The Canadiens were slumping, losing four of their last five, and “losing” is being nice. They were drubbed in all four losses, including a 5-0 beat down at the hands of the Washington Capitals. Meanwhile, the Bruins were rolling, with a 5-0-1 record in their last six. Speaking of six, that’s the number of goals Boston scored in each of their last three games.
With the game taking place in Beantown, it had all the makings of a Bruins beat down.
Well, in a sense, that’s exactly what happened.
Montreal wiped the ice with Boston, winning 4-1. They chased starting goalie Tuukka Rask after he let up three goals on 18 shots. Backup Chad Johnson held his own, allowing just one additional goal, but the damage had been done.
Afterwards, the Bruins were left to stew in their own frustration. Forward Patrice Bergeron put it bluntly, stating, “I would say, from what I remember, it was our worst game of the year.”
Coach Claude Julien was especially feisty in the post-game media scrum, adding “Tonight was one of those nights that there was absolutely nothing happening on our side.”
What was most astounding, and this seemed to be something the team noticed, was the overall lack of effort and response across the board. This is a rivalry that is heated to say the least, yet there was no evident fight to be seen within the Bruins. It appeared the only people who were psyched up and wearing Boston sweaters were the fans.
Milan Lucic went so far as saying that everyone was just waiting for somebody to respond, which of course resulted in everybody just playing passive hockey. These comments, as well as the aforementioned quotes, are just not something you expect to hear after a bout between the Habs and Bruins.
Boston was riding high, but the combination of playing soft and doing so against their hated rival has to be a shot to the collective egos on the roster. Yes, they had been beating the bricks off of pushovers like the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers, but the momentum didn’t appear to carry over last night.
Based on the reactions from various Bruins players, this loss definitely took the wind out of the team’s sails. It’s definitely what you want to hear, as any loss to Montreal should sting like there’s no tomorrow. If that isn’t enough consolation, a home game against the lowly Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night should, theoretically, do the trick.
Still, Boston better make sure something like last night’s game doesn’t derail them from the progress they were making. When the only ones that show up for rivalry night are the fans, it’s always something to be a little concerned about.