Habs Hold Off Late Bruins Rally, as Boston Falls 4-3 in First-Place Showdown in Montreal

Habs Hold Off Late Bruins Rally, as Boston Falls 4-3 in First-Place Showdown in Montreal Final, Canadiens 4-3: The comeback comes up short, as the Bruins couldn’t dig out of their early hole despite a solid effort in the final 40 minutes.

But that rough first 20 in the opening period set the stage for a Montreal victory as the Habs strengthen their hold on first place in the Northeast Division.

The Bruins go 0-2 on their quick road trip against division rivals Buffalo and Montreal, and return home to face Washington at the Garden on Saturday.

Third Period, 18:58, Canadiens, 4-3: The Habs use their timeout now, with another faceoff coming in the Montreal end and Thomas pulled for the extra attacker.

Third Period, 18:22, Canadiens, 4-3: The Bruins call timeout to regroup with a huge faceoff in the Montreal zone coming up after price tied up the puck on a Michael Ryder wraparound.

By the way, that last goal has been changed to Lucic, assists to Bergeron and Savard, who has his first multi-point game of the year.

Third Period, 15:10, Canadiens, 4-3: After struggling to even gain the zone in the first minute of the power play, the Bruins pull within one as Milan Lucic appears to tip in a Patrice Bergeron point shot to make it 4-3.

Bergeron is being credited with the goal for now, but that may get changed to Lucic.

Third Period, 14:06, Canadiens, 4-2: Greg Campbell took a bad penalty earlier, but he draws a key one here, getting tripped up by Roman Hamrlik for what might be Boston’s last chance to climb back into this one.

Third Period, 12:11, Canadiens, 4-2: Johnny Boychuk delivers a hit to rival Subban’s earlier shot on Marchand, as Boychuk catches Benoit Pouliot coming across the middle in the Boston Zone.

Boychuk nails Pouliot, sending his helmet flying.

Third Period, 11:44, Canadiens, 4-2: Milan Lucic with a bid from the left wing off a Krejci setup, but Price makes the save.

Price then denies Seguin and Seidenberg on back-to-back bids.

Third Period, 9:58, Canadiens, 4-2: More good pressure from the Bruins’ top line, as Krejci continues to play with an edge in this one. But they still can’t get anything else past Price to cut into this lead.

Third Period, 7:08, Canadiens, 4-2: Much better effort on the power play, with the Bruins spending almost the entire two minutes set up in the Montreal zone with multiple chances, but none go in as the Habs maintain their two-goal cushion.

Third Period, 5:08, Canadiens, 4-2: The Bruins get another chance on the power play, as Subban is sent off for tripping up Savard.

Third Period, 4:28, Canadiens, 4-2: The Bruins had good pressure from the top line but couldn’t put one home, then Tomas Plekanec is sprung on a breakaway going the other way, but Thomas makes another huge save.

Third Period, 1:30, Canadiens, 4-2: The Bruins can’t cash in on the man-advantage, and now will have to dig out of this hole at even strength.

Third Period, 0:00, Canadiens, 4-2: The final frame is under way, with the Bruins looking to cash in on the power play.

Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins played a much strong period in the second, but didn’t cut into the deficit at all after a horrible first as it remains a two-goal game.

There were positives though, with Blake Wheeler scoring a goal for his first point in six games and Marc Savard adding his first goal in the seventh game of his comeback.

Add in an assist by Tyler Seguin in his return to the lineup, some stellar saves from Tim Thomas, who has already stopped 30 shots in this one, and an unlikely fight from David Krejci (his first in the NHL) and there are some things to build off.

But there’s not a lot of time with just one period left. The Bruins do start with 1:29 left on the power play, and an early strike will be crucial to mounting a comeback in this one.

End Second Period, Canadiens 4-2: It was a much better effort in the middle frame for the Bruins, but the results are the same as the clubs traded goals and Boston remains down by two goals. And now they have just one period left to mount a comeback.

Second Period, 19:29, Canadiens 4-2: The Bruins get a late power play as Mathieu Darche goes off for interference after a hit on Boychuk.

Boychuk sold that pretty good, taking a page out of the Habs’ book, though that kind of embellishment isn’t good to see no matter who is doing it.

Second Period, 16:54, Canadiens 4-2: Montreal makes it a two-goal game again, with Brian Gionta tipping in a shot in front.

Pacioretty sent it in from the left boards with Gionta and Dennis Seidenberg battling for position in front of Thomas.

