BOSTON — The Bruins remain atop the Eastern Conference standings with 74 points on the season entering Thursday night’s battle with the Seattle Kraken.

That does not mean that Boston has avoided rough patches this season.

The Bruins take the ice on Thursday after losing three of their previous four games, with the lone victory coming over the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks. As Boston has battled inconsistencies, teams such as the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers have closed the distance at the top of the conference.

Rather than worrying about the struggles, head coach Jim Montgomery sees a chance for his team to embrace a challenge.

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“We do recognize that it’s actually a good thing that the standings are tight,” Montgomery told reporters Thursday morning, per team-provided video. “It allows you to use it as motivation. It also allows you to fight through some struggle and battle for something. It’s healthy.”

Montgomery referenced a stretch earlier this season where the Bruins lost four straight in December before rattling off four consecutives victories as the calendar flipped to 2024. Given the recent adversity, Montgomery believes his group can respond in a similar way.

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“I think it’s a healthy thing for us,” Montgomery added. “We went through it in December and I think we came out a better team. Hopefully, we’re getting out of it right now.”

The Bruins and Kraken battle at TD Garden with puck drop at 7 p.m. ET. You can catch the game on NESN.

Featured image via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images