Alex Galchenyuk scored in the fourth round of the shootout and an undermanned Canadiens edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 Monday at the Bell Centre, thus ending the Bruins 12 game winning streak. The Canadiens carried a 1-0 lead from early in the first period until a power play goal by Patrice Bergeron finally beat Peter Budaj with just over 5 minutes, remaining setting up the overtime and shootout. Alexei Emelin scored the Canadiens only goal on power play in the the first period. Shots on goal were 29-22 in favour of the Bruins. The RDS three stars were Budaj, Brian Gionta and Emelin. The hometown selection was Budaj, Tuukka Rask plus Kevan Miller for some unfathomable reason.
The win combined with Tampa’s shootout loss in Ottawa left the Canadiens tied with them in points for third in the Atlantic Division. Tampa still has a game in hand, leaving them officially in third place.
Adding It Up –
Had a Hunch – The second-guessers were out in force Monday afternoon after it was announced that Carey Price would sit this one out in favour of Peter Budaj. Aware of Budaj’s record at Boston, Michel Therrien ignored them. He was rewarded with an airtight, first star 28 save performance marred only by a double deflection power play goal with five minutes left. Budaj now has a career 5-0 record in Boston with a 1.33 goals against average and a .958 save%. Any questions?
Undermanned – On their second shift of the game Bruins defenseman piled Dale Weise into the boards prompting Travis Moen to engage Miller. When it was over, both Weise and Moen were out of the game with injuries, Moen with a suspected concussion. The Canadiens played the final 55 minutes plus the five minute overtime with ten forwards.
Making Them Pay – Miller received a penalty for crosschecking on the play that hurt Weise and Alexei Emelin’s shot from the blueline hit the stick of Chris Kelly in the high slot, deflecting past Tuukka Rask and the Canadiens had a 1-0 lead.
Frustration – When Emelin scored at 6:39 of the first period, the shots on goal were 3-0 for the Canadiens. Over the remaining 13 minutes of the first period and the first 12 minutes of the second, thanks to Budaj and some solid penalty killing, the Bruins outshot the 20-4 with nothing to show. The Boston annoyance at the Canadiens was becoming visible, discipline was fraying highlighted by the silly Johnny Boychuk roughing penalty on P.K. Subban. As a result, a lopsided territorial game was becoming an even field.
Adding to the Irritation – The Bruins came into the game with the league’s ninth ranked power play. Through their first five power plays they were able to generate only five shots on goal. They were were particularly inept during the two minutes when the Canadiens top penalty killer, Tomas Plekanec was off early in the third. No shots and the Canadiens iced the puck five times in the two minutes.
Unimpressed – Maybe all you need to know about the Canadiens attitude about the “Big Bad Bruins” was the brief little skirmish between 5’9” Brendan Gallagher and 6’9” Zdeno Chara early in the second period. After one of his trips into the Boston crease Gallagher gave Chara a little crosscheck. Chara re-acted by getting in Gallagher’s face, which didn’t seem to bother him a bit.
Cheap – The only way to describe three of the four consecutive penalties called on the Canadiens in the third period. You could argue that two of them weren’t penalties at all. The highsticking call on Francis Bouillon was well deserved however and the Bruins tied the game up when he was sitting it out.
The Shootout – Budaj has been in two Boston shootouts. In the 6-5 shootout win last March he gave up a goal on the first shooter Tyler Seguin and then stopped the next five before Brendan Gallagher scored the winner. He stopped all four in this game. If you’re counting, that’s nine straight shootout saves against the Bruins. Budaj is 5-0 in shootouts now.
“Man of the Match” – Emphasis on ‘man”. With the Canadiens reduced to ten forwards through the final 60 minutes of the game, you knew Tomas Plekanec would be called upon. And he was….a lot. 23:42 ice time including 5:52 as a penalty killer. At the end of the night, he had a surreal 37 shifts, six more than Andrei Markov who was the top defensemen.
Why Is It ….When I go into the Canadiens dressing room following a loss, players look to themselves and the way they played the game, without comment on their opponents or the refereeing. Here is a sample of the Boston room after the game. Milan Lucic on the early open ice legal hit by Emelin – “Whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he would stand up and hit me and not go after my knees. It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down.”
Also Worth Mentioning – ….It’s amazing just how much the Bruins allow P.K. Subban to get under their skin. Just on that alone he deserves some kind of honourable mention. By the way, he also took 11 shots, 3 on-goal, 6 blocked. ……Alexei Emelin drew the third star. This was his kind of game. His big moment was the open ice hip check on Lucic in the game’s second minute, one of four resounding hits on the night. And of course, he scored the goal. ….It’s fashionable to question Brian Gionta‘s value to the team, but he’s as honest a player as you’ll find, and his contribution to this win came close to that of Plekanec.
Moving On – Game three of those seven straight against their fellow Atlantic Division teams. 2-0 to start and the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night. Carey Price probably will be back in the nets, although there’s some question about his right shoulder. The larger question will be how much they’ll have in the tank after the grinder in Boston.