Second Period, 16:40, Canadiens 3-2: Marchand now out with Savard and Ryder in Seguin’s spot.

Second Period, 15:10, Canadiens 3-2: Seguin gets rewarded with a shift between Lucic and Horton while Krejci serves his fighting major.

Second Period, 14:48, Canadiens 3-2: After Thomas kept them in it with some early saves this period, the Bruins have really turned up the intensity in the second. Just think how things would be if they had played this way in the first period too.

Second Period, 11:31, Canadiens 3-2: Last year it was Wheeler, this season it’s David Krejci with the unlikely fight against the Habs, dropping the gloves with Mike Cammalleri.

After a long squareoff, they come together with the buckets still on, even though both wear visors. Krejci lands the best shot of the fight with a right that pops off Cammalleri’s lid. Cammelleri comes back to win the wrestling match at the end, but Krejci’s earns the decision with that right that drew blood.

Second Period, 9:45, Canadiens 3-2: The Bruins’ momentum gets halted as Steven Kampfer gets called for holding in the corner, putting the Habs on the power play again.

Second Period, 6:54, Canadiens 3-2: The Bruins are back in it, as Marc Savard scores his first goal since his comeback as he tips in a Ference point shot.

Seguin picks up an assist as well with the pass to Ference to start the play. That came just after Seguin nearly scored himself on a tip of a Savard pass in front. The rookie seems to have responded well to his brief benching.

Second Period, 5:18, Canadiens 3-1: Some signs of life from the B’s, as Johnny Boychuk fires in a couple rockets from the point, then Wheeler mixing it up in a scrum in front.

Wheeler, believe it or not, is the only Bruins with a fight against Montreal in the last two years.

Second Period, 3:30, Canadiens 3-1: Good to see Marchand back on the ice for the second period after taking that huge hit from Subban late in the first.

Second Period, 2:00, Canadiens 3-1: Thomas makes another big save, this time on Cammalleri from the right side off a crossing pass.

Second Period, 1:00, Canadiens 3-1: The Bruins have begun this period just like the last one, as they’re back on their heels and having trouble getting out of their own zone.

Second Period, 0:00, Canadiens 3-1: The middle frame is under way in Montreal, and the Bruins have to hope this one will go a little better than that forgettable first period.

First Intermission Notes: It was a very rough start for the Bruins, who are being outshot, outworked and even outhit by the Habs through 20 minutes.

Montreal held a 17-9 edge in shots and only some strong saves by Tim Thomas have prevented this one from getting completely out of hand.

Tough first period for Greg Campbell, who was a minus-2 and took the retaliation penalty after P.K. Subban smoked Brad Marchand with a huge hit. The Habs scored just as Campbell stepped out of the box to go into the second up by two. Campbell was also 0 for 3 on faceoffs, while Boston as a team was 8-13 (38 percent).

New Canaan, Conn. native Max Pacioretty is having himself a night for the Habs, with four shots, a hit and a goal already in 4:44.

End First Period, Canadiens 3-1: That’s a period the Bruins would love to forget, as they came out flat and it cost them with two early Montreal goals.

And just when the Bruins started to get back on track, a retaliatory penalty led to another Montreal score as the Habs go into the break up by two.

First Period, 19:30, Canadiens 3-1: The Bruins kill off the penalty, but Montreal scores one second after Campbell gets out of the box.

Max Pacioretty sends a backhand out from along the goal line that hits off Andrew Ference in front and past Thomas, as the Habs extend the lead back to two goals.

First Period, 17:29, Canadiens 2-1: Marchand tries to make one too many moves, deking around two defenders, but then gets flattened by P.K. Subban with a clean but brutal open-ice hit.

Greg Campbell tries to go after Subban and draws the only penalty for roughing, putting the Habs on the power play. Marchand heads to the bench a bit shaken up from that full-speed collision.

First Period, 15:52, Canadiens 2-1: The Bruins finally strike back, as Blake Wheeler scores on a low-angle shot from the right side that just dribbles in over the line.

That came after Wheeler nearly scored while Mark Recchi provided a screen in front.

First Period, 15:19, Canadiens 2-0: Thomas comes up with another big save, sliding post to post to stop a one-timer by Benoit Pouliot from the right wing.

Thomas is keeping this one from becoming a complete rout, but the rest of the Bruins aren’t showing much to give hope of turning this one around.

First Period, 13:57, Canadiens 2-0: The Bruins still looking sloppy, but Thomas comes up with a huge save to rob Brian Gionta and keep the deficit from getting any worse.

