BOSTON - Here are a few key storylines from Wednesday night's 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Pastrnak sinks Habs
The Habs knew they'd be in tough against the Bruins' top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron.
The trio is a big reason why the Bruins currently sit atop the NHL standings, and they proved it once again with an eight-point night against Montreal, including a hat trick for Pastrnak.
"One power play goal, another one on a two-on-one. Pastrnak is a natural scorer. He's at the right place at the right time," admitted Phillip Danault, who registered two hits in 18:33 of ice time. "We tried to get the puck out, but it got back on his stick and he took advantage. We can't give up chances like that to a scorer like him."
Video: Phillip Danault on David Pastrnak
Head coach Claude Julien thought his troops put in a good effort against arguably the League's best line, but they came up short nonetheless.
"It wasn't a lack of effort, but you need a bit more to win games. Their best players made the difference," affirmed the Canadiens bench boss. "I know we hit some posts, but we were too focused on looking for the perfect play tonight instead of shooting the puck on net."
Fared they well
The Habs were outshot 38-29 by the Bruins and the final score may have been 4-1, but they still kept pace with a team that has the second-best goal differential in the League.
If you need any more proof of that, look no further than the 36 seconds it took the Canadiens to bring Boston's lead back down to a goal after Pastrnak made it 2-0 early in the second period.
"I don't think we played badly. The effort was there. We had some chances and we hit some posts. But that's a very good team on the other end," said Danault. "They're not first in the League for nothing. They came out on top tonight."
On the other hand, Danault's linemate, Brendan Gallagher, felt his team needed to do much more and sees the loss as a tough pill to swallow.
"It's just so critical that we need these two points. The fact we weren't able to generate all that much, for whatever reason... obviously they played well; you give them credit," outlined Gallagher, who registered a team-high five shots on net. "But for us right now, it's just disappointing in the sense where we're the desperate team and we need to find a way to collect points."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on losing a valuable two points
Stepping up for the captain
On Wednesday afternoon, the Canadiens announced that captain Shea Weber would miss four to six weeks with a sprained ankle. It's a big loss for a team that's trying to claw its way back into playoff contention, but the Habs are using his absence as motivation to keep battling hard.
"It's encouraging to know that he could be back. He's obviously a big part of our locker room," shared Carey Price, who made 34 saves on Wednesday. "We have to fight to keep our chances alive here and hopefully, it'll give us a boost when he gets back."
Video: Carey Price on the loss to the Bruins
Julien, meanwhile, would like to see his other leaders step up to fill Weber's shoes, no matter how big they may be.
"We need better execution and results, and we need guys to step in there and score some big goals for us. We have some guys who are supposed to be able to do that for us," concluded the coach. "They need to step up and do that for us if we want to give ourselves a chance."
The Canadiens departed for Pittsburgh immediately following the game. They face the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Friday at 7:00 p.m.