- Tonight can't come soon enough for the B's, who would like put the past two losses to Montreal and Washington behind them with a hard-fought outing against the Leafs, who come in on a three-game winning streak, having picked up a 5-4 win over the Senators in Toronto Wednesday night.
"We know it’s a huge game. We need to bounce back and we know we need to be a lot better," Brad Marchand told the media following a high-energy morning skate at TD Garden.
"We aren’t playing our style of game right now and we’re lacking in some areas, but we know it’s going to be very tough, Toronto’s playing very well right now and these points are just as important for them so we know we have to be very, very good tonight and hopefully we’re all ready."
With an off day Wednesday, the B's were able to get some rest after a three games in four days stretch that saw them go 1-1-1. The team that sits just one point above Toronto in the standings is ready to move on from the tough one in D.C. - but knows they need to reflect on the loss to correct any mistakes going forward.
"I think we’re just getting a little bit away from being a bit of a physical team, getting pucks in deep and hitting a little more," said Marchand, on what the Black & Gold can improve in their game.
"We seem to be turning pucks over at the wrong areas, at our blueline, at their blueline and through the neutral zone and that’s not our team. We keep it simple and get in deep and try to work it in their end."
While there is frustration at the breakdowns, the no-panic Bruins are focusing on the easily correctable mistakes - and not worrying about major changes to their solid system.
"I think the goals, all of the goals I think, are easily correctable," said Chris Kelly, on making simple corrections to Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Caps, in which the B's allowed too many odd-man situations and saw a 3-0 first period lead evaporate as Washington scored four unanswered goals.
"It’s a game of mistakes, but it’s how you respond after that and I find maybe we’ve made a few too many mistakes at crucial times, and they ended up costing us a few points."
"By no means are we panicking, but we want to correct those mistakes before they snowball and become more of an issue."
Forward Milan Lucic also had the same mindset, noting that the Bruins need to right the ship by paying attention to the the detailed parts of their game.
"Just the little details," said Lucic, on the corrections that need to be made. "The puck battles, getting pucks in and the bluelines pucks in and pucks out, making good, hard strong plays, and not being cute."
Coach Julien echoed his players today following morning skate, and noted that the B's recent letdowns can be fixed fairly easily. It's just a matter of execution on the part of his squad.
"Our defensive game has not been the greatest," said Julien, whose defense-first team usually clamps down ton the opposing team.
"They’re all about little details. I often tell our players, 'little details are what make a difference between a win and a loss.'"
"This league has a lot of skill, that when you start doing those little things right, and when you pay attention to them, you normally prevent those kind of collapses."
"That’s on one side of the puck, defensively we had too many collapses. I think [offensively] we had about five outnumbered situations in that game and a lot of them in the third," Coach added, on the team's need to bear down on their chances.
"Three-on-ones, two-on-ones, a couple of those and we don’t capitalize because we didn’t do the right things. So, there’s a lot that goes into it and we’ve got to make sure you right the ship before it gets too far."
With B's looking to improve their puck management on both ends of the ice, the shortened schedule certainly presents an opportunity for them to bounce back quickly.
"It doesn’t matter, whether it’s 48, whether it’s 82, I think after a disappointing loss you want to get back to work," said Coach Julien, when asked about being able to move on swiftly after a loss. "Our game had slipped a little bit, we’re certainly not going to deny that, we’ve got to pick up our game."
"There’s ups and downs during the season. Not saying we’re down, but we certainly have to be better in order to get back to where we’d like to be. That’s in a lot of facets of our game. When you struggle, you don’t just struggle in one area, you struggle in many."
Something that will carry the Bruins through the roller coaster of a season is their level of experience, and Chris Kelly knows that will help them get off to a better start against the Leafs and regain their identity.
"Mentally I think we’ve got a pretty strong group here," said the center. "That’s the great thing about this shortened season. You’re playing every other day, so it’s quick. You’ve got quick turnarounds to forget about the past and move forward."