(Boston) After the Bruins’ morning practice on Thursday, Jim Montgomery made some revealing remarks about the identity he lends to his team. A reporter asked him about Garnet Hathaway, a tough fourth-line forward the Bruins acquired last month.

“It’s heavy. He is nasty. He’s a Bruin,” the Montrealer told reporters at the team’s suburban training facility.

No, the Bruins are no longer the intimidating team of 10 years ago, the team where Milan Lucic policed ​​the talented players, where the intimidating Zdeno Chara controlled the traffic in net, where Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell pounded anything that moved.

Nevertheless, they are still able to hold their own when the game gets tough, and they perform in front of an audience that roars at the shows of force. But if the Bruins defeated the Canadian 4-2 on Thursday, it’s not because they physically crushed him; it is mostly because they took advantage of their chances to score.

“They have a very good core, very talented, and they will make you pay for your mistakes, admitted Martin St-Louis, after the meeting. Me, what I liked is that we made chances against a very well organized team. »

From Patrice Bergeron to David Pastrnak, passing by Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, the very reliable Hampus Lindholm and even Jake DeBrusk, who hatches this season, the Bruins have talent coming out of their ears.

But the series are approaching and the intensity will increase. When Marchand pounced on Rem Pitlick, who had just checked Bergeron, the message was clear: the Bruins are ready for war. Ditto when Jake Evans snowed goaltender Jeremy Swayman.

Some will deplore the intensity of Marchand’s reaction; Still, his successes speak for themselves, and in a poll released this week by the Players Association, his peers voted for him as the toughest player to play against, but who they’d like have on their team.

The Habs players also showed solidarity at times. During the aforementioned streak between Evans and Swayman, David Savard shook Matt Grzelcyk like he was a rag doll.

“I know where my team is. I am very aware of that. Me, I saw warriors, a warrior attitude even if we know that we will miss the playoffs, added head coach Martin St-Louis. This is encouraging to see. It is this mentality that will help us grow this season. »

However, there were times when the responses were more timid, for example when McAvoy hit Evans hard at the very end of the second period.

The Montrealers, however, were deprived of two elements that could have played a central role in such a match: Arber Xhekaj and Josh Anderson. We already knew the first lost for the season, and this is now the case for the second. After the game, the Canadiens announced that Anderson’s season is over with a sprained ankle.

Despite the defeat, the team also has nothing to be ashamed of. They did, after all, stay one goal clear of the NHL’s best team until the 53rd minute. The Canadian also, for the first time in 13 games, shot more often than the opponent. This is why St-Louis showed a satisfied air in a press briefing.

“We played really well. It’s one of our best games of the year. It was fun to watch, from the bench, anyway. I’m really proud of the group. We’re not just there physically, we’re there mentally. We are connected. This is where you grow as a team. All good teams are like that. »

Rust is clearly not a problem despite being away for a month. He scored in a second game in a row, got an assist on Nick Suzuki’s goal, and could have collected two or three more as he distributed the puck with ease.

The Bruins had five quality chances against him at 5-5, and scored three times. His funny decision-making led to Jake DeBrusk’s goal.

This is a figure that represents well the evening of work of David Pastrnak. Two points, a record of 2 and a usage time of 22 min 22 s The story does not say if he listened to the album From them in the car on his way home.

How many coaches can afford to simply leave out a defender who has a differential of 39? That’s what Jim Montgomery did on Thursday, sending Brandon Carlo into the stands. Since the acquisition of Dmitry Orlov from the Capitals last month, the Bruins head coach has indeed introduced a rotation on the blue line, in order to allow Jakub Zboril to play games. The kind of rotation that a virtually assured No. 1 NHL team can afford. In turn, veterans Orlov, Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton are cut. Once in the playoffs, Zboril will resume his role as a reserve, but he will not arrive cold if ever a Bruins defenseman is injured. Zboril was playing only his 17th game of the season on Thursday, and a 4th in 2023. He distinguished himself by setting up the first goal for his team and bullying Michael Pezzetta behind the play in the second period. If Zboril’s name is familiar to you, it’s because he was one of the Bruins’ three first-round picks in the rich 2015 draft, an aberration that colleague Mathias Brunet likes to remind us of on occasion!

The Canadian has been struggling shorthanded lately, with a return of 47% (!) in the previous seven games. The return of Jake Evans coincided with a much better performance from those units on Thursday. In 8:36 of play with the man advantage, the Bruins were limited to just two shots and no goals. Evans contributed to the effort by clocking 2:52 in this phase of the game. The duo of Kirby Dach and Alex Belzile, who were deployed a few times, also had some great moments.

For his part, David Pastrnak set a personal mark by scoring his 49th goal of the season. And if he hasn’t reached the magic number of 50, it’s not for lack of trying. His faithful sidekick Brad Marchand notably deprived himself of a certain goal at the very end to attempt an impossible pass towards the Czech, in the last seconds of the match, when the Canadian had removed Jake Allen. Pastrnak had a strong game, which he finished with two points. Denis Gurianov and Rem Pitlick in particular looked very bad in front of him – we still wonder how Pitlick could have abandoned him to leave him alone in front of Allen. Either way, the 100-point mark is within reach for Pastrnak, a number he’s never reached in a season. His all-Czech trio with David Krejci and Pavel Zacha is a great find from Jim Montgomery.