For two periods the Canadiens had complete ownership of the Boston Bruins in their own building. They had run up a 2-0 lead and were making the Bruins look downright sluggish by comparison.
Then the Canadiens defense took a trip to la-la land and let the Bruins in the back door.
Two monumental blunders by defensemen who up to that point were having good games kept the Bruins in the game to the final horn. . First Alexei Emelin pinched in and gave the Bruins a 2 on 1 break. Two minutes later Emelin put the puck over glass and the Bruins scored a power play goal. Fortunately before Ryan Spooner’s goal, Paul Byron scored shorthanded. Torrey Mitchell made it a 2 goal lead but then it was Nathan Beaulieu’s turn to blunder.
If Michel Therrien called out P.K. Subban for a selfish play last year against Colorado, I can only imagine how he would describe Nathan Beaulieu with two minutes left. Instead of clearing the puck deep into Bruin territory with their net empty, Beaulieu decided to go for the goal, hit a Bruin checker and created a two-on-one that led to a penalty to Shea Weber. At the end of the game the Bruins were six attackers against three and it was Carey Price who had to put the win away.
Leave it to the psychologists. I can’t explain it.
The Canadiens have now won nine straight games at TD Garden. Bruins were touted to have improved their team speed in the off-season. Maybe so, but the Canadiens again made them look slow by comparison. For all of the thrashing about in the third period, the work ethic remained. Through the first 15 minutes of the period the Canadiens system had allowed only three Bruins shots on goal. They scored twice on the three shots. Even with the 6-on-3 and the end of the game, the third period total for the Bruins was 6 shots. Credit, where credit is due.
POKING THE BEAR
Brendan Gallagher was the game’s first star. His goal early in the second period got the Canadiens started. Nobody seems to dive the Bruins to distraction like Gallagher. They do their best to manhandle him and he keeps coming back. He has now played in 18 career games against the Bruins and has 19 points including 5 goals. Outside of Gallagher, the Galchenyuk line was fairly quiet. But Gallagher is all they needed.
Through their first five games the Canadiens have shown they’re not a one-trick pony. They have scored a total of 20 goals which averages to four per game. But the scoring has come from every corner of the lineup. Two of the four against the Bruins were scored by fourth liners Philip Danault and Torrey Mitchell. Third liner Paul Byron also scored along with Gallagher. Mitchell was given the game second star. He finished the night at plus-3. I thought Byron could have been mentioned as well.
WAITING FOR THE BREAKOUT
I’m sorry if this is sounding a broken record but one of these nights Alexander Radulov is going to fill the net. That pass he gave Danault for the Canadiens second goal was perfect. He airmailed it but it landed flat and right on the tape. All Danault had to do was shoot it.
A sign of the high regard Michel Therrien has for his 21 year old rookie Artturi Lehkonen, he assigned him to check Brad Marchand who went into the game as the league scoring leader. Lehkonen hounded Marchand to the point where he had only two shots on goal, his only shot attempts in the game. I’d like to see Therrien give Lehkonen a shot on the power play, something that was, at 0-for-6, less than dazzling again.
….Alexei Emelin seems to save up for games against the Bruins. Forgetting his third period blunder, he was very good. He led both teams with six hits. Even got into a fight with former teammate Dominic Moore after Moore cheapshoted him in the second period.
….I guess Greg Pateryn will alternate between the press box and the lineup as long as the decision on Mikhail Sergachev remains pending. Pateryn is a very capable NHL defenseman and, all things equal, should be playing every night. He led the Canadiens with four blocked shots.
….No need even mention Shea Weber‘s contribution to this game. An assist and another plus-2 night. Five points in five games now. He is now plus-8 on the season; plus-5 the last two games.
The Canadiens come home to start a tough 4-games-in-6-nights week when they host Philadelphia. They’ll play the Islanders in Brooklyn followed by games Tampa Bay and Toronto to close out the week Thursday and Saturday. The Habs are now 4-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 20-8.