The stage was set. Weston Adams Jr., grandson of Bruins founder Charles Francis Adams, dropped the ceremonial first puck. Rene Rancourt belted out both the Canadian and American National Anthems. One of the biggest rivalries in professional hockey was ready to go and no one knew where the game would take it. It’s never an ordinary night at TD Garden when the Montreal Canadiens are in town.
The Bruins were coming off a four-game win streak scoring six goals in their last three games. The Canadians had been struggling throughout the month of January, dropping four of their last five games and falling to fourth in the Atlantic division. The Bruins’ first two lines were putting up spectacular numbers with significant contributions from nearly every player on the ice.
The game should have been a blowout win for the Boston Bruins, but this was no ordinary game of hockey. It was Bruins versus Habs and as history proves, anytime these two teams get together, anything can happen.
The Canadiens came out flying in the first period pushing two goals past Tuukka Rask to make it 2-0 Montreal. Alexei Emelin scored his first goal in 44 games just 2:16 into the game ripping the puck past a good screen in front of Tuukka Rask.
The Habs continued to drive the puck to the net, but Rask had several spectacular saves to keep the lead at one until 14:32 into the period when Max Pacioretty slipped the puck five-hole after a bad Daniel Paille turnover. The dominant Bruins offense had a quick response to cut the lead back to one only one minute later off a deflected Dougie Hamilton shot from the blue line.
The second period showed a much better early effort from the Bs, but they were unable to put the puck past Peter Budaj. Then it was back to much of the same as the Bruins continued to their sloppy play. The Canadiens got on the board again with a power-play goal by Brian Gionta just 10 seconds after a double-minor roughing call against Brad Marchand.
A hotheaded Rask was pulled for just the fourth time this season in favor of Chad Johnson. However, the defensive miscues continued for the Bruins and just two minutes later Danny Briere beat Johnson high glove side off a breakaway to put the Canadiens up 4-1. The Bruins were booed off the ice in front of a home crowd after an abysmal end to the second period.
In the third, the Bruins were unable to put anything together. They frequented the penalty box and failed to put the puck in the net. Subaj finished the game with 34 saves as the Habs managed to keep the score at 4-1 to pick up their fifth straight win against the Bruins, extending their unbeaten streak against the Bruins to nearly a full calendar year.
With this win, the Canadiens jumped over their Canadian foes, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and back into third place in the Atlantic. The Bruins remain at the top of the division with help from the Ottawa Senators who beat the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ironically, on a night TD Garden paid tribute to the 1920s Bruins, Boston fans saw their team slip back into its old ways. B’s fans were reminded of a time when the Bruins simply could not defeat the Montreal Canadiens for several decades in the last century.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs could easily bring out another matchup between these two rivals. The Bruins need to find what it takes to finally push past this Canadien team that always manages to pull out a win against Boston.