The last of the regular-season meetings between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens was bookended by powerless showings from the visitors as they lost this round of the battle for the Northeast Division lead 2-1.
Though the first period included a fight and a big hit, it also featured the Bruins surrendering the first goal yet again, failing to score in the first 20 minutes yet again, not making Carey Price‘s job very difficult (five shots) and generally having another unexciting first period.
On the first goal of the night by Habs rookie supreme Alex Galchenyuk, the Bruins defense literally just sat down and let it happen. Tuukka Rask was flailing about, basically planking (remember that weird little trend?) and Matt Bartkowski actually helped the puck go in by basically just taking a seat in the blue paint. Yes, that’s the best way to prevent a goal: sitting down.
Later in the first, Alexei Emelin took a big hit from Milan Lucic, which ended up being a bad end for Emelin as he was helped off the ice. Interestingly, the Hockey Night in Canada commentators found no fault in the hit, calling it clean. That ended Emelin’s night early, though, and he has a lower-body injury.
Speaking of Lucic, a penalty he took ended up being quite costly as Michael Ryder–oh, a former Bruin himself!–scored on the power play to increase the lead early in the second. Of course, the d-pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg was out of position and basically out to lunch on that one.
Thankfully, the Bruins denied Price a shutout when Daniel Paille scored in the second period, but then their sticks went quiet for the rest of the game. That includes the most embarrassing attempt ever to tie a game late in the third when Boston was practically gift-wrapped a chance to do so thanks to a Lars Eller penalty.
I’ve seen some late-game miracles and heroics before, but those all come from someone willing to try, which none of the Bruins out there for a six-on-four advantage wanted to do. Some of them were content to blame the quality of the ice for their lack of trying, which is both hilarious and sad, the hockey equivalent of the dog eating the homework.
Another issue here is that this team is desperately missing a large part of its heart and soul, Patrice Bergeron. Every single commentator I’ve heard in recent days has agreed on one point: he is irreplaceable. Until he returns to the lineup, the Bruins can only hope to mend and make do by shuffling the lineup around, which they’re doing yet again in the wake of this loss. (Let’s see how long it lasts.)
It’s also worth mentioning that Jaromir Jagr is not the entire team–he hasn’t even been a Bruin for a calendar week yet–so simplifying the loss to his failure to score does a disservice to the rest of his teammates and to the problems that were endemic long before number 68 put on the Black and Gold.
So, this round of the battle for first in the Northeast goes to the Habs. Once again, the Bruins are leaning back on the same stuff they say after every loss about just relaxing, playing their game, blah blah blah. Spare us the talk, gentlemen, because talk is cheap. Let your actions speak louder than your tired words. Your first chance to show you can do better? Monday night at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.