It was one of the most highly anticipated hockey games in New England maybe since the Stanley Cup in 2013. Although it wasn’t the result the Boston Bruins were looking for, it is now time to move on and concentrate on the road ahead.
The 5-1 drumming by the Montreal Canadiens dropped the Bruins to fourth place in the Atlantic Division and eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The focus must shift fast as they have a tough stretch ahead of them. Tuesday night, Claude Julien and company welcome in the beasts from the East—the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have a comfortable nine point lead on the Panthers who hold the second seed in the east.
After Tuesday’s tilt with Alexander Ovechkin and company, the Black and Gold will try to enjoy life on the road as they play their next five games in five different cities including a stretch where they travel to New Jersey then to Ottawa in back-to-back nights to only travel back to New York to face the Rangers two days later. It is a crucial time for the B’s as they are chasing three of the teams in the standings while the Senators sit just two points back.
Another angle to look at is the return of Brad Marchand whose services will be back in action on January 9th after serving his three game suspension against the Senators. There was no love lost between these two teams as the game got out of hand quickly turning into a free-for-all with seconds remaining at TD Garden back on December 29th in a 7-3 B’s victory.
The Black and Gold desperately need a play-maker back in their lineup and with David Krejci still nursing his upper-body injury and David Pastrnak assigned to Providence, January 9th cannot come soon enough. Marchand’s presence was definitely missed on New Year’s Day against the Habs.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was ready to turn the page directly following the 5-1 loss to the Habs at Gillette Stadium. Rask hopes the rest of the team follows.
“We’ll look at some game tape and try to move on,” Rask said. “I think the next game is going to be Washington (Capitals), definitely not going to get any easier. So tighten up a little bit and move on…yeah.”
Patrice Bergeron is ready to follow suit and move on as well reiterating that it’s their job to earn two points each game.
“You have to,” Bergeron said. “I mean, I guess the bottom line is it’s a two-point game. It’s a regular season game and that’s all you have to do it to, you know, we’ve lost some games this year where we didn’t play our best and it’s disappointing tonight [Friday] on a big stage like the Winter Classic to not show up like that, but at the same time you have to put it behind you and move forward. We’re playing some big teams coming up and it’s huge points for us.”
Veteran Dennis Seidenberg understands how important it is to turn their focus to the Capitals and get back to their style of play.
“Very important,” Seidenberg said. “You can’t dwell on the loss too long, you play the second day. So maybe it’s a good thing that we play a good team next and get back on our horse and hopefully win the next one.”
The B’s hold a 3-3-1 record against their next six opponents. If they want to gain ground on the teams ahead of them, they will need to play better than .500 hockey. It will be interesting to see how the team responds after their lackluster performance on one of the biggest stages and with a three-day layoff.