The Montreal stench that usually reeks through arenas when the Canadiens come to town is not entirely their fault this time. The problem lies with the league and the scheduling that took place when it came to this season series.
It is obvious that the league is not quite fond of the Boston Bruins; they continue to remain at the bottom of the NHL is power-play opportunities. In the four meetings that the B's lock up with the Habs this season, ALL of them come on the second half of back-to-backs for the Bruins. Conspiracy? Nah. Excuses? Never.
Before the greatest rivalry in all of sports wrote the final chapter of their history for the 2014-15 season on Sunday, the B's were in action on Saturday night against the New York Islanders. This back-to-backer marked the beginning of a three-game homestand for Boston.
The Isles lost to the B's a little over a week ago, so the teams are fresh and familiar with one another.
The top guns for each side got their respective team on the board in the first period (John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron), both on the power play. Once the second period got under way, the teams engaged in one of the more physical periods in recent memory. Hey, that is what hockey is all about--you have to take it to give it. Aside from that, Tuukka Rask was outstanding and made some great saves on Isles scoring chances.
For some reason, the Islanders were doing everything in their power to play chippy and get under the skin of the Bruins. Luckily, the B's kept their composure late in the game. Loui Eriksson beat Isles netminder Chad Johnson with a no-look shot that proved to be the game winner. #netfrontpressure
With two points to start the weekend, ending the season series against New York with a 2-1 victory was huge.
And finally, the Bruins and Habs squared off in a heavyweight fight for Atlantic Division supremacy on Sunday. The Bruins, unbelievably, where searching for the first win of the season against Montreal.
Rask, who was making his 11th-straight start on Sunday, accumulated 11 stops in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins did have some decent scoring chances, but Montreal had the advantage in puck possession. The B's penalty kill came through big time in the first period by keeping the game scoreless.
After the Habs went up 1-0 on a goal by Dale Weise, the pace of the game slowed down exponentially. However, there were moments over the last two periods when the teams flew up and down the ice nearly capitalizing on every scoring opportunity. As good as Rask was, Carey Price was his equal on this night. David Pastrnak came through late in the third period with his fifth goal of the year, but it was not enough for the win. The Habs added an empty netter and took the 3-1 victory. Montreal sweeps the season series.
The Bruins will wrap up the three-game homestand on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.
Gold Star (combined): Tuukka Rask (70 saves on 73 shots, three goals allowed, .957 save percentage)...Vezina form right there. Too bad his teammates could not come through with some offense for him on Sunday.
Black Star (combined): Reilly Smith...He slipped down to the bottom-two lines over the weekend, took some awful penalties, and recorded multiple giveaways for the opposition. Top-line winger? Not so much.
Game Fifty-Two Box Score
Game Fifty-Three Box Score