After not playing since last Saturday, the B's are happy to be playing anyone tonight in the TD Garden.
"Certainly Montreal is a great rivalry, but for me it doesn’t matter who comes in," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "It’s more about looking at ourselves than looking at the opponent and I know it sounds cliché, but that’s what it is for us.
"Whoever we play, we have to have that sense of urgency that will allow us to get ourselves back on track and back to the team that everybody thinks and knows that we should be."
Despite a Max Pacioretty-fueled (2 goals, 1 assist) 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night in Montreal, the Canadiens are struggling.
Prior to Wednesday's victory in the Bell Centre, the Habs had not won since October 9, but don't tell that to Julien, who remained focused on his own club's shortcomings during his post-practice comments on Thursday.
Julien expects a motivated Montreal team to arrive in Boston for Thursday night's matchup, but said that he also expects his club to be motivated, too.
"Anybody who is in the situation like they are, or we are, should be hungry," said Julien. "I don’t know why they should be hungrier than we are, because we’re not doing that great ourselves."
"Again, my message is not about who we’re playing more than what we have to do," explained Julien, when asked if the Montreal game would provide even more motivation for his Bruins. "Heading into this home-and-away series, I just feel that we need to find our game [Thursday in Boston] and that we can worry about Saturday on Saturday [in Montreal]."
Whoever we play, we have to have that sense of urgency that will allow us to get ourselves back on track and back to the team that everybody thinks and knows that we should be. - Coach Julien
Julien is looking for just a few more things from the Black & Gold.
"Consistency is what we need in our game and a little bit more of a commitment, desperation and doing the right things," he said. "That scale is tilting on the wrong side right now -- not by much -- but we’ve got to make it tilt the other way and the only way to do that is adjust on those little things, which are little mistakes that cause us goals and little things like bearing down on our opportunities."
Despite those issues, Julien remains confident that the B's are heading in the right direction and believes that the best solution for the team's early doldrums is simple.
"We’ve just got to go out there and start playing our game," said Julien. "Let’s stop worrying about what goes on on the outside and the perception and the reasons and everything else and start worrying about ourselves and just playing our game and playing it properly.
"We’re an optimistic group in there that thinks we can come back and play the way we can," said the B's Bench boss. "Right now it’s [probably] less about talk and probably more show."
Regarding the slow start, the Bruins head coach implied that he understood why it seemed inevitable that the B's would have to struggle through the now ubiquitous "Cup Hangover."
However, the coach was unwilling to let his club off the hook.
"The excuses are there if we want them," added Julien. "But I think we’d rather...find solutions to whatever challenges we have instead."