The Canadiens scored two unanswered goals in the third period to beat the Bruins 3-1 in Boston Thursday night. The Canadiens seemed to come out of a number of slumps in the game. They scored 2 power play goals against the number one penalty killing team in the NHL. Scott Gomez scored his first goal in 13 games. Brian Gionta after a long drought scored game his second goal and third point in the last three games. And P.K. Subban finally scored for the first time in an NHL regular season game.
Carey Price followed up his shutout win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday by allowing one goal in a pressure intradivisional road game. Going back to last year, Price has now been the winning goaltender in four straight games against Boston giving up a total of four goals on 140 shots for a 1.00GAA and a .971 save%. The Canadiens come home to play Carolina Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The win allowed the Canadiens to pull four points ahead of the second place Bruins in the Northeast division. (Video Highlights Below)
How It Went
The First Period
Early Pressure – The Bruins, who had played in Pittsburgh 24 hours earlier, got the early jump on the Canadiens. At 2:00 Mark Recchi took advantage of a soft check in the corner by Andrei Kostitsyn to put the puck in front for Tyler Seguin, forcing Price to make a big save.
Worst Against the Best – Seguin was whistled for tripping Travis Moen at 5:00. That put the number one penalty killing unit in the league (90.0%) against the worst power play (7.9%). Nineteen seconds into the power play Plekanec won a faceoff in the Bruins end, to Cammalleri and then Markov, who with his perfect timing set up P.K. Subban for a one-timer from 35 feet. 1-0 Canadiens. Subban’s first NHL regular season goal.
The Time of his Life – Four minutes later Subban checked the puck away while on his knees inside the Bruins blueline, got up, circled back through traffic and cut across the blueline, went deep into the corner before clearing the puck in front. The play didn’t produce anything except a lot of oo’s and ah’s. At one point the Canadiens took five straight shots.
Tieing It Up – Thanks to Milan Lucic who beat Markov along the boards, circled behind the net with three defenders giving chase. Lucic gave it across to Zdeno Chara who was wide open on the left side. Price had no chance on the 30 footer. 1-1 tie at 15:49.
P.K.-One More Time – A minute and a half after the Chara goal, Subban again put on a show of controling the puck before setting up Tom Pyatt for a shot Tuukka Rask had to be quick to stop. End of the first period 1-1 tie. Shots on goal were 16-13 for the Canadiens.
The Second Period
Plongeon – The Bruins had a chance to test the Canadiens power play for a second time in the game when Maxim Lapierre was penalized for diving at 1:18 of the second period. Price’s best sequence of the night. An early save on Mark Recchi and then as the penalty expired three saves on Lucic, Bergeron and then Lucic again before Price could cover the puck.
Save of the Night – At 3:44 Gregory Campbell of the Bruins let a hard 35 foot snap shot go that Price got his glove on but couldn’t hold with traffic in front. Price wheeled and batted the puck out of midair into the corner.
Don’t Make Him Mad – In the 14th minute, Lars Eller went face to face with Zdeno Chara. Give Eller credit for not backing down, which made Chara mad. He proceeded to wreak havoc inside the Canadiens end, leading to two scoring chances on Price.
No Doubt About it – A minute later, Benoit Pouliot caught the Bruins defence backing up and hit their blueline with speed. He fired the puck in front for Halpern who, while attempting to go skate to stick on the play kicked it into the net. The goal was disallowed. 1-1 after two periods. In the second Boston outshot the Canadiens 13-10.
The Third Period
Back on the Power Play – Chara picked up a penalty at 19:52 of the second period for interfering with Pouliot in front of the Boston net. The Canadiens went to work quickly in the first minute of the third period. Two quick passes, Plekanec to Cammalleri to Gionta who scored from one-knee a la Cammalleri. 2-1 Canadiens. The Canadiens finished 2 for 5 on the power play and now they’re 28th overall in the league.
One more from Subban – P.K. led both teams with five shots on goal. His last blast was a high shot off the facemask of Rask at 4:11.
Breathing Room – The Gomez/Kostitsyn/Lapierre line played 16 pretty good even-strength shifts on the night. Midway through the third period on their 11th shift, Gomez took advantage of a neutral zone turnover. He brought it over the line and fed Andrei Kostitsyn. Rask blocked Kostitsyn’s shot but the rebound came right to Gomez who put in a backhand to make it 3-1.
No Bruins Comeback – With the score 3-1 the Canadiens nailed it down by spending the next nine minutes in the Boston zone. They took eight straight shots on Rask before the Bruins, with the goaltender out managed a couple of inconsequential shots in the final minute. Final Score Montreal-3 Boston-1. Total shots on goals Montreal-41 Boston-35.
Summing It Up – A good win against a team that had no legs left in the final ten minutes of the game after playing the night before in Pittsburgh. Even if the Bruins had been fresh they would have had their hands full in this game. The three stars as judged in Boston were Price, Cammalleri and Chara. Subban had an outstanding game. So did the defence pairing of Hamrlik and Spacek. You might thrown in Pouliot and Eller in lesser roles. Carey Price continues to be the biggest story of the Canadiens early season. He has given up one goal in back to back games against two of the NHL’s hottest teams. In two games his goals-against average has gone down from 2.45 to 2.19 and his save percentage up from .911 to .923. He is tied for the league lead in starts (15); tied for second in wins (9) and among players with 10 or more starts he is 4th in GAA and save %, This home/away imbalance is interesting. The Canadiens are now 6-2-0 on the road this season. They’ll go into Saturday night’s game against Carolina with a 4-3-1 home record. Boston is similar – 6-1-0 on the road – 2-3-1 at home. Canadiens are first in the Northeast, four points ahead of the Bruins, 3rd in the Eastern Conference and 5th in the league overall.
(The Game Video Highlights)
The Goalscorers – Montreal – Subban (1st) PPG (Markov-Cammalleri); Gionta (3rd) PPG (Cammalleri-Plekanec); Gomez (2nd) (Kostitsyn-Hamrlik) Boston – Chara (4th) (Lucic-Bergeron)
Shots on Goal – Montreal 16-10-15 = 41 Boston 13-13-9 = 35
Three Stars (In Boston) First – Carey Price (stopped 34 of 35 shots) Second-Michael Cammalleri (two assists – 5 shots on goal); Third – Zdeno Chara (1 goal-3 shots)