BROSSARD - There are certain games over the course of any given regular season that teams simply can't - and shouldn't - forget.
Those who took part in last season's 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on October 27, 2015 still remember it well. After all, it marked the Canadiens' first loss of the year following nine straight victories. Michel Therrien's troops fell just one win shy of becoming the third team in NHL history to begin a season with a perfect 10-0-0 record - a mark shared by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres.
Fast forward just over 12 months later and the Canadiens find themselves in a similar spot with a tilt against Willie Desjardins' club on the horizon at the Bell Centre. This time around, Therrien's contingent boasts an 8-0-1 record and remains the only undefeated team in the NHL in regulation time. And, just like last year, the two squads are set to clash in the Canadiens' 10th game of the season.
Video: Brendan Gallagher on the Canadiens' win streak
Vancouver native Brendan Gallagher says the group likely got caught up in the hype of getting off to such a remarkable start last October, which ultimately proved to be their downfall on that fateful Tuesday night in the Lower Mainland. Now though, things are very different in the Canadiens' locker room, according to Gallagher, especially given the way things played out as the 2015-16 campaign rolled on.
"I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves [last year]. I think last year everyone was saying so many good things about us. I think we started to believe it a little too much. It caught up to us quick," admitted Gallagher, who was limited to just 53 games due to injury last season during a disappointing year in which the Canadiens went on to finish 22nd overall with just 82 points. "Now, we have a good understanding - stay humble, stay with it, and hopefully good things are going to happen. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. We haven't accomplished anything yet."
That's certainly the way David Desharnais sees things, too, with the Canadiens riding a seven-game winning streak heading into Wednesday night's affair on home turf.
"Our record right now doesn't even matter. It's one game at a time. We just want to get better every day, every game," shared Desharnais, who, like Gallagher, still recalls dropping that decision in British Columbia last October. "It was our first loss and we didn't want that to happen. But, it happened. We remember. We don't want it to happen again. We want to keep this streak going. We want to play well, too. It was a bad game for us. You just want to play well and hopefully the results are going to be there. But, we don't want that to happen again."
Video: Andrew Shaw on the Canucks
The Canucks, meanwhile, find themselves in the midst of a five-game winless streak that includes four straight losses, which undoubtedly makes them a rather hungry group as they begin a six-game road trip on Wednesday night. Ironically, they were also in the midst of a four-game winless streak last season when they managed to right the ship and hand the Canadiens their first defeat of the year in Vancouver.
Andrew Shaw wasn't sporting Canadiens colors last October, but he has a good idea of the effort level the Canucks will be bringing to the Bell Centre as they try to get back on track at his new team's expense.
"They can be a very dangerous team. They can make plays. They can score goals. We've got to be prepared for that. In the NHL, you can't take any team lightly. They're all professionals. They're all capable of scoring goals. We've got to expect a hard-working Canucks team," insisted Shaw, obviously referencing the firepower of Vancouver snipers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, among others. "You've got a team like that, and they can come in and really surprise you. They can go out and work hard and compete and outwork you in all zones, so we've got to go out there and be at our best as well."
Video: Michel Therrien on Plekanec, Weber and Sergachev
That's what the Canadiens' bench boss is expecting from his contingent in their first of three games in a four-night span. Right now, the Canucks are the lowest scoring group in the league with just 16 goals in nine games, so it goes without saying that Therrien is hoping his troops will keep it that way with another stellar effort from start to finish.
"We've got to make sure we keep playing tight. We try to create offense with our checking game. It's a counter-attack game. If you check well, you're going to have more chances. That's our philosophy," concluded Therrien, whose club has given up a league-best 13 goals and 1.44 goals-per-game on the season. "We're a fast team. We want to use our quickness to attack. We're not waiting for other teams to make mistakes. We try to provoke mistakes."