Bruins

Thomas backstops Bruins to 2-1 win over Canadiens

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Thomas backstops Bruins to 2-1 win over Canadiens

BOSTON -- The Bruins still havent got their full groove back after last weeks epic clash against the Canucks, but they had just enough Thursday night to take down the struggling Canadiens.

Goals in the first and third periods gave the Bruins all the offense they would need, and Tim Thomas' 33 saves backstopped the Bs to a 2-1 win. Thomas 16 saves in the first period served notice to Montreal that it was going to take something a little extra to beat him, and the Habs didnt have it on this night.

The Bruins got on the board early in the first, and the Hockey gods handed it to Jordan Caron after he had played sparingly over the last month. Johnny Boychuk fired a dump-in attempt off the glass in Montreals end, and the puck bounced right to Caron in front with Carey Price out of the net.
Carons second goal of the season gave the Bruins a slim one-goal lead, and thats the way it stayed until the red-hot David Krejci line struck for the insurance score in the final period. A Nathan Horton pass from behind the net reached Milan Lucic waiting in the slot, and he lofted a funky-looking backhander off Josh Gorges' stick and past Price to make it a two-goal lead.Krejci picked up the second assist on the goal and has now put together a career-high 10-game point streak this season.
Montreal attempted to pick up the intensity in the third period with a P.K. Subban cheap shot on Krejci, followed by a power-play goal, but the Bruins held on and improved to 21-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.GOLD STAR: Tim Thomas made 33 saves to backstop the Bruins to a victory they might not have deserved, and only gave up a goal when the referees handed the Canadiens a power play in the aftermath of a nasty P.K. Subban elbow thrown at David Krejcis head that led to a scrum on the ice. Thomas was at his best in the first period when sloppy turnovers and porous defense led to close scoring bids from Mike Blunden and Andrei Kostitsyn among his 16 stops. Wouldnt quite say this was a game stolen by Thomas, but it comes awfully close to that territory.BLACK EYE: Patrice Bergeron lost 5 out of 15 faceoffs, missed high on a perfect 2-on-1 scoring opportunity and didnt register much in 15:40 of ice time. He looked frustrated and uncomfortable on the ice, and perhaps he was after missing on an invitation to the NHL All-Star Game that he so richly deserved. If he was disappointed, it spilled out onto the ice a little bit against a Montreal team that he always ups his compete level against. Bergeron was the most deserving among those snubbed for the NHL All-Star Game, so maybe the voting process should get the black eye instead.TURNING POINT: A turning point for Milan Lucic and the Bruins when he managed to scoop the puck like his stick was a shovel and backhand a shot off Josh Gorges and past Carey Price for the game-winner.HONORABLE MENTION: A little bit of credit to Pierre Gauthier for ripping apart a Montreal Canadiens team over the last two years, and really helping out the Bruins in the process. Trading Mike Cammalleri in the middle of a game is just the latest in a long line of panic moves engineered by Gauthier, and there has to be some mal intent behind doing it during the game. Cammalleri was removed from the locker room, put into a cab bound for the team hotel and told hed been traded before the third period had even started. That is some cold stuff, and a clear reaction to his losers mentality speech from Wednesday.BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of consecutive games with a point for David Krejci after picking up the secondary assist on Milan Lucics game-winner. Its the longest point streak of Krejcis career, and the longest this season in the NHL.QUOTE TO NOTE: Im sure its going to be a good experience for him to see all these players. There are a lot of top players from different teams in the league that all get together. Hopefully hell learn from them and carry it with him. Hes come a long way from last year. Zdeno Chara on first-year All-Star Tyler Seguin getting selected to take part in the NHLs midseason classic.

Bruins demoralize Habs in three game set

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Bruins demoralize Habs in three game set

MONTREAL – The Boston Bruins weren’t about to dance on any Montreal Canadiens’ graves after it was over and done with, but they effectively closed the door on any flickering playoff hopes for the Habs this week. It all ended with Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre that finished off the sweep of all three meetings between the two arch-rivals over an eight day span, and with the reeling Montreal a stunning 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

It was a close game nearly all the way through in Montreal until David Pastrnak and Riley Nash scored in the final few minutes of the third period, but the Bruins outscored the Habs by an 11-5 margin while clearly establishing they were the better team in all three contests. It all makes sense given the opposite directions that the two hockey clubs are headed at this point in the season, and because of that the Bruins were playing it pretty cool after burying the Habs.

“It was kind of a crazy week because we were playing them three times, so we obviously wanted to play good hockey,” said Tuukka Rask, who won all three games vs. the Habs while improving his lifetime record vs. the Habs to 10-15-3 in the process. “[We wanted to] get as many points as possible, and won all of those games along with the one on Long Island. So it was a great week for us.”

