Martin St. Louis' tenure with the Montreal Canadiens began Thursday with a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, but the Hall of Famer has bigger goals in mind.

Canadiens forward Josh Anderson said after the loss that the interim head coach "wants to build a winning culture" as he takes over the NHL's last-place club.

"He came in full of energy, it looked like he wanted to lace them up, so it was pretty exciting for all of us," Canadiens forward Josh Anderson said. "And you could see a couple of jaws drop with Marty, the way he talks and presents himself and the way he wants to work with the players and the organization, and he wants to build a winning culture. I'm not going to get into the gist of it, you know, what he said in detail, but it was a very good speech to the players."

The loss came despite the Canadiens outshooting Washington 44-22 as the team attempted to bounce back from a 7-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils Tuesday, which led to Dominique Ducharme’s firing on Wednesday.

“I think a fire was just lit right under our rear ends and everybody was ready to go tonight,” Anderson added. “We needed to react from what happened yesterday with [Ducharme's] firing and what happened in the New Jersey game.”

While the result wasn't what he had hoped for, St. Louis said he saw positive signs from the Canadiens in his first game behind the bench.

"It was amazing," St. Louis said. "I just love how we fought and I just felt we kept getting better as the game went [on], and that was fun to see. … We didn't cheat, you know, we just stayed the course, and I really feel the only thing we didn't do tonight was win."

The Canadiens will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and be back on the ice again Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.