GLENDALE, Ariz. - There was a sense of relief in the Bruins' visiting team locker room on Saturday night in Arizona.
Finally getting a win on an 0-3 road trip can do that. Earning a 5-2 win over the Coyotes with a 60-minute effort makes it even better, especially after finally putting their words into action.
"Sometimes you come in and you say all these things, and you want to put it on the ice and sometimes it just doesn't work," said Brad Marchand, who scored twice in the much-needed victory. "So it was great that the guys took it upon themselves to go out and play the way we had to.
"You could see it in our game, we played a really good game, a full 60 minutes, so you've got to give the guys credit, they stepped up and answered the bell."
That response should have been expected with this team, but it was still promising for Head Coach Claude Julien to see it show.
"We had lost three in a row, so I thought that there were two desperate teams here, and somebody had to be hungrier than the other," said Julien. "And it was nice to see that it was us."
"We didn't want to go back home having not won a game here, and I thought we played well enough on this trip that somewhere along the way, we should come out with a win."
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Bruins' pride took a hit the last time they were on the ice.
"It is a shot - to your pride and your character," Chris Kelly said after having a day to digest the 7-4 loss in San Jose. "We have a lot of guys with a lot of character and a lot of pride in this room, and it definitely took a shot."
That nature of that defeat and three straight losses on a road trip can do that.
The Black and Gold have a chance to redeem themselves in Game No. 28, when they cap off the trip against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night (8:00 p.m. ET/6:00 local).
"It's about doing our jobs, doing it right - don’t be the weak link," said Head Coach Claude Julien, of the message to his club. "And not just as players, sometimes as lines. It hasn’t been good enough."
"A proud team gets tired of losing, and when it gets tired of losing, it does something about it. So this is, again, what we need to show tonight."
The Bruins haven't lost four straight games since April 2013. Earlier on the trip, the Bruins weren't satisfied with results but could still keep their heads up with the effort put in. It's gone past that point now.
"Desperation has to kick in," Brad Marchand said Saturday morning. "It's the last game of the road trip and teams are moving ahead of us in the standings, and we don't want to be pushed out of a playoff spot, and we have to realize all those things are at stake here right now."
With a 14-12-1 record (29 points), the Bruins are fifth in the Atlantic Division. They are barely in a playoff position, hanging on to the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with Toronto (29 points, two games in hand) just above them and Florida (27 points, three games in hand) just behind.
Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET (6:00 local time) at the Gila River Arena.
"Nothing more than I think Joe Morrow deserves to be in there and I think Griff deserves to be in there," Head Coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning. "So, a young David Pastrnak — it’s not a reason for his play, more than I think it’s time for Griff to get in there, and you can’t have too many of those young players in. You need to win games with some experience as well, so you've got to balance your lineup out there."
"Bart, we expect a little bit more out of him. He plays well; some other games, you know, the same issues [that] keep coming up. So until he gets some consistency, he’s going to be inconsistent in our lineup."
GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Bruins have one game remaining on their road trip out West that saw them go 0-for-3 through California.
Saturday night's tilt against the Coyotes serves up a chance to bring an ounce of confidence back home to Boston to refocus before hosting the Chicago Blackhawks on December 11.
In preparation, the Bruins hit the ice on Friday afternoon at Gila River Arena for a lengthy practice to grind away a 7-4 loss in San Jose on Thursday night that saw them allow the most goals since January 2013.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien hadn't yet fully digested the loss.
"Now that you've had time to digest the game last night…" a reporter began, before the bench boss interjected with a slight smile and a head nod, "I'm not sure if I did, but it's a start."
The disappointment from Thursday's effort is magnified when looking at the Bruins' first two games of the trip against Anaheim and Los Angeles, in which they didn't get rewarded for their hard work.
To be heading in the right direction, and gain a 2-0 lead in San Jose, only to throw it all away defensively for the rest of the night was a massive hit to the Bruins' pride.
SAN JOSE - Scoring goals was at the top of the Bruins' list heading into Thursday night.
Letting in seven goals at the other end was not.
With a 7-4 loss to the Sharks at the SAP Center, Boston fell to 0-3 on its road trip out West, with just one game remaining against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
"We scored some goals, but the rest of our game wasn't very good," Head Coach Claude Julien said of his team that allowed a season-high seven goals.
