BOSTON – It would be an understatement to say it’s been a rough year for Claude Julien coaching the Montreal Canadiens this season.
That rough year continued on Saturday night with the arch-rival Boston Bruins coming from behind to take a 2-1 overtime decision over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden where rookie Jake DeBrusk tied the game with less than three minutes to go in the third period, and Brad Marchand played the OT hero with a great individual shift during 3-on-3 play.
The win gave the Bruins a season series sweep over the Canadiens in all four meetings between the two teams, the first time that Boston has swept Montreal in the regular season since all the way back in 1994-95. That part had to be a bitter pill for Julien after he was fired by the Bruins some 13 months ago before he quickly took the head coaching gig up in Montreal, but it took a backseat to the Habs head coach’s displeasure with the officiating on Saturday night.
Julien went so far as to indict the Bruins for doing “embarrassing things in the game of hockey” during a Boston win where Montreal led the game for 47 plus minutes before blowing it at the end. Clearly there were some penalty calls that Julien didn’t like, but he also accused his former team of play-acting for penalty calls, something he vehemently disapproved of during his 10 years coaching the Bruins.
“I think it’s pretty obvious. When your best shooter is on a breakaway and doesn’t get a shot away, I think everybody agrees that it should have been a penalty shot,” said Julien, referencing a first period slashing minor penalty on Sean Kuraly that broke up a breakaway chance for Montreal. “What’s embarrassing is [Rick] Nash embellishing [a high-sticking call]. The stick hits his shoulder, it doesn’t even hit his face and he embellishes and looks at the referee.
“Those are embarrassing things in the game of hockey. We’re a tired team and we have to kill penalties, and it eventually caught up to us. That’s disappointing that when we had some of those things happen, or another [Byron Froese] penalty that’s called five seconds later because we end up on a two-on-one. As I said, we evaluate ourselves and we expect others to evaluate themselves as well.”
None of those controversial penalties ended up being the one that really killed the Habs as it was a delay of game call on Jonathan Drouin that set up Boston’s game-tying power play goal late in the third period. Overall the Bruins were a fairly powerless 1-for-6 on the power play despite the clear advantage in the special teams department, but don’t tell that to Julien as he was muttering about the officiating on the way to the Habs team bus on his way out of the Garden.