Montreal loss stops Bruins winning streak in its tracks

Montreal loss stops Bruins winning streak in its tracks
January 31, 2014, 9:15 am
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BOSTON – The Bruins had been showered with compliments and plaudits for the 5-0-1 run over six games heading into Thursday night’s tilt against the Montreal Canadiens, and perhaps they believed the press clippings more than they should have. The Bruins seemed ill prepared for a game against a hungry Habs team that started the day 10 points below them in the Atlantic Division standings, and saw their winning stretch come to a close.

The 4-1 loss to the Habs was Boston's first regulation loss since Jan. 14, and the first time they've trailed in a game since losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout nearly two weeks ago. The defeat also denies the Bruins what would have been a season-high five-game winning streak as they sprint to the February break.

The Bruins assured all that they weren’t worried about guarding against complacency after posting six goals in three straight games against loose defensive foes, but perhaps they should have been. Instead they saw their winning ways come to an end with a crashing thud, and had only themselves to blame for allowing countless breakaways and odd-man rushes to a speedy Montreal hockey club.

“I think when you know what to expect and the coaches tell you that, I think that you have to do it,” said Dougie Hamilton. “Obviously it gets a little bit frustrating for the coaches when they are telling us stuff and we are not doing it. I guess we have to learn from it, and I guess we got bored of winning. We will learn from this.”

There’s also the simple fact that the only playoff team the Bruins defeated during the six-game stretch was the Los Angeles Kings, and otherwise it was beating the daylights out of weak Eastern Conference teams like the Flyers, Islanders and Panthers and a Stars team that was circling around the toilet bowl.

Good teams win the games that they’re supposed to, of course, but it’s incumbent upon the Bruins to get back in the winning way with only four games remaining until the Winter Olympics break. That would make Thursday night’s loss to the Canadiens as the outlier rather than a sign of bad things to come.

“You hope it’s just a one-game thing, and hopefully the answer will come on Saturday,” said Claude Julien. “But at the same time when you score six goals [in] three consecutive games and then you meet a team like Montreal [they’re] going to be pretty stingy and played us tight. You realize that those goals don’t come that easily. So I’m just looking at seeing our team bounce back on Saturday and move on.”

The good news: the lowly Edmonton Oilers are coming into town this weekend as one of the two worst teams currently in the NHL, and they should ably play the role of slump-buster rather than slump-starter when it comes to the Bruins.