MONTREAL -- Claude Julien saw his 1,000th career NHL game spoiled on Thursday, but the Canadiens head coach is already looking ahead to game No. 1,001.
When asked if the team followed the gameplan against the Islanders following a 3-0 shutout, Julien was blunt in his reply.
"I sure hope not -- not with a result like that," underlined the Habs bench boss during his postgame press conference at the Bell Centre. "I'm not going to say I like the way we played tonight. We look like two different teams at home and on the road -- we weren't even close to playing the way we played in New York [on Tuesday]. I understand that we're having trouble scoring, but it begins with execution, and the drive to go to the net -- two things we started doing in the third period, but not enough to give us a chance to win."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame presser vs. NYI
And so, the 56-year-old is back at work finding ways to improve his club, three games into his second stint in Montreal.
"When you're not scoring, guys get frustrated, and confidence becomes an issue. It's important that we find our confidence, and the best way to do so is by simplifying our game, putting pucks on net, and not being afraid of getting into the dirty areas," prescribed Julien, who saw the Habs blanked for the first time under his watch this season. "It was a tough night for everyone."
Fortunately, with quadruple-digit games of NHL experience to now bank on, the Ontario native is confident he has the insight to right the ship.
"I still feel positive, even though there's work to be done," stressed the 14-year NHL coach. "Tomorrow, we'll wake up and get back to work, because we play in Toronto on Saturday and need to be ready. We have some things left to sort out, but in order to have an identity, you need to be consistent, and that's something we haven't been in the three games since I arrived here."
Consistency is something the players themselves are also eager to find, and not just for their boss behind the bench.
"We haven't been playing good enough, and the fans pay good money to come watch us -- they deserve better than that," admitted Max Pacioretty. "We've got to make a stronger play coming out of our zone. And then when we do come out with control, we've got to make a stronger play on entry. It's all areas of our game. It seems like at times when we don't have confidence, we're content to go out there and make it look like we're working hard, but we've got to want to be difference makers. Every time we're on the ice, we've got to want to change the game -- everybody's got to have that mindset."
Video: Pacioretty on a lack of results
And the captain intends to lead by example.
"The difference between changing the game and working hard is so slim. You don't want to just go out there and kill the clock. You can't be satisfied with getting the puck out and in," concluded Pacioretty. "You've got to want to score goals and be the difference maker -- that goes for everyone up and down our lineup, myself included."