BOSTON -- And then they were down two.
The Boston Bruins find themselves in a desperate situation after losing Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at TD Garden. It's almost inconceivable that the Bruins, the Northeast Division champions, are heading to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 already with a 2-0 series deficit.
Give the Canadiens credit, they are playing good hockey at the right time and did a terrific job winning a pair of road games to take command of this series.
Boston, however, did not make any improvements and were clearly pressing more in Game 2 than they were during a 2-0 loss in Game 1 on Thursday. Execution was nonexistent in all areas for the Bruins, and it didn't help matters much that they were without captain Zdeno Chara.
The veteran defenseman was hospitalized on Friday with what the team is calling dehydration, but Chara was able to participate in the pregame warm-up before the decision was made to scratch him due to the sweats and dizziness.
"There was no way in the world that we could have used him tonight," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "Absolutely no way. It's unfortunate. We missed him. Certainly he did the best he could to even try. To be honest, it wasn't even close."
Without Chara, the Bruins struggled defensively and goaltender Tim Thomas gave up a pair of goals off rebounds.
"Every turnover we made, they put it in the net," said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. "We have to regroup and we will. We're not going to quit as a team. We believe in each other. The coaching staff will make some adjustments, and we've got to go on the road and do the same thing that they did to us.
"We're not going to quit, and we'll be ready on Monday."
Should Julien make drastic changes? Maybe it's time to switch up the goaltenders. Rookie Tyler Seguin, who has been a healthy scratch the first two games, could be inserted into the lineup in hopes of some sort of youthful spark.
When asked what he's thought of the play of Thomas, a top Vezina Trophy candidate this season, Julien wasn't about to single out his goaltender's play.
"I've said it all along in the playoffs, we're going to talk about our team," he said. "We're certainly not going to talk about individuals in any negative way. If there's something that has to be dealt with, it will be dealt with internally. I think it's important for us to do those things in the playoffs, and right now is not the time to jump all over anybody. Tim has been a great goaltender for us all year and we expect him to continue to be that for us in the playoffs."
Tomas has a 7-5 record in 12 career playoff games against the Canadiens, including a 10-14-4 career regular-season mark. He was 2-1-1 versus Montreal this season, and was 0-1-1 at the Bell Centre. Bruins backup Tuukka Rask was 0-2-0 in two games against Montreal and has a 1-5-1 career record against them.
Julien was then asked about the possibility of Seguin playing Game 3 on Monday.
"We'll see," Julien said. "We'll see about that."
Things won't get any easier for the Bruins now that the series shifts to Montreal.
With the exception of a preseason game on Sept. 22, Boston did not win a game at the Bell Centre all season. But the Bruins were 24-12-5 on the road and they know they need to play a perfect road game in order to get back into this series.
"We're probably one of the top teams in the league on the road and it might be a good thing to get there and simplify things," Recchi said. "We need to get more composed than we are right now. We'll be fine as long as we regroup here and embrace it."
Even though the Canadiens are in control, they're not about to put it in cruise control just because they'll be back on home ice.
"It's the playoffs. In a series, the longer they go on, the tougher it gets," said Montreal coach Jacques Martin. "You have to keep getting better. Boston is going to come to Montreal and we are going to see a better performance from them. We have to make sure we are prepared to elevate our game."
The pressure is no doubt on the Bruins. The pressure is certainly on Julien. Following Saturday's loss, the team announced that the Bruins would not practice on Sunday before traveling to Montreal.
"There is a lot to be talked about over the next couple of days," Recchi said. "We'll get ready for them and we'll be ready for Monday. This team doesn't quit in here. We've got a good group of guys in here who are not going to quit."
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.