First Period, 10:00, Canadiens 2-0: Lucic lines up Jaroslav Spacek for a big hit in front of the benches. Let’s see if that wakes up the Bruins at all.

First Period, 9:08, Canadiens 2-0: That TV timeout might be just what the Bruins need, as they need some time to collect themselves and regroup after a disastrous start in Montreal. 

First Period, 6:24, Canadiens 2-0: The Bruins are in a big trouble now, as Maxim Lapierre makes it 2-0 with a rebound at the right post.

Poor coverage in front by the Bruins defense, as Boston has come out very flat in this one.

First Period, 5:46, Canadiens 1-0: The Bruins can’t muster much on that power-play chance, and the sides are back at even strength.

First Period, 3:46, Canadiens 1-0: The Bruins finally get some pressure of their own from the Marc Savard, Michael Ryder and yes, Tyler Seguin line.

Ryder draws a hooking penalty on P.K. Subban to give the Bruins their first power play.

First Period, 1:04, Canadiens 1-0: The Habs strike first as Michael Cammalleri beats Thomas on a penalty shot.

Cammalleri was awarded the shot after a Milan Lucic turnover led to a breakaway, which Zdeno Chara was forced to break up with a grab from behind. Cammalleri used a fake to the backhand, then tucked in a forehand at the left post to beat Thomas.

First Period, 0:37, 0-0: First signs of the old rivalry, and a sure sign of the new NHL. Lapierre gives Thornton a shot after an offsides and Thornton immediately discards the gloves, but Lapierre wants nothing to do with it. No penalties called on the play.

First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And we’re finally under way in Montreal, where the Bruins and Habs are renewing their rivalry with first place in the Northeast Division on the line.

7:10 p.m.: Still waiting on the start for this one, but once it gets going the energy line of Brad Marchand, Greg Campbell and Shawn Thornton will start for Boston, along with Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk and defense and Tim Thomas in goal.

The Habs counter with Maxim Lapierre, Lars Eller and Mathieu Darche up front, old friend Hal Gill and Josh Gorges on the blue line and Carey Price in goal.

Montreal has scratched defenseman Yannick Weber and forward Tom Pyatt.

7 p.m.: Rest easy Tyler Seguin fans. The rookie forward is back in the lineup against Montreal after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday.

Seguin also missed Saturday’s game with Philadelphia with the flu, so this will be his first game action in a week.

Daniel Paille is back in the press box for this one.

6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Carey Price led their respective teams out for warm-ups, so it looks like the marquee netminding matchup will happen as expected.

Both Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille are on the ice for warm-ups, just as they were on Wednesday. So still no indication yet which way Claude Julien is leaning for his game-time decision there.

6 p.m.: The Bruins are in Montreal for the first time this season, looking to salvage a split in their two-game road trip after falling 3-2 in Buffalo Wednesday night.

Both teams scrapped the game-day skate after playing the night before, but Tim Thomas and Carey Price are expected to be in goal for this one.

For once, the goaltending question isn’t the biggest issue of the day. Instead, Bruins Nation eagerly awaits the word from Claude Julien on whether or not Tyler Seguin will be a healthy scratch again after sitting out the Sabres game. Julien said it will be a game-time decision whether he goes with Seguin or Daniel Paille.

Feel free to weigh in on the Seguin situation after reading my Instant Opinion on the matter, and check out a full breakdown of this matchup in our Facing Off feature. 

8 a.m.: The Bruins and Canadiens meet for the first time in Montreal this season on Thursday night, and there’s plenty on the line for both clubs.

Montreal holds just a two-point lead on the Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division, so a Boston victory will pull them even at 38 points apiece, with the Bruins still holding two games in hand.

But after a 2-0-1 homestand last week, the Bruins opened their current two-game road trip with a disappointing 3-2 loss in Buffalo on Wednesday. Montreal is also licking its wounds from a Wednesday loss, having fallen to Philadelphia 5-3 at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens rallied to tie the game 3-3 with two quick goals in the third, only to see the Flyers answer with two scores of their own for the win.

Unlike the clubs’ first meeting at the Garden on Nov. 11 when the Habs were waiting and rested in Boston while the Bruins played the night before in Pittsburgh, neither team will have had any extra rest for this one. The Habs won 3-1 that night in Boston, so the Bruins would love to turn the tables and ruin the Canadiens’ night on Montreal’s home ice.

The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.

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