Monday, December 19, 2011

Game Thirty Two: Best In The East

"I'm looking forward to sitting back and watching a fun game against our rivals. It should be a good one." -Milan Lucic

This statement was taken for the B's power forward just hours after his hearing with Brendon Shanahan Monday afternoon. Lucic was suspended for Monday's game against the Montreal Canadiens for his major boarding penalty on Saturday when Boston faced the Philadelphia Flyers.

The suspension came as a result of Lucic's reoccurring disciplinary hearings, so it was just a matter of time. The hit itself was not that bad. However, Shanahan needed to send a message to Lucic and the one-game suspension should be the solution.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien had to shake up the lines for this game due to the Lucic suspension. Daniel Paille skated on the first line with David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Gregory Campbell made his return to the line-up for this game but he skated as a winger on the fourth line while Zach Hamill centered Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

As for the game, Boston was in the perfect advantage to increase their separation from the last-place Canadiens since there is turmoil going on with the Habs. Jacques Martin was fired as the Montreal head coach and was replaced by Randy Cunneyworth. Plus getting booed off of their home ice is tough to swallow.

So how did Monday's game between the two rivals go?

The first period was exactly what we usually expect from these two teams. There were hits, physical play, and tight checking against the boards. Benoit Pouliot put Boston on the board first when he beat Habs goaltender Carey Price for his sixth goal of the season. Rich Peverley won a face-off and passed the puck across the ice for Pouliot to put in. Tomas Plekanec tied the game up by scoring his seventh goal of the season only 1:13 later.

The second period slowed down just a little bit. The Bruins defense was quite sloppy in their own end and it almost led to a Montreal goal. It was Boston who ended up scoring in this period when Krejci put the puck past Price by using his foot. Andrew Ference had the assist. Patrice Bergeron took a high stick to the face toward the end of the period. He missed the power play shifts that followed the penalty.

A very slow start to the third period led to a rather interesting finish to the game. Brad Marchand extended the B's lead by scoring a great goal that was assisted by Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Boston looked to have complete control of this one. We should know by now to never count out the Habs.

Erik Cole scored the Canadiens second goal immediately after Price was pulled for the extra attacker. Montreal continued to put pressure on the B's but Tim Thomas was clutch in the end. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens by a score of 3-2. Boston remains undefeated this season when entering the third period with the lead and they now sit on top of the Eastern Conference with 45 points.

Their next game will be this Friday night at the TD Garden against the Florida Panthers.

Gold Star: Rich Peverley...He finished the game with one assist and was decent from the face-off dot. What stood out was his solid performance on the power play when he controlled the top of the zone.

Black Star: Nathan Horton...He had a couple of turnovers, one of them led to the Habs second goal. He did not have a bad game, but the timeliness of the turnovers was crucial.

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