Final, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins avoid any sort of mistake during the 4-on-4, and they somehow hold on to win this hockey game.
Given everything we saw in the first 40 minutes, this is a huge win for the B’s, who somehow found a way to win.
Third period, 19:26, Bruins 2-1: David Krejci gets called for a questionable holding penalty.
Third period, 18:58, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins’ attempt to come away with two points just got a little bit easier.
P.K. Subban takes a slashing penalty, and he’s sent off with just over a minute to play.
Third period, 18:00, Bruins 2-1: The Canadiens aren’t going away without a fight.
They’ve upped their intensity in the offensive end, and they’re making the Bruins work.
Third period, 14:40, Bruins 2-1: Montreal just got its best chance to tie the game, but it would appear the luck is no longer on their side.
David Desharnais gets a chance in front of the net, as Tuukka Rask is moving from his left to his right. Rask left the five-hole open, and Desharnais found the hole, but somehow missed the net. The puck slid through Rask’s legs and the crease, but it goes just wide of the right post.
Third period, 12:00, Bruins 2-1: There has been, relatively speaking, a ton of jump from the Bruins in the third period.
They’re more active on both ends of the ice, especially in the Montreal zone. They’re cycling the puck and skating well, and you can see that the line changes have really given them a jolt.
Third period, 7:44, Bruins 2-1: The B’s are starting to come alive phsyically as well, but they’re not crossing the line.
A mad rush in front of Tuukka Rask forced the goalie to cover the puck, but that didn’t stop the extracurricular activity from taking place. Right in the middle of the scrum was David Krejci who was doing some pushing and shoving.
Adam McQuaid and Brandon Prust started dancing a little bit, and it was clear that Prust wanted McQuaid to fight. However, the big Bruins defenseman showed good restraint in refusing to go.
There are times to fight, and this really isn’t one of them.
However, McQuaid and Brendan Gallagher get minor penalties — McQuaid for unsportsmanlike conduct (grabbing the visor) and Gallagher for roughing.
Third period, 5:08, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins’ already shorthanded penalty kill has to go to work again, this time without one of its best available killers.
Chris Kelly takes a holding penalty in the offensive zone, and the Habs are back on the power play.
Third period, 2:05, Bruins 2-1: Claude Julien deserves a lot of credit for reaching his breaking point with his offense and shaking things up.
In just a little over two minutes, the Bruins’ new top line of David Krejci, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic has two goals already.
This time, it’s Johnny Boychuk who got things started. The defenseman made a nice pass through the neutral zone to Seguin. He then dished it to his left to Lucic, and Lucic tosses it through the slot to Krejci who was driving the net and was able to hammer it by Carey Price.
Third period, 0:14, 1-1: The Bruins come out with some jump, and guess who’s leading the charge. Tyler Seguin.
The young forward comes in on his first shift and puts some pressure on the Canadiens’ defense, and it forces a turnover. David Krejci takes the puck and shovels it to the front of the net and Seguin puts it by Carey Price.
Interestingly, it looks like Claude Julien has juggled his lines. The B’s started the third period with a line of Seguin, Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Second period reaction: Well, once again, it’s tough to find anything positive from the Bruins right now, aside from the play of Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins put 11 shots on Carey Price in the second period after just four in the first, but good scoring chances were few and far between. It’s been a lethargic and, dare I say, soft effort from the Bruins thus far.
At some point, they’re going to need someone like Tyler Seguin to step up and carry them. There’s no denying that the Bruins are shorthanded with the injuries to the likes of Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. But if the Bruins can’t make up for the loss of two fourth-liners and one top-six forward without looking like a completely different team, they’re going to be in trouble.
They look disoriented out there. It’s going to take an increased effort and a willingness to go to the dirty areas and do it hard. It all starts with the forecheck, and that’s what it’s going to take to get things going.
End second period, Canadiens 1-0: The second period comes to an end with not much of anything for the Bruins.
Maybe they get a little bit of jump out of a scrum in the corner after the whistle between Adam McQuaid and Travis Moen. But then again, maybe they don’t.
Back in a few to break things down.
