Boston Bruins Slide By Montreal Canadiens, 2-1
From the opening whistle, it would be apparent the Montreal Canadiens would not be content with the conservative style of dumping and pursuing the puck into the Boston Bruins zone. For this game, the Habs adopted the more fan friendly game of aggressively rushing the puck up the ice and into the attacking zone. They were practically daring the bigger Bruins to catch them if they could.
The positive results for Montreal’s more wide open game plan lead to Montreal convincingly outshooting Boston 11-4 in the first period, thus creating several scoring opportunities. If not for Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask doing his best impersonation of an impenetrable cinder block wall, the initial stanza would not have remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Canadiens winger Brandon Prust, who is playing like a man possessed, came close to scoring a breakaway shorthanded goal after a misplay by Boston’s gargantuan blueliner Zdeno Chara in the Habs zone. On the play, Prust drew a holding penalty by Tyler Seguin, who was compelled to tackle Prust from behind prior to Prust getting off a shot on Rask.
Although Montreal would not have the multiple scoring opportunities in the second period that they did in the first, Tomas Plekanec had a golden opportunity with a clean breakaway on Rask. Plekanec lost the puck on his forehand and it bounced harmlessly into the corner. For Plekanec, it would be an ominous sign of things to come in this game.
The Canadiens would not get their first shot on goal in the second period until almost eleven minutes into it. A few seconds later, Montreal’s second shot of the period resulted in the first goal of the game.
Habs defenseman P.K. Subban rifled a high trajectory shot from the right point that deflected over the left shoulder of Rask and into the top corner of the net. Subban’s first goal of the season was scored on the power play after what appeared to be a rather soft high sticking call on Milan Lucic.
Several minutes later, Lucic would once again would get chased to the box when he slashed Habs d-man Andrei Markov on the back of the legs in retaliation. The Bruins managed to kill off this penalty with the assistance of some shaky puckhandling decisions by Habs defenseman Raphael Diaz.
Although the Bruins outshot the Habs 11-5 in the second period, Montreal netminder Carey Price once again came up big, as he has done all season, calmly protecting the 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.
After two periods, the Habs had all they could ask for: an opportunity to go into the third period and make a definitive statement in their biggest statement game of the young season. A lightning quick fourteen seconds into the third period, while some fans had yet to settle into their seats, Seguin scored on a backhand shot past Price’s short side. The goal was set up on a nice feed from center David Krejci.
Less than two minutes later, Krejci scored the go ahead goal for the Bruins on a cross ice tip in from the crease on passes from Lucic and Seguin. The Bruins had come out in the third with the pedal to the metal and the Canadiens could do little to slow them down.
The Habs had a golden opportunity for the equalizer on a power play with 13:26 remaining in regulation, but a David Desharnais backhand was denied by Rask. Desharnais got another huge opportunity to tie the contest eight minutes later when his forehand from in front of the net got by Rask and trickled just wide of the post.
About a minute later, Plekanec failed to get it on net on two separate juicy shots from the high slot. Fittingly, it would end as a game of missed opportunites for Plekanec and the Habs–a game where a quick two minutes early in the third period robbed the upstart Habs the opportunity of making a huge statement to their biggest division rivals.