The last time the Bruins let in seven goals came back on January 31, 2013 in Buffalo. They had let in six on two occasions this season.
Boston had a promising start in San Jose, after stringing together solid efforts in Anaheim and Los Angeles without getting rewarded.
SAN JOSE - The Bruins can still salvage their four-game road trip, and avoid being swept on the California swing.
A win on Thursday night in San Jose, followed up by another two points in Arizona would put them at .500 on the road trip after back-to-back losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles.
"That means that we played four pretty good hockey games out here and going home, that's a lot to build on," Chris Kelly said Thursday morning following the Bruins' pregame skate at the SAP Center.
"Obviously we don't want to come out here and be 0-2 to start this trip," Kelly said. "But I think we played well, I think the effort was there in the first two games and if that effort continues, things are going to turn around and we're going to start winning more hockey games."
"I think we just need to realize that although we didn't win, that's the effort we need to put worth. You've just got to stay positive and continue working at the process."
The alternate captain is inherently one of the most positive voices in the locker room.
It could be tough to to deliver the same "stick with it" message over and over again. It's even tougher for those outside the team to hear over and over again, when the results are what matter most.
From the reports Head Coach Claude Julien is getting in California, they have been skating all week and appear to still be on track.
"They’re both skating and I think Zee’s doing well, and Krech is doing well also," Julien said on Thursday morning, as his club was preparing to face the Sharks later that night at the SAP Center in San Jose.
"So that’s basically what I’m being told. Nobody’s told me they’re going to be back for this time or that time, but they’ve been skating all week back home. So, encouraging that they haven’t taken a step back."
Chara has now been out of the lineup for six weeks - and 17 games (18 after Thursday night) - after suffering the PCL tear in his left knee on October 23. His original timetable was estimated to be four to six weeks.
SAN JOSE - The Bruins haven't been scoring much these days.
That's a fact that has been driven home amidst their past 10 games, when they've scored more than two goals just once, in a 4-3 shootout win over Columbus back on November 21.
They dropped a 3-2 loss to Anaheim and 2-0 shutout in Los Angeles to begin the road trip out West, with two games against San Jose and Arizona on tap.
The goals still aren't coming. So, why not build some confidence in practice?
When the Bruins arrived to San Jose after a quick flight up the coast on Wednesday, they held an optional skate at Sharks Ice following the back-to-back. Thirteen Bruins hit the ice, including both goalies, along with the assistant coaches.
Nearly every drill was focused on scoring - odd-man situations, breakaways, shootouts - and the Bruins let out plenty of pent-up goal celebrations amidst the roughly 45-minute skate. It was an entertaining skate for a group that's been frustrated offensively.
LOS ANGELES - There are no moral victories in the NHL.
After falling to the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Tuesday night, the Bruins now have four losses in their past five games with the only win coming in overtime against Winnipeg.
They've seen strong efforts against two of the top West teams in LA and Anaheim, and the two of the top teams in the East with Pittsburgh and Montreal, go for naught.
"You never want to be in a position where you say, 'don't worry about it, it will go your way eventually,'" Torey Krug said from the STAPLES Center on Tuesday following the loss to the Kings. "So we've just got to work through it - maintain that positive attitude and work through it."
"We have a group in here that's not satisfied with the way things are going. Which, a lot of teams may say 'hey, we came in and played LA and Anaheim and had two solid games' and they're content with that, but we're not and we're going to move on to San Jose and our plan is to come out with two points."
Games against these teams are expected to be tight, and hard-fought. The defensive effort and the goaltending have been steady.
LOS ANGELES - There was much to like about the Bruins' game against the Ducks in Anaheim on Monday night.
They outworked and outbattled the West's top team for most of the night, but mistakes ending up costing them in the 3-2 loss that kicked off their four-game road trip.
The Black and Gold can take solace in how they played, while knowing that Monday night's matchup won't be any easier against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings.
Despite the Kings having the same amount of points (29) in the standings as the Bruins, they have have been dominant at the STAPLES Center. They are currently tied for the most home points in the NHL (21) and the most wins at home with 10. The Kings' 4-1 loss to Chicago on Saturday was only their third home loss this season.
It helps that Jonathan Quick is 9-1-1 in his club's last 11 home games, with an air-tight 1.34 goals-against average and .954 save percentage, and that they play a heavy game that wears down opponents so much that they've only allowed 11 goals in the third period all season.