The Boston Bruins had a 3-2 lead and looked like they just might be able to keep it together and hold on for a win against the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens, but they were undone in the third period by two unanswered goals and lost 4-3. The third period collapse was very unlike the typical third-period Bruins and it wasn’t exactly the team’s best showing in front of Bruins fan and Newtown hero Natalie Green-Hammond.
Andrew Ference made some huge mistakes in this game, including an interference penalty that led to Tomas Plekanec scoring the first goal of the night. Later on in the third period, he also decided that the best way to try to stop Montreal scoring when Tuukka Rask was out of position would be to lay down and pretend to be the Great Wall of China in front of the temporarily open net. It didn’t work and David Desharnais scored the Habs’ fourth goal.
Tyler Seguin did break through 50 seconds later to get the Bruins on the board with help from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. But then Montreal retook the lead less than half a minute later with Desharnais’ first goal, although it went to review to see if there was a distinct kicking motion. There wasn’t–but it looked like Johnny Boychuk really helped that goal in with his stick blade.
The typical hard-charging third-period Bruins actually showed up for the second period instead and put up two goals to even the score. Bergeron scored another slow-moving but good goal and then Dougie Hamilton put up his very first goal inside TD Garden, successfully scoring from the same bad angle Rich Peverley found a goal from yesterday.
With the exception of Hamilton scoring, all the production this evening–goals and assists–came from the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line.
The home team also got a little tougher. Milan Lucic had a long bout with Brandon Prust and then Zdeno Chara took exception to Alexei Emelin delivering a cross-check to Seguin. At first blush, Chara taking on Emelin to stand up for his teammate looked like a good thing, but then the fact that he was out serving a total of 17 penalty minutes ended up proving to be a huge part of the team’s undoing. Was that skirmish worth it? In hindsight, it feels like no, even though it felt so righteous at the time.
First, Max Pacioretty tied up the game, but the Desharnais goal with the Great Wall of Ference really put a ribbon on the game. After the game, Marchand–who assisted on all three goals from the home team, his first three-assist game in his career–admitted that the team failed to pick up the slack when Chara was off the ice. The Bruins did get some energy and effort going late in the third, but it was too late to produce anything, especially in a furious scramble around Peter Budaj‘s net right before the final buzzer.
So now the Canadiens become one of three teams to give Boston a loss so far this season and have taken over first place in the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference. They were able to go in and expose the weaknesses of Boston’s defense–not only Ference, but also just general flubs, miscues and just how much, apparently, the Bruins need to have Big Z’s presence.
Now it’s off to the nation’s capital for the Bruins, who will face the Washington Capitals on March 5.