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Bruins Look to Carry Over Emotions from Win in Detroit to Montreal

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

MONTREAL - A quick look at the schedule heading into the 2014-15 season showed that the Bruins' October 16th meeting with the Canadiens wasn't going to present an easy situation for them.

Boston would be heading into Montreal on the second end of a road back-to-back, with the Habs ready and waiting to kick off their first game at the Bell Centre and put on a show for the home crowd.

The Black and Gold made it tougher on themselves, starting the season at 1-3-0, with just four goals, and the lineup in flux as they tried to find the right mix.

But they made it much easier on themselves Wednesday night, by providing their best effort of the season with a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings.

"It helps a lot," Milan Lucic said postgame from Detroit, before the team jetted off to Montreal. "You see when we play determined to win, and when we focus on just playing a hard, heavy game, it gives us success, so we have to have the same mindset going into [Thursday] night."

Lucic knew which question would be coming next, so he decided to rattle off the answer himself.

"We know we're heading into Montreal, home opener, they beat us last year in the playoffs," he said, not blind to the storylines heading into the first Bruins-Habs tilt since Game 7.

"But we can't think about that - we just have to think about going there and winning ourselves a hockey game and coming out successful out of this road trip."

The win in Detroit - albeit in the shootout and with only two goals in regulation from Reilly Smith and David Krejci - was a start.

Boston threw 65 pucks towards Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard (39 hit the mark). Only six Bruins didn't register a shot on goal. It was the most in sync they looked all season.

The addition of veteran Simon Gagne helped balance out the lineup, and Head Coach Claude Julien eventually placed him with Lucic and Krejci late in the third period. With a strong showing in his first NHL game since April 27, 2013, Gagne nearly scored the game-winner in the final minute of regulation, but was robbed by Howard.

"I think it's a good momentum, I think we needed it - a little positivity going in there," Smith said, of carrying over their emotional play from Detroit into Montreal.

"You know, two-in-two's are tough, especially going into that building but I think if we come out with our best effort like we did [against Detroit], I think we should do well."

While the Bruins arrived in the early hours of the morning on Thursday after Wednesday's shootout, the Canadiens have enjoyed a practice day and a day off since their 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

None of that should matter, though - not with a rivalry game on tap and the Bruins in need of making up points.

"We'll be ready," said Julien. "The emotions were high [against Detroit], and we're going to need that [Thursday], but they were also under control, and we're going to need that as well."

"Emotions have to be high against one of your rivals, but at the same time, if they're in control, I think we'll be OK."

It has been 155 days since the Original Six rivals last met, and Thursday night will mark the first of four games on the season.

There's no telling whether the emotions will play out on the ice in full force, or if they'll stay bottled up. There have been changes in personnel on both sides. The Bruins, faced with uncertainty around their roster to start season, are more focused on getting into a groove than anything else.

"Right now, you've got turn the page," Julien said in Detroit. "You can't live in the past - I think it's about doing what you have to do this year and we have to go in there and do what we have to do to come out of there with a win. It's as simple as that in my mind."

Like the rest of the Bruins, Lucic is trying to focus on that as well.

"Well, I mean, right now I've got zero points and I'm a minus-1," Lucic said, when asked if there would be any personal carryover for him into Thursday's game.

"So, I'm more worried about winning a game and producing, and you know, if anything happens, it'll happen, but I'm just looking forward to playing hard and winning a hockey game."

If there's anything that the Bruins will be carrying over from last season's playoff series with Montreal, though, it's the need to keep their composure.

There's been an increased emphasis on that to start the season, and Boston showed that - to a degree - on Wednesday night in Detroit.

"You saw that we didn't let anything bother us, whether they tied it up on a questionable call or anything like that, we didn't want to let anything affect us," Lucic said.

"We just wanted to make sure that we went out there and put the effort in to get ourselves the best chance to win, and I think that's what happened here."

That may not be as easy against the Habs, but the Bruins will have to find a way.

"It's a resilient group, I think we showed that last year," said Smith. "So it's nice that we're getting back to it."

Projected Lineup vs. Montreal 10/16

The Bruins didn't hold a morning skate on Thursday in Montreal. Head Coach Claude Julien is set to address the media at the Bell Centre around 6:20 p.m. ET, and that could shed some light on the possible lineup (live updates available via @NHLBruins on Twitter).

Only a second year pro, Seth Griffith has had to adjust quickly to the NHL game, and has done a good enough job on the right wing with Lucic and Krejci in the eyes of Julien to stay with the team.

But Gagne had a good enough showing against Detroit that he could get the look on the top line with Lucic and Krejci to start the game, instead of on the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Ryan Spooner.

Griffith could stay in the lineup, or Matt Fraser could slot in. Fraser has been a healthy scratch for the past two games.

A busy start to the season has seen Tuukka Rask already suit up in four of the Bruins' five games, but with an upcoming tilt in Buffalo on Saturday, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see Rask get the back-to-back nod in Montreal.

Broadcast Info

The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre. Broadcast coverage is available on NESN and by tuning into 100.7 WZLX (moved from 98.5 The Sports Hub, due to the simultaneous broadcast of the Patriots game).

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