MONTREAL -- While it was the right call for the Bruins to call Zane McIntyre’s number on the second night of a back-to-back in Montreal, the choice did come with its own consequences. The Bruins outshot the Canadiens by a commanding 43-23 margin, but still eventually fell to the hated Habs by a 3-2 score when McIntyre couldn’t smother a puck in the closing seconds of a tied game in the third period at the Bell Centre.
It’s hard to fault a young player that’s only playing in his second career NHL start after also being tossed to the wolves in a road game at Madison Square Garden last month, but McIntyre was willing to accept some of the responsibility. Rightfully so after Alex Radulov created the game-winning score for the Habs by firing a shot at the Boston net with Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Carlo battling for position in front of the net.
The puck kicked out of the net on a rebound from McIntyre, bounced around Galchenyuk and then landed at the feet of Paul Byron bashing home the rebound bid for an important late game score. The 24-year-old McIntyre said he caught an edge during the scramble in front, and regrettably that’s why he couldn’t make a stronger play to sponge the puck before it landed in the danger area for the game-winner.
“[Byron] got his stick out and made a play on it, and I just lost my edge and wasn’t able to recover back to the middle of the net,” said McIntyre. “It’s a very intense place to play, so knowing that it was important to settle in early and make a few saves. Just keep it simple and let the play come to me.
“Every goal you take notes on. You look at what you can do better, and how you can improve and what you did well in situations too. Obviously I’m here to contribute to the team, and I just didn’t have that play there [at the end].”
It’s difficult to fault a young goaltender in just his second pro season looking to secure points on the road in Montreal against a very good Habs bunch, and he did have the Bruins poised to at least escape with the one overtime point by just hanging on.
“You know what? He’s played well and he’s given us chances to win hockey games, and he’s made some big saves and held onto those big pucks when he had to,” said Claude Julien. “That’s all you can ask from a guy that’s coming in [from the AHL] to help us out.”
Normal backup goaltender Anton Khudobin is still back in Boston skating, but hasn’t yet been cleared to start holding a stick with his injured right hand while recovering from injury. So the B’s will still need more from McIntyre as they enter another back-to-back situation this weekend against the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche, and will have to be generous with rest for a banged up Tuukka Rask still battling a lower body injury despite his early season brilliance.
The bright side of all of this: most felt the Bruins were going to be stormed by the Canadiens starting a 24-year-old rookie goalie in Montreal, and instead McIntyre played impressively enough to force Carey Price into a 41-save standing-on-his-head performance against the Bruins to preserve victory for a Montreal team that was outplayed, plain and simple.