The Canadiens used a dominant second period to steamroller the Boston Bruins 4-2 Saturday night at TD Garden. Lars Eller scored back to back goals in the middle period including the eventual game winner. David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec completed the scoring. The Plekanec goal came into the empty net for the 500th point of his career. Alex Galchenyuk had three assists and Alexander Semin recorded two. For the Bruins the goalscorers were Matt Belesky and Patrice Bergeron. The Canadiens outshot the Bruins 38-21. The announced three stars in Boston were Eller, Galchenyuk and Carey Price.
Adding It Up –
What Rivalry? – Try as they might, the Bruins can’t even catch a cold against the Canadiens. This was not only the 7th straight regular season win over Boston but eleven of the last 12. Granted, the Bruins are nowhere near the Stanley Cup contenders they were three years ago, but the Canadiens speed seems to have destroyed their self confidence. How else to explain a second period in which the Canadiens outshot the Bruins 18-7 on their home ice.
Bailing Him Out – P.K. Subban owes Carey Price a steak dinner. P.K. had a really rough first period. He lost coughed up the puck to David Pasternak midway through the period and Price had to make three terrific scrambling saves. And then late in the period Brad Marchand checked Subban and again Price had to come up big. Subban was better in the second and third periods.
Emerging Force – Alex Galchenyuk had a hand all three of the goals that gave the Canadiens their commanding 3-0 lead. Three assists against the Bruins to go with the game winning goal in Toronto. On this night he didn’t have to do it all by himself, which was the case in Toronto.
Proving Ground -Alexander Semin demonstrated the kind of skills that made him a 40 goal scorer at one time. Unlike Toronto, he was very much engaged in this game. Nobody can teach or practice that touch pass he sent to Eller for his first goal of the game. He drew the second assist on Eller’s second goal.
Plekanec – We’ve been highlighting the play of Tomas Plekanec since early in training camp. He and his line was very good in Toronto Wednesday and nothing changed in this game. His 500th career point came on an empty net goal, but his body of work through the first 59 minutes of the game was once again impeccable. He won all nine of his first period faceoffs, including 5-0 against Patrice
Bergeron. Plekanec finished at 67% winning 16 of 24. More than that, he put in just over 20 minutes and with Pacioretty and Gallagher, his line piled up another ten shots on goal.
…. More than a few, myself included, wondered what was in Marc Bergevin’s head when he traded Jiri Sekac for Devante Smith-Pelly. The player Montreal got in return seemed out of shape and a step behind the play through the remainder of the season. Give Smith-Pelly credit, he obviously put in a lot of hard work during the off season. With weight loss and better conditioning, his skating has improved and in the season’s first two games he’s given Bergevin and the coaching staff everything they hoped he would.
….There could be two separate suspensions come out of this game. The match penalty that Torrey Mitchell received for the retaliatory slewfoot in the final minute is guaranteed to earn him at least one game. (Plekanec was suspended two games for a 2009 slewfoot in Calgary)
….However, after the lack of supplementary discipline following the Komarov check on Subban on Wednesday night in Toronto, who knows what Player Safety is going to say about the 20 foot run Ryan Spooner took at Brian Flynn. He also got which also earned a game misconduct.
….The Canadiens power play was once again unbelievably bad. The Canadiens first goal came 11 seconds into a power play. After that, nada. They had almost 11 more minutes of 5-on-4 and 1:05 of 5-on-3 and the only word to describe their effort was “inept”. Craig Ramsay has a lot of work ahead of him to sort out that mess.
The Numbers – Time On Ice – Subban (28:22); Shots on Goal – Pacioretty (5); Eller (4). Shots Attempted – Eller (8). Hits – Markov; Smith-Pelly; Mitchell (2). Blocked Shots -4 players (2) Team Face-Offs 55% (37/30) – Plekanec 67% (16/8) Desharnais 100% (4/0).
Moving On – The Canadiens moved right on to Ottawa following the game. They’ll play the Senators Sunday night. It had already been announced that rookie goaltender Mike Condon would make his NHL debut in that game. With Mitchell likely to be suspended, we’ll probably see Paul Byron make his Canadiens debut on the fourth line with Brian Flynn and Smith-Pelly.