The B’s (27-23-11) led 1-0 after an evenly played first two periods, but the Canadiens (30-28-6) took total control of the game in the third, outshooting Boston 14-7 and registering 10 scoring chances to the Bruins’ two in the frame.
Former Bruin Glen Metropolit led Montreal’s late-game surge. He tied the game at one early in the third when he streaked into the slot untouched and buried a centering pass from Tom Pyatt. With two and a half minutes remaining, Metropolit helped put the game out of reach when he stickhandled his way to the front and threw a one-handed shot on net that led to a rebound goal for Mathieu Darche.
Between those two goals, Maxim Lapierre scored what proved to be the game-winner. After Travis Moen won a race to a loose puck on the left wing and threw a shot on net, Lapierre was able to bang home the rebound.
Benoit Pouliot sealed the game with an empty-netter that came as Tuukka Rask (28 saves) was skating to the bench.
Marco Sturm had the lone goal for Boston, his team-leading 19th tally of the season. On the power play, Zdeno Chara threw a simple wrist shot through Sturm’s screen. The puck trickled behind Carey Price (23 saves) and Sturm was able to reach around him and push it in with one hand on his stick.
With the win, the Canadiens leapfrogged the B’s for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Boston, who is just 1-4 against Montreal this season, is now in a virtual tie with the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Canadiens 4, Bruins 1
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
March 2, 2010
Headliner: Metropolit, who played in all 82 games for Boston in 2007-08, has turned into a Bruins killer this season. He now has four goals in five games against the B’s, and three of them have either tied the game or put the Canadiens ahead. The 35-year-old veteran has a career-high 14 goals this season.
Grinder: Allowing three goals on 31 shots is nothing to write home about, but Rask made a number of big saves to keep his team in the game. Montreal threatened to tie the game throughout the second period, but the 22-year-old stood tall to preserve the 1-0 lead. Most notable among those stops was a kick save on a Moen one-timer from the low slot.
The three goals he allowed in the third were more the results of defensive breakdowns than mistakes on Rask’s part. There’s not a whole lot a goalie can do when guys are allowed to camp out at the top of the crease without being bothered.
Weak Link: Building off that last sentence, the Bruins defense was most to blame for the team’s third-period collapse. Mark Stuart couldn’t catch up to Metropolit on the tying goal. On the go-ahead goal, Andrew Ference lost a foot race to Moen down the wing and Matt Hunwick failed to pick up Lapierre on the rebound. Ference and Hunwick were on the ice for Montreal’s third goal as well.
Key Moment: The B’s missed a number of opportunities to extend their lead in the second, but the one that sticks out most was a 3-on-1 that failed to produce a shot on goal. Marc Savard fed Mark Recchi on the right wing upon entering the zone. The veteran winger held the puck before sending back a saucer pass that Savard sent wide. The play failed because Recchi stayed wide instead of cutting to the net and Savard and Daniel Paille ended up essentially on top of each other, giving Recchi one passing option rather than the two he should’ve had.
Up Next: The Bruins host another division rival on Thursday when old friend Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs visit TD Garden. It will be the teams’ first meeting since playing each other three times in 15 days back in December. The B’s dominated the first two rounds of “Kessel Mania,” outscoring Toronto 12-4 in a pair of wins. But the Leafs answered back in the third matchup, earning a 2-0 shutout.
The benefits of a win over Toronto are two-fold — it would obviously help Boston’s playoff chances, but it would also help its lottery chances in this year’s draft because the B’s own the Leafs’ first-round pick as a result of the Kessel trade. At 19-32-11, Toronto currently has the second-worst record in the NHL, better than only the Oilers.