Second period, 18:30, Canadiens 1-0: The good news is that the Bruins are starting to show some positive elements of offensive play.
There’s a little bit of forechecking. There’s a little bit of going to the net. There’s a little bit of puck possession.
But there’s not enough of any of those all at once.
Second period, 16:30, Canadiens 1-0: Boston is able to kill of Milan Lucic’s dumb penalty.
The B’s did so with some help from Raphael Diaz, who made one poor decision on a dump-in and then was careless and weak with the puck in his own zone, allowing Gregory Campbell to break up the play.
Second period, 14:00, Canadiens 1-0: The Bruins are starting to get some shots on goal, but they’ve got nothing to show for it. The attempts haven’t been anything special, though.
The forechecking remains nonexistent, and it looks like the B’s are trying to win the hockey game without scoring a goal.
Of course, that’s impossible.
Things are about to get more difficult after Milan Lucic is called for his second penalty of the period. This time he’s guilty of slashing Andrei Markov.
Second period, 10:53, Canadiens 1-0: The Bruins’ poor play finally catches up to them, as it turns into some bad luck and gives the Canadiens an early lead.
P.K. Subban takes a shot from the right point that deflects off of Rich Peverley’s stick. The puck goes right up the stick and is launched at Tuukka Rask, and it beats the Bruins goaltender over his right shoulder and under the bar.
The power-play goal is Subban’s first goal of the season, in his third game after signing a new contract.
Second period, 8:56, 0-0: Milan Lucic seemingly harmlessly picks his stick up mid-stride in an attempt to get to the puck behind the Montreal net, but he ends up catching Andrei Markov in the face.
That costs Lucic and the Bruins, and he gets sent off for the high-sticking minor.
Second period, 6:51, 0-0: The Bruins’ power play shows a little bit of improvement in the second period, but that’s still not saying much.
They got a couple of shots on goal, one which came from a puck tossed on net by Dougie Hamilton that created a chance in front of the net, but they still have nothing to show for it.
All in all, it’s been a much better start to the period after the lackluster start to the first period.
Second period, 4:01, 0-0: Tomas Plekanec gets a dandy of an opportunity on a breakout all by himself, but he just loses handle of the puck while deking.
The missed opportunity was compounded as the B’s took it and went the other way with numbers. They couldn’t convert, but they caught the Canadiens in a bad change.
So bad, in fact, that Montreal gets a too many men penalty.
Second period, 0:54, 0-0: Carey Price robbed David Krejci following a give-and-go in what was Boston’s best opportunity of the night.
Just a few seconds later, the Bruins go back on the penalty kill after Johnny Boychuk gets called for tripping behind the Boston net.
First period reaction: The Bruins are lucky to be through 20 minutes and not be down by at least a goal or two.
That’s all because of Tuukka Rask, who was probably the only guy in a white sweater who had a good first period. Rask stopped 11 shots in the first, including a couple of big ones. The point-blank stop on Rene Bourque and the pad save on a Lars Eller on the breakaway stand out.
The B’s struggled to generate anything offensively. They have just four shots to show for it, and they didn’t test Carey Price until the period was more than half over. Once again, those offensive issues were rooted in the power play. The B’s were 0-for-2 on the man-advantage with a grand total of zero shots on goal during those power-play opportunities.
The one good shift that stands out from the first period was from the altered Patrice Bergeron line, which features the center alongside Tyler Seguin and Gregory Campbell in Brad Marchand’s stead. That line brought at least some forechecking intensity during one of their shifts. But if that’s what we’re looking at in terms of positives, you know it wasn’t a very successful period.
End first period, 0-0: The first period comes to a close with Chris Kelly heading to the locker room early. That’s potentially bad news as it is, but it’s even worse given the rash of injuries the B’s are dealing with right now.
More on the first period in a bit.
First period, 18:53, 0-0: Nothing at all for the Bruins on the power play, one of their worst of the season — which is saying a lot.
First period, 16:53, 0-0: The Boston power play goes back to work after P.K. Subban is given a holding penalty.
First period, 15:58, 0-0: Patrice Bergeron makes it at least seem like the Bruins are in the building with the best Boston shift of the game.
Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Gregory Campbell are able to get a forecheck established, and it turns into a few chances and a couple of shots on goal. A Johnny Boychuk shot from the right dot appeared to handcuff Carey Price some before it hit his catching glove and hit the crossbar.
First period, 11:41, 0-0: The Bruins have a shot on goal. It only took 11 minutes. That about sums up the first 11 minutes of this game.
First period, 9:17, 0-0: The Canadiens are all over the Bruins in the early going, and the only reason they don’t have a lead is because of Tuukka Rask.
The B’s goalie just came up with this biggest save after he stoned Lars Eller on a breakaway. Eller got the breakaway after chipping the puck through the neutral zone, and then beating a diving Johnny Boychuk to the loose puck. Boychuk was the last line of defense, and after taking himself out of the play with the dive, he left Eller all alone with Rask, but the netminder made a right pad save.
First period, 6:14, 0-0: The Bruins have nothing to show for the power play, and they end up getting a penalty of their own before the power play expires.
Tyler Seguin held Brandon Prust on a breakaway after Zdeno Chara saw his shot blocked in the offensive end.
Now the Bruins will have to slow down a Montreal power play that has scored in all but one game this season.
First period, 4:21, 0-0: The Canadiens have come out firing, but Tuukka Rask keeps them scoreless.
Montreal almost got the game’s first goal, but Dennis Seidenberg was able to clear the loose puck out of the crease. Seconds later, Rene Bourque had a chance to score from the right side, but Rask made a pad save.
That all led to Bourque barreling into Rask and getting a goaltender interference call. So the Bruins actually get a power play out of it.
First period, 1:49, 0-0: The Canadiens get the game’s first scoring chance thanks to good play in all three zones.
Travis Moen blocked a shot in his own end, and that started the breakout for the Habs. Lars Eller was able to get Tuukka Rask to come out of his crease. After Rask committed to Eller, the Montreal forward passed it across to Colby Armstrong. The former Penguins forward had an open cage, but he missed wide, thanks in part to good hustle from Andrew Ference and Chris Bourque.
First period, 0:50, 0-0: The Bruins and Canadiens are under way from the Bell Centre for the first time this season.
7:36 p.m.: The Bruins will start with the David Krejci line and Zdeno Chara/Johnny Boychuk defensive pairing.
7:27 p.m.: According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, Carey Price took a Lars Eller shot in warmups in “the groin area.”
7:05 p.m.: No surprise, but it looks like it’s going to be Tuukka Rask versus Carey Price in the two teams’ first meetings of the season. No surprises there.
6:50 p.m.: Tuukka Rask likely gets the start for the Bruins in this one. If he does, he’ll be looking to change his fortunes against the Habs.
Rask has lost his last five starts against the Canadiens, and he hasn’t even faced them since October of 2011.
Carey Price, on the other hand, is no stranger to facing the Bruins. He’ll likely make his 26th appearance against the B’s. He’s been successful, too, going 15-7-3 with a 2.54 goals against average. He’s never shut out the Bruins, though.
In fact, the Canadiens haven’t shut out Boston since April 3, 2007.
6:40 p.m.: By the way, here’s what head coach Claude Julien had to say about the absence of Brad Marchand, according to the Bruins’ website.
“We’re going to hold him back, and we’re going to keep our fingers crossed that he’s in next game. He’s that close. It’s a matter of days here — it’s not as serious as most injuries. We’re being extra cautious early on in the season.”
5:20 p.m.: It’s interesting to note that the Canadiens have gotten a little bit tougher this season.
They did that, most notably, by signing Brandon Prust this summer. He’s a noted tough guy, and he’s hit the ground running in that department this season. Prust already has 46 penalty minutes, which is good for second in the league.
Fellow bruiser Ryan White isn’t far behind. He’s been assessed 42 PIM, which is fourth in the league.
That means there are two Habs in the top four in that statistic, which is quite the rarity. In fact, they haven’t had one player in the top 20 in penalty minutes in any of the past three seasons.
We should note, however, that White won’t play Wednesday night. He’s a healthy scratch.
4:30 p.m.: Let’s take a closer look at what the Bruins will be dealing with when they take on the Canadiens.
