GOLD STAR: He only played 9:04 of ice time, but the return of David Backes made a difference for the Boston Bruins. The 35-year-old was able to put a great one-timer shot on a picture-perfect David Krejci pass from the half-wall and roofed it past Carey Price for the powerplay game-winning goal in the third period. Never mind that it was Backes’ first goal of the season, but to have that kind of timing and ability to put everything on that shot after not playing for a month was pretty impressive stuff.
Backes finished with a goal, three shots on net, five shot attempts and a couple of hits while going 3-for-3 on face-offs and showed that he’s going to be able to help this Bruins team when healthy and armed with his good skating legs. It was simply a feel-good moment for Backes and the Bruins after enduring a rough month following his nasty collision with Scott Sabourin on the ice.
BLACK EYE: Somehow Claude Julien was complaining about it after the game, but Nick Cousins’ holding play on Torey Krug to set up the game-winner in the offensive was as dumb as it was the right call. Then to add insult to injury it was Cousins that played half-hearted defense in front of the net on the give-and-go play with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle to allow an insurance score for the Black and Gold.
Aside from those two hideous plays in the third period, Cousins with a minus-1 and one shot on net in 16:09 of completely non-descript play in the game. When it mattered, though, Cousins screwed up a couple of times and played a big role in the Habs imploding in the final 20 minutes of the game. But he certainly wasn’t alone on a sinking ship that’s lost eight games in a row.
TURNING POINT: Just a few minutes before David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board in the third period, Brendan Gallagher was all alone on a breakaway after a disastrous turnover by Charlie McAvoy while Montreal held a 1-0 lead. Tuukka Rask got his body on the forehand bid from Gallagher to make certain it stayed a one-goal game for the Bruins and roughly three minutes later Pastrnak had scored and tied things up at one apiece.
It was part of a strong 28-save night for Rask overall, but it was a massive save at an important time in the game that helped set up three straight goals for the B’s in the third period to take the two points away from the Habs.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak now has 25 goals on Dec. 1, which is a pretty thing in and of itself. But it’s also how he scored flying up the wing and zinging one past Carey Price from the face-off dot off the rush and then kick-starting the B’s offense with his game-breaking ability. Once Pastrnak scored it seemed like the B’s got things into gear and the rest of the offense followed.
Perhaps most impressive of all, though, was No. 88 continuing to play hard even as big-bodied Habs players like Joel Armia and Shea Weber were taking big-time physical shots at him. It’s clear as he continues to score that other teams are going to target him physically and they did on Sunday night. But Pastrnak played through it, scored his goal as payback in the third period and finished with six shot attempts and a couple of hits in 20:37 of ice time.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of consecutive games on home ice with a point to start the season for the Bruins. The B’s are 11-0-4 at TD Garden this season in the best streak in franchise history since they started the year 19-0-2 all the way back in 1973-74.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think you see it on my face. That was elation.” –David Backes on scoring the game-winning goal for the Bruins in the third period after sitting out the previous 13 games with a concussion.
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