Take heed to what I am about to say Montreal Canadiens’ fans. It is not time to push the panic button. Yes, the team has lost 3 games in a row and back-to-back at home for the first time this season. Also, they are struggling again on the power play and to score goals in general, but fear not. If you are at all reasonable you know with all the injuries they have now (Torrey Mitchell, Devante Smith-Pelly, Brendan Gallagher, and most importantly, Carey Price) that they would not be able to continue at the torrid pace they began the season with. The good news is that with the great start they had the Habs built a big lead in the standings. And in all honesty though they have lost more games recently they have been the dominant team in some of the games (like recently against Washington). In an 82 game schedule each NHL team is going to hit some bumps.
As for last night’s tilt against the Bruins it was an example of the Canadiens’ dominating (they outshot Boston 26-14 over the first 2 periods), but not being able to score. If I was Michel Therrien I would have been worried that we carried the play so much and only had a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd. With one shot Boston could tie the game and inevitably momentum would switch sides. That is exactly what happened in the 3rd period.
Paul Byron, a guy that Montreal picked up on waivers from the Calgary Flames, scored his 4th of season midway through the 1st period. It was a fluky goal as it was deflected past Tuukka Rask by his own defenceman, Zach Trotman. Rask must have thought “Here we go again” as they guy seems to have no luck against Montreal. Montreal kept peppering the Bruins’ goalie with shots, but could not get any by him. Montreal was also keeping Boston out of their end though when needed Mike Condon was able to come up with a couple of solid saves.
Still, seriously outplaying a team and only managing a 1 goal lead is not going to cut it. One play changes everything. That play came courtesy of two of the higher profile defensemen in the game. After Dennis Seidenberg was sent to the penalty box for tripping Dale Weise Montreal went on the power play. As was the case throughout the game, Montreal controlled the puck for long periods in the Boston end, but was restricted to the outside. P.K. Subban was playing the point with Jeff Petry. Subban tried to force a pass and it was batted out of the air by Zdeno Chara right into the path of a streaking Loui Eriksson. With Petry on his back pretty much the whole way, Eriksson was able to stuff the puck five hole on Condon before crashing into the end boards.
The air seemed to go out of the balloon with that goal. Montreal was deflated and always second to the puck while Boston had some pep in their step. It took only 42 seconds for the Bruins to take a lead they would never relinquish. Another waiver player and son of former NHLer Ray Ferraro, Landon Ferrero showed he has a NHL calibre shot. He found some space alone in the slot and quickly roofed a shot past Condon.
Things went from bad to worse at the 13:42 mark of the 3rd for Montreal fans when the hated Brad Marchand hustled past a lackadaisical Alex Galchenyuk, who was benched the rest of the game, behind the Habs’ net and fed an unmarked Patrice Bergeron, who had slipped away from Alexei Emelin. Bergeron had the time to outwait Condon and deked past him to deposit the puck into the empty net. And that was all she wrote folks.
You knew that luck had to change eventually for the Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask in regards to the Montreal Canadiens. Rask had only managed 2 wins previously against Montreal and the Habs were victorious over the last 7 games against Boston. The law of averages had to kick in eventually. Thankfully (or maybe not) Montreal has a chance to erase the memory of this 3rd period collapse of a game they had under their control right away. Montreal is in Detroit tonight to play the suddenly hot Red Wings.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees – Mike Leggo and Dan O’Halloran
Linesmen – Steve Barton and Don Henderson
-Goals: 1st Period:
8:49: Montreal – Paul Byron assisted by Tomas Plekanec
7:53: Boston – (sh) Loui Eriksson assisted by Zdeno Chara
8:35: Boston – Landon Ferraro assisted by Ryan Spooner and Torey Krug
13:42: Boston – Patrice Bergeron assisted by Brad Marchand and Matt Belesky
-Shots on Goal: Montreal – 33
Boston – 23
-3 Stars: 1) Tuukka Rask – Boston
2) Patrice Bergeron – Boston
3) Paul Byron – Montreal
-Final Score: Montreal – 1
Boston – 3