The Habs, as mentioned earlier, have opened some eyes this season with their fast start. They’ve turned it on especially once the calendar flipped to February. Montreal has picked up a pair of wins of so far, both against divisional rivals.
They steamrolled the Sabres, the same Sabres that handed the Bruins their only loss in regulation this season, 6-1 on Feb. 2. That game featured a pair of goals from both Rene Bourque and David Desharnais, while Lars Eller had a three-point night with a goal and a pair of assists.
Montreal followed that up with an impressive showing from Carey Price in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators the next night. Price stopped 32 shots, while Max Pacioretty assisted on a Desharnais goal on Pacioretty’s first shift after returning from an appendectomy (eight days after the surgery).
So there’s no denying the Habs are coming in riding high. They know what’s at stake, too. Not only they can grab two points against a divisional opponent, they can actually leap-frog the Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division.
4 p.m.: We’re still about three hours from playing some hockey up in Montreal. When that does happen, it will mark Dougie Hamilton’s first matchup in the storied rivalry.
We’ll use that as a transition into a conversation I had a little earlier in the day. I spoke with Hamilton’s first junior coach, Mike McCourt, who coached Hamilton in his first season with the Niagara IceDogs.
We’ll have much more on that in the coming days or weeks perhaps (spoiler alert), but here’s a small sampling.
On his work ethic:
“He’s kind of a perfectionist in terms of how he carries himself. He’s a kid who maximizes practice time. Certainly in the game that translates. He’s a kid who wants to do everything and do it to the best of his ability. He strives to be that. He’s a 99 percent student and anything he tackles in life he applies himself wholeheartedly. Hockey is a byproduct of that. Everything he does, like I said, he applies himself and gets the most out of it.”
McCourt also said he saw a lot of another former IceDogs defenseman, Blues d-man Alex Pietrangelo, in Hamilton.
Like I said, there will be more on this soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
1:07 p.m.: It’s official: Brad Marchand will not play Wednesday night against the Canadiens.
Claude Julien just got done talking with reporters, where he announced that. Julien said the club is hopeful that Marchand will play Saturday against the Lightning, but only time will tell.
11:37 p.m.: According to the Bruins’ Twitter account, Gregory Campbell is skating alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, meaning Brad Marchand is likely out of Wednesday night’s game in Montreal.
Ryan Spooner is centering a fourth line of Tardif and MacDermid, making the merlot line an all-P-Bruins string.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins and Canadiens (finally) renew their rivalry on Wednesday night when the B’s head north to take on the Habs for the first time in this shortened season. It’s a bit surprising that we had to wait this long, perhaps, but after eight games, the Bruins tangle with the Canadiens for the first time in 2013.
It’s a rather important game, as all divisional games are, but this one takes on added importance given Montreal’s fast start. The Habs, under new (sort of) head coach Michel Therien, have surpassed expectations thus far. They enter Wednesday night’s game with the Bruins just a point back in the Northeast Division, winners of two in a row.
That start is even more impressive when you consider they’ve done it for the most part without P.K. Subban. The Habs signed the restricted free agent last week to a new two-year deal, and the defenseman is now back in the fold.
It’s likely going to be a special teams battle on Wednesday night in Montreal. The Bruins have the No. 2 penalty kill (just 0.3 percent below top-ranked Chicago), while Montreal comes in with a top-10 power play that has already scored 11 power-play goals. The Habs are likely to get those chances, too, as they’ve been handed a league-high 34 power plays at home.
Complicating matters for the Bruins is their injury situation. They will be without one of their best penalty killers yet again, as Daniel Paille won’t make the trip to Montreal. He’ll miss his second game in a row with an upper-body injury after taking a stick up high last Thursday against Buffalo. That will shift responsibilities of penalty killers, of course. The Bruins will have to hope that Brad Marchand, who returned to practice Tuesday, will be able to go on Wednesday night.
Shawn Thornton is expected to miss the game as well. He didn’t travel with the team and remains out with a concussion.
Puck drop at Bell Centre is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Be sure to check in for updates throughout the day and join us for all of the B’s-Habs action in the latest chapter of the game’s best rivalry.