It's the first of a long North American tour for the Bruins, who will visit three Canadian cities and three U.S. locales in a meandering journey through the breadbasket of the continent.
"Yeah, we need that," said captain Zdeno Chara
, before the Black & Gold left for Montreal. "We need to have a solid, solid trip and it obviously starts tomorrow with the first game out of those six games."
We need to have a solid, solid trip and it obviously starts tomorrow with the first game out of those six games. - Zdeno Chara
The Canadiens have never been a pushover for the Bruins, but there's no discounting the Habs predicament.
A full 15 points behind Boston (who has three games in hand), the Canadiens are struggling even to remain in striking distance of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference tournaments. However, the bleu, blanc et rouge can exact a measure of satisfaction by putting yet another speed bump in the path of a stumbling Black & Gold club.
What exactly is ailing the Bruins is hard to pinpoint according to Chara, who didn't want to completely discount the B's effort against the Rangers.
"I don’t think we were outworked," said Chara, who at times looked as if he were trying to carry the entire B's roster on his broad shoulders. "I thought we were battling really hard.
"You know, on the second goal it was double deflection off his stick, my pants, and go in. So, that’s a bounce that you can’t prevent; it’s just an unlucky bounce. I thought that we had some really good chances. Lundqvist made some really great saves, really close ones. Then, you know, as we were pressing more and more and trying to create even more chances, then they get two-on-one and score again."
The numbers bear out Chara's refusal to hit the panic button. After 54 games last season, the B's only had 69 points, as opposed to this campaign's 70. Two seasons ago, that number was 55.
However, as much as the B's might want to give a rosy outlook, frustrations could boil over if the Bruins aren't able to get a positive result in Quebec.
But Chara pointed out that the Bruins did persevere in their efforts to compete against the mettle of the East.
"We just kept going at them," he said. "I thought we just had that rest of the game pretty much under control but, at the same time, you have to give them credit because they managed the puck really well.
"They were smart, not to ice it, they just put it out of the zone until we got again back at them. It was tough to break that wall because it was just set up in that defensive setup.
"They find a way to, I don’t want to say frustrate the teams, but play really hard."
That frustrating, hard game is something that the B's have been known for throughout the past several seasons, particularly during last spring's Cup run and this season during the months of November in December. And it's that consistent effort that the B's captain is looking fore as the B's enter this year's run-up to the playoffs.
"Right now, yeah, it seems like we win one we lose one, we win one, we lose one," said Chara. "So, it’s .500 hockey right now, which is, I don’t think it’s bad but I don’t think it’s great.
"I think that it’s something that we, as a team, we realize is -- for the team we have -- it’s not good enough. So, we’ve got to get out of it. It’s not like we lost 5, 6 games in a row, we just we need to put some wins together and find that feeling again where we were just rolling.
"We just kind of like get going then we lose a game again, which causes a little break in that momentum," added Chara. "Again, we won and we lost one again, so we need to put some wins together."