Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Game 9: Wednesday Night Rivalry

The greatest rivalry in all of sports: Boston vs. Montreal.

It never gets old. No matter how many times the two teams get together, you will always be in for a fast, physical, entertaining game of hockey. 

How fitting that the first match-up of the season between the B's and the Habs took place on the Wednesday Night Rivalry game broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network. It also helps that the Canadiens are competitive again this year. With one point separating the two teams heading into this game, Northeast Division bragging rights were on the line. 

Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille did not even make the trip to Montreal. Brad Marchand did travel with the team, but he did not skate in this game due to an upper-body injury. Ryan Spooner made his NHL debut in this game and he skated on the fourth line with Jamie Tardif and Lane MacDermid. Gregory Campbell skated on the second line as a winger.

With those minor details out of the way, it is game time. 

The opening period was one that the Bruins would like to forget. They were completely outplayed as they struggled to get the puck past the neutral zone. Also, they were out-shot 11-4 and none of their shots really challenged Habs goaltender Carey Price. At the other end of the ice, Tuukka Rask was on fire. He carried his teammates in the first 20 minutes.

In the second period, the Bruins seemed to pick up their game defensively. They made things difficult for Montreal in the neutral zone, which is always good considering the puck-moving ability of the Habs. The only goal of the period came on the power play for Montreal as P.K. Subban blasted a shot from the top of the zone that beat Rask high glove side. 

Just a few seconds into the third period, Tyler Seguin poked the puck past Price to tie the game at one. David Krejci, who assisted on Seguin's goal, scored one of his own a few minutes later. Those two quick goals came as a result of Bruins head coach Claude Julien moving Seguin up to the first line with Krejci and Milan Lucic. 

Montreal made things interesting as time winded down, but the Bruins were able to hold on for the 2-1 victory. With the win, Boston now possess first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins power play continues to struggle. They are now 3-for-34 with the man advantage, second-worst in the NHL. When you have sub-par passing and no movement on the power play, something needs to be changed as soon as possible. 

The Bruins will head back home for a Saturday afternoon game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Gold Star: Tuukka Rask (20 saves on 21 shots, 1 goal allowed, .952 save percentage)...His presence between the pipes in this game was key for the Bruins. Without him in net, Boston could have lost this game.

Black Star: Milan Lucic...When you play a team like Montreal, you have to control your emotions. He took two penalties, one of them proving costly. 

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