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Brad Marchand knows he was not always the easiest person to deal with when he first entered the league. As a young player, there were plenty of times he needed to be reeled in as he tried to establish himself.

That’s where Claude Julien came in.

“He gave me an opportunity to play, dealt with me more than I think a lot of coaches would have, worked with me tirelessly,” Marchand said of the former Bruins coach. “Had plenty of conversations about how to act and how to be a good player, a good pro, how to learn the game and become a better player.

“He definitely gave me a huge opportunity and allowed me to grow into a better player.”

Across the Bruins dressing room, players shared similar stories regarding the impact Julien had on their careers. And that’s why it is sure to be a special moment when Julien – the Bruins’ all-time winningest coach – returns to Boston for the first time on Wednesday night when the B’s host his Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

“He’s the one that I was given the opportunity to play in the NHL,” said David Pastrnak. “We had a bunch of meetings in the time I was here…obviously have a lot of good memories. He spent so much time with this organization and has given a lot.”

Marchand credited Julien with helping him to become more of a dependable offensive force every night. The 29-year-old began his career in as a fourth-line grinder and has since blossomed into a two-time All-Star, who is well on his way to a third straight 35-goal season.

“You could go through a lot of different things, but the biggest thing he preached to me was how to be a good pro and how to be consistent,” said Marchand. “That’s one thing we talked about is consistency. And if you want to be in this league for a long time you have to be able to bring your best game every night or close to it. That was probably one of the biggest things I took away.”

Julien won 419 games over 10 seasons with Boston, twice leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final, including the club’s first title in 39 years in 2011. Overall, the Bruins made the playoffs seven times under Julien and captured the Presidents’ Trophy in 2014.

The Ontario native also won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2009 and twice coached at the NHL All-Star Game during his time in Boston.

“He was here for a long time, did a lot of great things for this team, for the organization, for the community and for the fans,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who played under Julien for 10 seasons.

“He definitely should be recognized for that…he’s a great coach, a great person, taught me a lot about how to play the game the right way in certain situations. He’s just a great teacher.”

For Boston’s remaining championship core – which includes Marchand, Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Adam McQuaid – it will no doubt be a bit strange to see their former boss standing behind the visiting bench on Wednesday night.

“I’m sure there is going to be some emotion for them,” said current Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who replaced Julien last February. “They won a Stanley Cup under Claude – there should be. I think there was a bit of that in Montreal in terms of the first time looking across the bench and seeing him behind a different group, and I would imagine there would be a little more tomorrow. Then, the game will kind of take care of itself, and off we go.

“There’s some great relationships developed between Claude with the guys that have played with him for a length of time, so you don’t forget about that.”

Cassidy, who was an assistant under Julien last season before taking over the reins, acknowledged that some of his predecessor’s philosophies remain in place, particularly on the defensive side of things.

“The biggest was probably the layers and D-zone,” said Cassidy. “I think there’s a lot of teams that go man-to-man nowadays in the NHL in D-zone. We haven’t changed, and we feel it’s worked very well for us to stay with our layers and our zone coverage. I would say that is probably the biggest thing because it has worked.”

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The Bruins were clearly frustrated on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. Boston’s power play struggled to create much momentum on its first five chances on the man advantage – managing just one shot on goal – before eventually breaking through in crunch time with a power-play tally from Brad Marchand to tie the game in the third.

But a 1-for-7 showing, which included a too many men on the ice penalty and a shorthanded breakaway attempt for the third straight game, did not leave them feeling good about the state of their power play.

“It’s just as much a reset,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Monday’s game with Columbus. “We knew we weren’t very good on it the other night. We had to at least have a conversation about it, what’s going wrong. We brought both groups in, talked to the guys, the vocal guys in each group, tried to get everyone together on the same page, air out any differences. Sometimes that’s it.

