BROSSARD - If anyone knows just how good the Bruins are, it's head coach Claude Julien.
Having helmed the Original Six franchise for nine-plus seasons before returning to Montreal, the veteran bench boss is rather familiar with some of the more seasoned players on the roster.
One of them is four-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, who didn't accompany Boston on their road trip after suffering a lower-body injury.
Bergeron's absence is a big blow to Bruce Cassidy's squad, of course, but Julien insists there are still plenty of opposition soldiers capable of picking up the slack until his return.
"Some teams kind of thrive on that in a way that they want to prove that they can handle adversity," said Julien, following Tuesday's morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex. "I know that Boston has enough of a leadership group to make sure they have that approach tonight."
Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference vs. BOS
Case and point is a top line featuring veterans Brad Marchand, David Krejci and David Pastrnak. And having captain Zdeno Chara on the back end is always a plus, too.
So how do you beat a Bruins squad that is riding a three-game winning streak and currently sits atop the Atlantic Division with 35 points?
For the Canadiens, a sense of urgency at both ends of the rink - but especially on the defensive side of things - is of primordial importance.
The Bruins rank second in the League in goals for per game (3.61), and tied for third in goals for (83) through 23 contests.
"When you haven't won in the last four games, you have to be determined to change things," insisted Julien, who watched his club surrender a 4-0 lead over the weekend before dropping a 6-5 decision to the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre. "We addressed some things that we needed to improve. Tonight, we have to put those things into practice and come away with the result we're looking for."
After the on-ice session, Nick Cousins stressed the importance of the forwards continuously backchecking from start to finish versus Boston.
That wasn't the case against the Blueshirts, and the Canadiens paid a hefty price for it.
"If our forwards do a good job of backchecking through the middle, it gives the defensemen a chance to stand up and make life easier for everybody. It's not just on the defenseman, it's on the forwards as well," explained Cousins, ahead of the first of two contests between Montreal and Boston in the next six days. "On the offensive side of the puck, we show a decent amount of urgency in creating chances and creating offense. It's just having that same discipline and same effort in our own end. It just takes a commitment from everyone. If we figure out that part of our game, we can be a pretty good team moving forward."
Video: Nick Cousins on the matchup against Boston
'I think I'm feeling a lot more confident'
Victor Mete has every reason to feel good about his game right now.
In addition to registering the first three goals of his NHL career this season, the 21-year-old defenseman is averaging nearly 18 minutes of ice time per game.
Now in his third year with the Canadiens, Mete is more poised than ever.
"I think I'm feeling a lot more confident, and also just more comfortable. It's not new to me anymore," explained Mete, who boasts 143 games of NHL experience on his resume. "I've been through it and everything, so it's been pretty good. Hopefully I can keep it up."
Video: Victor Mete on his confidence level
The Woodbridge, ON native will be going up against one Bruins player, in particular, on Tuesday night that has always caught his attention - nine-year veteran, Torey Krug.
"I watch him a lot," mentioned Mete. "I like how he plays, and I definitely would try to model my game after him."
That being said, Mete is focused squarely on making certain Krug and company leave the Bell Centre disappointed.
"Every shift we want to win. Every game we want to win. We've got to come out on top. We really have to," concluded Mete. "There's no losing in anyone's mind here. We've got to play our game tonight and come out with a win."