Certainly it seemed like there was more genuine emotion from the Bruins in Claude Julien’s return to Boston midweek, and perhaps a little more adrenaline in last weekend’s first game at the Bell Centre where rookies like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen were dipping their toes into the storied rivalry for the first time.

But on this Saturday night it was more about a complete dismantling of the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge even as the Bruins initially fell down by a goal after a bad McAvoy turnover. Instead it was Boston’s Perfection Line that went to work with an efficient, dominant performance as David Pastrnak scored the game’s first goal and insurance third goal in the third period. They also accounted for the game-winner when Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak hemmed Montreal’s fourth line in the defensive zone, and Torey Krug eventually stepped up and rifled one short side on Carey Price.

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for two goals, six assists and a plus-8 in the resounding victory over the Habs, and had a dominant 12 of Boston’s 31 shots on net when the final horn had sounded. They simply overwhelmed Montreal with their depth, the high end quality of their lineup and the fact that Boston was rested while the Habs had to play in Washington DC on Friday night in a three games in four days stretch.

All of that allowed the Bruins to drive the final nail into Montreal’s coffin when the game was over, and it furthermore allowed Boston to keep worrying about the teams they’re trying to catch (ahem…Tampa Bay Lightning) rather than Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Canadiens.

“We talked about doing the job against them and finding a ways to push teams down while gaining ground on the teams above us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I thought it was a great effort again. We knew that they would be ready for us, but we also knew that they had played last night. So maybe if we had a good start we could jump on them. I thought we had a good game.”

Clearly there have been ebbs and flows to the Bruins/Habs rivalry over their long history together, and both Boston and Montreal have been in the catbird at different times even in the recent editions of their history. But right now Boston is beating the Canadiens badly at their own skill and speed game and dominating thing with pure hockey rather than bullying, and that’s got to sting for a Habs group that simply couldn’t compete with the Bruins in three different chances to do so this week. 

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David Pastrnak dominates third straight win against Canadiens

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David Pastrnak dominates third straight win against Canadiens

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak had been a little quiet offensively, but that all changed on Saturday night against Montreal. It was the 21-year-old that answered with a bad angle goal in the second period after Montreal had taken the first lead in the game, and it was Pastrnak again in the third period crashing the net and scoring his second goal to finally give Boston the breathing room that they needed. Pastrnak thoroughly dominated the game, scored two goals and three points along with a plus-3 rating, and led all players with a game-high eight shots on net while playing with energy and intensity in all three zones. It is nights like Saturday night in Montreal when you see just how good Pastrnak could still be a few years down the road.

BLACK EYE: Carey Price wasn’t terrible in the game, but he gave up the wrong goal at the wrong time to the Bruins in the second period. David Pastrnak surprised him with a bad angle shot by the goal line aimed at his skates, and Price couldn’t recover quickly enough to keep the puck from squirting into the net for the game-tying goal. Given how much better the Bruins are than the Canadiens this season, Price was going to be have to letter-perfect in order to beat the Black and Gold. Instead he gave up a bad goal just minutes after Montreal had finally scored, and completely sucked all of the momentum out of the Habs. A few minutes later Torey Krug beat Carey Price with a sniped shot for the go-ahead goal and that was it for the night. In all Price allowed three goals on 30 shots and had one of his weaker games against the Bruins in recent memory.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins appeared to score the insurance goal in the third period when Patrice Bergeron jumped on the rebound of a shot attempt where David Pastrnak’s stick had shattered on the initial shot. But a coach’s challenge ruled that the play was off-sides and the goal was overturned leaving it at a one-goal game in the third period. Montreal was given second life to scratch for one goal to at least push things in overtime, but instead that line was at it again and Pastrnak scored on a rebound in front directly from a Torey Krug point shot. That was the goal that officially broke Montreal’s spirit and allowed the Bruins to sweep all three games over the Habs in an eight day span.

HONORABLE MENTION: Torey Krug hasn’t exactly been a scoring machine lately, but he stepped up and had one of his best games against Montreal on Saturday. It was Krug that ended up with the game-winning goal on a sniper shot over Price’s shoulder in the second period when he jumped into the play with the Perfection Line dominating, and it was Krug that finished with a goal, three points and a plus-three rating in 17:24 of ice time. He finished with five shot attempts, a hit and a blocked shot as well, and was truly making things happen offensively as he did with a point shot in the third period that turned into a Pastrnak rebound goal for the insurance marker.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 – the number of goals for the Perfection Line (Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak) over the 16-game point streak that the Bruins have been riding on for over a month.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “I think at the end of the day if I knew that I would have to face them now, I probably would’ve kept them separate for all those years.” –A joking Claude Julien when asked postgame what it feels like to have Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand doing so much damage against his new team during the three games played in eight days. 

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