“Guys get frustrated with each other. These are skill guys that are used to scoring. If they get overlooked or there’s a wrong decision, there can be a domino effect. We don’t want that to bleed into 5-on-5 and all of a sudden we’re complaining about the power play and it’s over and the play is still going on.”

Following a sluggish month of November on the man advantage, the Bruins have been cashing in more frequently of late with power-play goals in five of seven games in December (6 for 26). Nevertheless, Boston has dipped to 14th (19.8%) in the league after spending most of the first month in the top five and allowed shorthanded goals in two of three games last week.

“Trying to make a perfect play is part of the problem, so if that’s overthinking – not thinking enough in terms of not recovering pucks,” said Cassidy. “I think that was a big part of our success last year, particularly that first group. To get some of those teams out of position or uncomfortable when they recovered pucks and things opened up for them. And more movement. I think they’ve been a little too static at times.”

Cassidy said teams have been stacking the blue line with three or four players across to slow down Boston’s speed – mainly David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Ryan Spooner – entering the offensive zone. One way to break through that? The chip-and-chase.

“Self chipping. I don’t think it’s a strength of our team, naturally, on the entry to recover pucks because we’ve got some skills guys that want to make those plays there,” said Cassidy. “[But] we’re going to have to build that in if that’s the direction we go. We may have to because teams are stacking the blue line…they’ve got four back in the neutral zone with a 1-3, diamond, four across.

“They’re making it hard for us to get in there. That’s where I see the self chips coming in, a lot more of that – just chip it behind them and get it yourself.”

McQuaid Out, But Close

Adam McQuaid will not play against the Blue Jackets but a return sometime this week seems likely. Cassidy would like the blue liner, who has been out since Oct. 19 with a broken right fibula, to get in another full practice or two before re-entering the lineup.

“He’s still day-to-day. He’s going to get through practice today, get in a little extra work. The problem we’ve had with Adam is having a full team practice where you’re out there and it’s 5-on-5 in zone and 3-on-3 down low,” said Cassidy.

“Until he gets a couple of those under his belt – which he has had a few – but we’re thinking maybe a couple more would benefit him. We’re not excluding him tomorrow [against Buffalo]. I am [for] tonight.”

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The Bruins’ woes against the Washington Capitals continued on Saturday night.

Despite two goals from David Pastrnak and a strong final two periods, Boston could not overcome a slow start in a 3-2 loss to their Eastern Conference foes at TD Garden. The loss, which ended the Bruins’ six-game points streak, was their 10th straight to Washington, a streak that began in 2014.

“I think we were the better team [over the final two periods] but we can’t afford starts like that, especially against a team like Washington,” said Pastrnak. “We always have a slow start against them…. it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get one point at least.”

For the second time in three games, Boston struggled through a sluggish first period. Washington opened up a 2-0 lead over the game’s first 20 minutes on goals from Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin, a less-than-ideal formula with a number of goal-scorers out of the lineup.

“Each individual has to do their job as a professional hockey player to show up and be ready, and as a team you have to be ready as well,” said Torey Krug, who assisted on both goals to extend his points streak to three games. “It falls on the older group in the room to make sure that we’re ready to go and then all of a sudden the younger guys are falling in line after that.

“We have to do a better job for sure, that’s been a tough spot for us the last few games.”

Even with the slow start, the Bruins rebounded over the game’s 40 minutes and twice pulled within a goal – both times on tallies from Pastrnak. Down by two entering the second, the Bruins came out buzzing in the middle period and cut the Washington lead in half just 3:37 into the period.

Boston won a puck battle just inside their blue line and began a rush up ice. Krug skated the puck through the neutral zone and dished it to Bergeron, who carried it down the right wing and floated a nifty saucer pass to Pastrnak.

Pastrnak, who was breaking down the middle of the slot, then powered one through Holtby’s five-hole to bring the Bruins within one.

