There are a dozen games left on the Boston Bruins schedule in 2013. Of course, that means that points will be at a premium the rest of the way. The "bigger picture" way of looking at things is that individual season series between teams are coming to a close as well.
This was the case on Saturday night for the B's as they traveled to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. This was indeed the final meeting of the regular season between these two divisional rivals.
At this point, the scene does not need to be set for this game. The biggest rivalry in sports gets enough attention as it is. However, this was the first time that these two teams played each other on a NESN broadcast this season. Jack Edwards has not gone a week without mentioning this at least once, so this was something to look forward to.
With both teams coming off victories on Thursday night, this game would be for first place in the Northeast Division. It was also a chance for Boston to pull even with wins in the season series with Montreal.
Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes for the Bruins and he opposed Carey Price. Chris Kelly (broken leg) made the trip to Montreal with the team. Although he did not skate in this game, he is days away from returning. There were no additional lineup changes, but the lines were constantly shuffled throughout this game. One last side note: David Krejci dawned the second "A" in Patrice Bergeron's absence, which started in the last game against New Jersey.
In the first period, the puck was constantly down in the defensive zone of the Bruins. The speed of Montreal caught up to the B's early on in this game. They made it difficult for the Bruins to clear their own zone, let alone get any decent scoring chances. The Canadiens got on the board first on a goal by Alex Galchenyuk. It was such a sloppy goal, even by Montreal standards.
There was an interesting moment in the first period when Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin delivered a huge hit on Milan Lucic. He ended up injuring his own knee and had to leave the game. Montreal had to finish the game with only five d-men. Sometimes, karma is the best thing anyone can ask for.
Anyway, the second period began with a Montreal power play goal. This resulted from Lucic taking a questionable cross-checking call at the end of the first period. Michael Ryder was the goal scorer for the Habs. However, for the majority of the period Boston took over. They became the more physical team, which caused Price to see the puck much more than he wanted to. Daniel Paille pulled the B's within one after deflecting a shot by Johnny Boychuk past the Habs netminder. Montreal started to put more pressure on Rask as the period winded down. Luckily, it remained a one-goal game going into the final 20 minutes.
The third period was sloppy for both teams. There were a couple of instances where the defensemen could not clear the puck up ice. Although that makes for very entertaining flurries on goal and potential heart palpitations for the respective coaches, that is sloppy hockey play in a nutshell. In the end, Montreal held on to win this game by a score of 2-1 after the Bruins failed on a late power play opportunity. Boston pulled Rask and skated six-on-four, but could not record a single shot. It was sad to watch.
Montreal takes over sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins will return home for Monday night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Gold Star: David Krejci...His physical play set the tone just seconds into the game.
Black Star: Dougie Hamilton...It looked as if he was nervous on the ice in this game. He could not settle the puck and he turned it over constantly.