The Canadiens broke out of a 2-2 tie with three straight goals against Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask and went on to beat the Bruins 6-4 in their home opener Thursday night at the Bell Centre. With the win, the Canadiens are now 4-1-0 to start their season. Brendan Gallagher scored twice and added an assist to lead the Habs. P.A. Parenteau also scored twice; the second goal into an empty net. Max Pacioretty and Jiri Sekac added the others. For Boston, who had 1-0 and 3-2 leads in the game, it was Zdeno Chara, Carl Soderberg, Loui Ericsson and Simon Gagne. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens 29-26. The three stars were Gallagher, Pacioretty and David Desharnais.
Adding It Up –
Can’t Get Started – For the fifth consecutive game the Canadiens were slow off the schneid. The Bruins took seven of the game’s first eight shots on goal and took a 1-0 lead on a tip-in power play goal by Zdeno Chara.
About Time – Dennis Seidenberg went off for holding a stick at 11.11 and 22 seconds later Max Pacioretty tied the game. 67:37 of power play time between goals with the man advantage dating back to last March. The good news was not the way the goal was scored but the fact that both Pacioretty, who scored it, and Desharnais were at the crease, something sorely missing since the seasons started.
Momentum Shift – The Bruins had a 13-7 shots on goal advantage in the first period and outchanced the Canadiens 7-3. The rest of the game, went pretty much the Canadiens way territorially. Lars Eller had a tiebreaking goal taken away after he literally threw the puck past Rask in the second period’s 8th minute but then Gallagher scored his first goal twenty seconds later and the Canadiens had their first lead of the game.
The Puck Follows Him – I have no idea what they say privately about Brendan Gallagher in the Bruins’ dressing but I am sure the commentary is laced with profanity. He has had a habit in the past of driving the Bruin defense, especially Zdeno Chara, up the wall. Gallagher was the best part of the Canadiens best line. His first two-goal game in the NHL. Chara was on the ice for both of them, and wound up minus-three for the night. His second goal turned out to be the game winner.
All Speed – It wasn’t just Gallagher. The Desharnais line, skating as they were in this game, simply have too much speed for the Bruins defense to handle. The line produced ten shots on goal, seven scoring chances and a total of eight points. Gallagher and Desharnais with three points each; Pacioretty with two.
The Czech Kid – It is going to be fun to watch Jiri Sekac through his first year in the NHL. The things that stand out are his ability to see the ice, his hands and the way he handles both ends of the ice. And he got his first goal with his parents in from Kladno to watch. Jarred Tinordi, who is still looking for his first NHL goal, dove into the Boston net to get the puck for him.
Past Due – P.A. Parenteau scored two goals. After moving from line-to-line through the first four games, Parenteau seems to have found a home on the right side of the Plekanec line. Hard to ignore his game-leading five shots on goal. For all of the instability, Parenteau starts his Canadiens career with five points in five games.
On the Draw – It’s one of those aspects of the game that tends to get lost in the shuffle. This game featured two of the best faceoff men in the business; Manny Malhotra taking defensive zone faceoffs for the Canadiens; Patrice Bergeron for the Bruins. For two periods it looked like a clear win for Bergeron but in the third period Malhotra, with the game mostly on the line, was six of nine including two key wins in the minutes after Simon Gagne made it a 1-goal game with just over five minutes left.
Also Worth Mentioning – ….Jarred Tinordi continues to show a newfound confidence and Michel Therrien rewarded him and his defense partner Mike Weaver with over 16 minutes in ice time. ….. Galchenyuk and Plekanec continue to produce. Another two points for Plekanec. One of these nights Galchenyuk is going to fill the net. …..Also catching my eye was the play of Travis Moen who used his size well against the Bruins. ….Carey Price hasn’t found the form that made him one of the league’s best last season. Too many fat rebounds.
Moving On – The Canadiens are home for the next ten days. Lots of practice time between the three remaining home games and there are some areas that clearly need some work. Next up – The Colorado Avalanche at the Bell Centre Saturday night.