Boston continued to surge and appeared to be on the verge of finding the equalizer. But Holtby stood tall and the Capitals took advantage as the period came to a close, when Wilson collected his second of the night with a terrific tip on a Brooks Orpik shot from the point. The puck soared over the shoulder of Rask to put Washington ahead, 3-1, with 1:10 to go in the period.

“Tough pill to swallow in the dressing room, feeling like you outplayed them, got back in the game, and you’re still had the same deficit,” said Cassidy.

The Bruins did not have to wait long for a chance to answer as they were awarded a four-minute power-play just 46 seconds into the third when Orpik whacked Pastrnak with a high-stick. It was not, however, much of an advantage as the Bruins struggled to enter the zone with speed or create any sustained pressure. Another power play midway through the period also went for naught.

“That was disappointing,” said Cassidy. “It was an opportunity to get back in the game and eventually the power play did score to get us back in the game, but you’d like to see it a little bit earlier and a little smoother because it’s been a strength of our team…absolutely we needed to be better there.”

Nonetheless, the Bruins were persistent and once again closed within a goal – on the power play. Pastrnak took a pass from Marchand in the corner and whipped one on Holtby from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off the Washington goalie and into the net with 2:32 remaining.

“I got it and I saw we had a little quick 2-on-1,” said Pastrnak. “[Danton Heinen] was coming down off from the wall – that’s usually the play – I tried to get it through the crease to the guy coming down and sometimes the goalie knows that’s the play so I tried to catch him cheating and it went in.”

Boston put forth a furious rally in the waning seconds, but was unable to find the equalizer.

“We had some really good looks,” said Bergeron. “I thought we had some good shots, good traffic…at the end we came close a few times, but bottom line – it’s tough to let those points slip by a tough start.”

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There is no denying the sour taste that was left in the Bruins’ mouths following Saturday night’s last-second overtime loss to Los Angeles.

Tyler Toffoli’s miracle winner as time expired put a damper on an otherwise strong effort from the Bruins, which earned them a point and extended their points streak to four games (2-0-2). The stretch has been an encouraging one for Boston, considering the injuries that have left the B’s roster in a constant state of flux for much of the first three weeks.

“To get three out of four points is a positive,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, referring to the last two games against San Jose and L.A. “You always want four, you’re at home. But it could have gone either way…those things happen. We’re pleased, but certainly not content, if that makes sense.”

The Bruins gathered at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday morning for a film session rather than a full on-ice practice, allowing Cassidy to highlight some of the positive things his team has been doing of late, particularly in the defensive end.

“We’re getting better every day as a team,” said David Pastrnak. “I think we had a strong game [Saturday] against a heavy team. It’s always tough to play against a West team, but I think we’ve gotten a lot better in the last couple weeks.”

While Cassidy has been pleased with the way the Bruins have improved defensively since the season’s first few games, he has seen a dip in their offensive production. Boston has scored just three goals over the past two games as it adjusts to being without David Krejci, who has missed three straight contests with an upper-body injury.

“We want to get back to our identity of being hard to play against and still have our offense,” said Cassidy. “We’re getting some of that identity offensively and make sure we don’t lose our ability to score goals.”

Opposing View

The Blue Jackets are off to a good start with a 7-4-0 record, which places them third in the Metropolitan Division (14 points), two points shy of first-place New Jersey. Columbus fell, 4-1, to St. Louis on Saturday night.

Artemi Panarin, acquired from Chicago during the offseason, paces Columbus with 10 points (goal, nine assists), while Sonny Milano leads the way with five goals. Young blue liner Seth Jones is second on the team with eight points and headlines a strong defensive corps that also includes Jack Johnson and Zach Werenski.

“They’ve got a D corps that gets up the ice,” said Cassidy. “They’re gonna attack in waves, they do a good job with that. They’re good around the net, get to the net and get second chances. For us, to have success there we’ve got to get on top of their D and get behind them, play in their end.

