It could have been a signature win.
Instead, last night's game in Montreal turned into another loss for a team that continues find new ways to frustrate its fans.
"Right now, we're finding ways to lose," said Claude Julien to the assembled media.
Overall, the Bruins were sharp: checking was tight, lanes were closed, help was given, breakouts were clean. In the end, however, it was small mistakes and missed opportunities that pushed this game in Montreal's direction.
The Bruins left two power plays on the board in the first period alone. Torey Krug whiffed on a wide-open net in the second. David Krejci couldn't get the puck over a sprawled-out Mike Condon. Jonas Gustavsson couldn't handle a toss on goal on Lars Eller's game-tying goal.
For a team that's struggling to build confidence and string good efforts together, chances can't be fumbled, mistakes can't be made.
Oddly enough for a Bruins-Canadiens game in la belle province, it was the Habs who looked out of sorts early. The Canadiens were the ones taking undisciplined penalties. The Bruins were the ones drawing the calls.
However, in the end, the Bruins reverted to their old ways, shooting themselves in the foot against their archrivals.
This time, it was David Krejci channeling his inner Milan Lucic and losing his cool. Frustrated after a battle in his defensive zone, Krejci gave Tomas Plekanec a shove in the back away from the puck, right in front of the benches. David Desharnais would score on the ensuing power play, giving the Habs the win.
It can be argued that the call against Krejci was an iffy one, given the situation. However, Krejci needs to be smarter. You can't let frustration get the better of you in a situation like that, especially given the gravity of the game.
"Guys battle hard and I do something like that. It was stupid and it cost us the game," said Krejci afterwards. "I feel bad for letting my teammates and coaches down."
On a positive note, Frank Vatrano impressed in his first-career NHL game. The kid looked creative, willing to shoot and was fearless with the puck. He took more than one hit to make a play, something that will endear him to his coaches.
However, it's tough to truly take positives out of last night's game. It's another frustrating note in what's becoming an increasingly frustrating season.
The Bruins aren't good enough to pass up scoring chances or give away goals.
Unless they get things together quickly, a Saturday night game in Montreal may be the closest they come to playing in a playoff atmosphere this season.
The Bruins are back at it tonight in Brooklyn against the Islanders.