minutes into the game and briefly had a two-man advantage at the 3:30 mark, although they didn't convert.
"I think it's one of those games that you hope will give your players the opportunity to realize that what we've talked about since the beginning, with every team coming in here and playing us hard is going to happen. And from the start, from the time they were in the room, I could feel that there was maybe a little bit too much comfort and that we have to understand that if we're not going to get prepared the same way every night, we're going to have more of those nights."
The Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton has yet to get going. On Monday, the Bruins needed that trio to jumpstart the offense, and Julien wasn't shy in pointing that out.
"When your top line is supposed to be your top line, it should try and be that every night," Julien said. "And so far I don't think they're in sync, I don't think they're working hard enough as a group. But it's part of our job here to get those guys going and whether it's through breaking them up or whether it's through meetings, we've got to find a way to get those guys going. Right now I don't think those three, any one of those three, has found his game yet that we know they can play. They're certainly a little under-par right now."
Julien said that he sensed before the game that his team might turn in a lackadaisical outing against a young, hungry Colorado squad.
"Sometimes you can feel the looseness in the dressing room," he said. "This is starting my fifth year, and you kind of learn to read your team better all the time. And tonight I came in and I told my coaches and I even brought that to their attention before the game. I said, you know what, we seem a little loose in here. We might want to focus a little bit better because we're going to be surprised if we're not. If you show up at the rink a certain way, you can't just turn the switch off and then decide all of a sudden you're going to change your attitude. It's how you wake up in the morning, it's how you see the game. If you come to the rink unprepared then it shows."
The disappointed bench boss made sure to assert that the Bruins' participation in a Stanley Cup ceremony at Gillette Stadium on Sunday before the Patriots-Jets game wasn't the reason his team came out flat, even before he was asked about it by reporters.
"Certainly one thing I'm going to clarify right now is yesterday had absolutely nothing to do with us today," Julien said. "I think yesterday was great for the guys. It was great that the Patriots acknowledged us. And as professionals you certainly should be able to turn the page the next day and do your job. So if there's somebody to blame, it's ourselves and nobody else."James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.