FINALLY!! The Bruins knocked off the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Bell Centre by a score of 3-1. Before this matchup, Montreal had won seven in a row in the series with the Bruins previous win coming all the way back in March 2014, more than 20 months ago. The B’s used a big time third period to change momentum and take a game from the Atlantic Division leader Montreal Canadiens.
All in all, it was a great team win for Boston. Going into Montreal is never easy for any team, especially for the Bruins. For the most part, the Bruins didn’t let their emotions get the better of them in this matchup.
The first period was like walking through mud. Whistle after whistle stopped action and made the game almost unbearable. The Habs had the momentum for much of the period, and outshot the Bruins 14-7 in the first period. The Bruins just couldn’t keep the Canadiens out of their defensive zone, which led to shot after shot from Montreal. As has been the story all season, the Bruins defensemen couldn’t keep opposing players from getting to the crease and screening Tuukka Rask. Even when the Bruins got the puck on their sticks, they couldn’t string together any good zone time, as the Habs were flying all across the ice, showing their elite team speed.
Montreal got the scoring going in the first at the 8:49 mark. The goal was basically bs, as it was deflected from behind the goal line over the net and into a pair of players. The puck deflected off Paul Byron, who was in a tussle with Zach Trotman. The play was reviewed but it was still ruled a good goal. Per usual, Brad Marchand and PK Subban got into it. In the late stages of the period, they were both sent off for coincidental minors, each for Slashing.
In second period was even more uneventful than the first. No goals were scored but there were three penalty calls. The only thing worth noting was that David Krejci, who leads the Bruins in points, was knocked out of the game following a blow to the head. He would later return. No power play goals were scored and the Bruins power play didn’t get anything going the entire night. The Bruins were outshot once again 12-7, but Tuukka Rask was up to the task.
Tonight was hands down the best Rask has ever looked against Montreal, even counting his lone shutout against Montreal. Coming into tonight, Tuukka was 3-14-3 with a 90% save percentage and a goals against average of 2.74.
When the third period started, David Krejci was still not to be seen on the bench. With the Bruins needing a spark, Dennis Seidenberg took a tripping call that could have been called a penalty shot. But that penalty led to the game tying goal from Loui Eriksson on the penalty kill. A puck popped up into the air and Zdeno Chara batted it ahead to a streaking Loui, who put it between the pads of goalie Mike Condon.
Just 42 seconds later, the Bruins put another in the net. This goal was off the stick of Landon Ferraro, who buried it for his third of the year. At this moment, the Bruins had all the momentum and were finally getting zone time and shutting down the Montreal attack.
With still over 10 minutes left to play following the Ferraro goal, the B’s needed an insurance goal. And who else to get it but Patrice Bergeron. Bergy took a feed from Brad Marchand from behind the net and showed off a nifty backhand-forehand move and slid it past Condon. The Bruins had to kill one final power play and a six on five advantage after Montreal pulled their goalie.
The Bruins held off the late flurry for the 3-1 win. The win moves the Bruins to 15-9-3. Tuukka Rask was really the story of the game, making 32 saves and allowing one flukey goal. The loss of David Krejci ironically gave the Bruins a boost after head coach Claude Julien had to shuffle up the lines. The two goals in 42 seconds sucked the air of the Belle Centre and really but the Bruins in control of the whole game. Patrice Bergeron played well, obviously, in the win including the insurance goal.
This win is a huge confidence booster for Boston. Finally beating your arch rival after not doing it for almost two years has to lead to some big time momentum coming down the end of the 2015 side of the season. The Bruins get two easy games against Edmonton and Florida, before facing off in a home and home series against the always dangerous Pittsburgh Penguins. The B’s have earned at least one point in nine out of their last 10. The Bruins have been one of the NHL’s best teams for the last three weeks, now let’s see if they can keep it going.