"To be honest I don’t think we played well against them," was B's forward Gregory Campbell
's simple answer when asked why the Canes had consistently given the B's issues this season.
Across the locker room, defenseman Andrew Ference
-- who will return to the lineup from suspension on Thursday -- held similar sentiments and said the B's had just played "alright" against Carolina.
But the Hurricanes have been better than alright against Boston as the Bruins have dropped three straight games to Carolina to the tune of 3-2, 4-1 and 4-2 scores and have been outscored 11-5.
"They play hard," explained Ference. "They just came out hard and had a great forecheck against us and forced us...to be a little sloppy.
"It’s one thing to have a bad game and be sloppy, but they’ve done a good job of coming at you hard and against certain teams you have that confidence [in] the way you play, and you see that with their team.
"They’ve been able to feel good about their game in the past three," he said.
Earlier this month, Carolina scored three goals in the third to tie the game and then take the win in Raleigh.
"The last time we were in there, they played an awesome game," explained Campbell. "They were hard on us and we weren’t prepared for that - we weren’t prepared to skate, and they were all over us.
"They smothered us and they deserved to win that game."
One could argue that the B's didn't deserve to win last night's game, but Milan Lucic
's big goal in the waning moments of the second period, Dennis Seidenberg
's goal from the redline and a strong third period effort put two points in Boston's coffers and gave the Bruins a measure of momentum going into Thursday night.
However, that doesn't mean the Black & Gold were overly pleased with themselves for their play on Tuesday or, for that matter, much of January. The Bruins also know that another such outing could leave Boston shaking their heads -- again -- after a fourth loss to the Hurricanes and the Carolina franchise's first season series sweep of Boston.
"Yeah things have slipped," said Campbell. "It’s no secret in here.
"[Head Coach] Claude [Julien] has been realistic with us and we’re not playing up to the potential of what we’re capable of. They’ve done their job – our job as players is to get back to that. That’s no secret.
"We just have to play our game like we did in November and December and that’s the formula that brings success for us," he continued. "There are ups-and-downs in the season, but you can’t use that as an excuse.
"Good teams find a way to be consistent and that’s our issue right now," he added.
And as far as looking for something specific the Hurricanes have done to stymie the Bruins, Campbell said, "It’s not really us focusing on what they’re doing to beat us.
"It’s more [about] us focusing on bringing our game."