“Being patient with [the puck], I think that’s the formula with a team against Columbus that has a good D corps but wants to break up plays and gets going.”

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 6-2-0 with a 1.86 goals against average (fourth in the NHL) and .940 save percentage (sixth).

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The fight for the first hat trick was on and everything was looking just fine.

Entering the third period, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each had two goals apiece. And with the Bruins holding on to a two-goal lead over the Buffalo Sabres, they were searching for some insurance and their second consecutive victory.

But the hat tricks and the extra cushion never came.

Boston surrendered the lead in the third and ultimately fell in overtime on Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly’s tally with 2:01 remaining in the extra session.

“Obviously we’re disappointed,” Pastrnak said following the 5-4 loss to Buffalo at TD Garden on Saturday night. “We got one point…we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us. It’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

There was some question about whether or not there was goalie interference on the winning goal after Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen knocked into Anton Khudobin in the crease. But after an officials’ review it was determined that Torey Krug initiated the contact that led to the collision.

“Well you guys saw it,” said Khudobin, who made 37 saves. “I think that’s interference. He crushed me, pretty much. I mean, we have the referees and it’s their call, but I felt like I didn’t have a chance to even move there. So maybe they said that our guy cross-checked him or whatever, but maybe that’s a penalty, not a goal.”

Ultimately, the Bruins felt they could have done much more to prevent the extra session. Boston held two three-goal leads and entered the third period with a 4-2 advantage. But tallies from former Bruin Benoit Pouliot early in the final frame and Evander Kane with just 2:08 to go in regulation – just seconds after the expiration of Brandon Carlo’s interference penalty – forced overtime.

“Just let it slip away from us,” said Krug, who picked up his first assist of the season. “We needed a big play, needed to get out of a mess and we just couldn’t do it. We hold ourselves accountable and it hurts. Especially with the long layoff before the next game.”

The Bruins appeared to be en route to a blowout early on. With Buffalo on the second end of a back-to-back after falling to Vancouver on Friday night, Boston opened the scoring with goals from Pastrnak and Marchand (on the power play) later in the first and added another on Marchand’s second of the night just 37 seconds into the middle period to build a 3-0 lead.

Jason Pominville got Buffalo on the board at 8:01 of the second, before Pastrnak grabbed his second of the night just over three minutes later to extend Boston’s lead back to three goals.

“We came out in the third and we wanted to continue pouring it on,” said Charlie McAvoy, who had his fifth and sixth assists of the season. “And we had some good shifts when we played in their zone. They were getting it up and getting it in, they were working hard. They had a good forecheck and good sticks. And it’s up to us to protect that lead.”

But Jack Eichel’s tally with 3:53 to go in the second brought Buffalo within two and provided the Sabres with some hope heading into the third. It proved to be the first of four unanswered goals for Buffalo.

“They obviously had the momentum and we really didn’t regain it at any point,” said Marchand. “You always have those momentum swings in the games, but it’s kind of how you handle them and we didn’t do a good job with that tonight.

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re gonna have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one.”

The injuries to Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller forced Paul Postma into action for the first time this season. Postma, paired with Rob O’Gara for much of the night, played well, landing three shots on goal and three hits with a plus-1 rating in 11 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time.

“Actually pretty good, a little nervous at the start,” Postma said of how he felt. “You can skate in practice as much as you want, but you can’t compare that to a game, and the first couple shifts got the nerves going a little bit, but once I got my feet under me, I felt pretty good.”

O’Gara, recalled from Providence on an emergency basis Saturday morning, was also making his season debut. The blue liner landed one hit and blocked three shots in 14 minutes, 17 seconds of ice time.

“It’s been a long day today with the drive up from Providence this morning, but it felt good,” said O’Gara. “Just trying to stay within myself, playing psychical, being assertive. I think doing that more and more just a little each game…when I’m comfortable and confident is when I play my best.

“I think that will take a little bit of time, but I felt good with how I did tonight.”