Final: Montreal 4, Boston 3
Recap: As is often the case against the Canadiens, the Bruins fell behind in the first period. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring at the 9:57 mark, with the primary assist going to ex-Bruin Michael Ryder. Boston responded 50 seconds later with a goal from Tyler Seguin but, just 16 ticks after that, David Desharnais' shot/pass in Max Pacioretty's direction redirected off Johnny Boychuk and past Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins upped their game in the second. In a play similar to the Desharnais goal, Seguin found Patrice Bergeron near the top of the crease. He backhanded the puck past Peter Budaj to tie things up. At the 9:20 mark of the frame, Dougie Hamilton absolutely sniped one from a bad angle to give the B's the lead.
With Zdeno Chara out of action for 17 minutes, thanks to his pummeling of Alexei Emelin's mug in the second period, the Bruins looked disjointed in the third. Pacioretty evened things up with 5:31 gone and Desharnais put the Habs back on top with 10:43 left in regulation. Budaj stopped all 10 shots he faced in the final frame and handed the Black and Gold just their third regulation loss of the season.
Records: Montreal 14-4-4, 32 points; Boston 14-3-2, 30 points
Key Play of the Game: The game-winner was just all kinds of ugly. Rask didn't stop the initial shot cleanly, then failed to get back to block Pacioretty's bid from the side of the net. The puck trickled into the crease and Desharnais swooped in to slam it home.
Connolly's Commendations: The Bergeron line is just on an absolute roll. Alongside Seguin and Brad Marchand, No. 37 led the offensive charge for the B's, notching a goal and two assists. The trio combined for eight points.
Connolly's Critiques: Four goals on 26 shots doesn't sound so hot. Two goals on four shots -- Rask's stats in the third -- is considerably worse. Tough night for Tuukka, who's had his fair share of struggles in his career against Montreal.
It's hard to decide who had a worse go of it in the final 20 minutes of play: Rask or the third line? Dan Paille, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley were all on the ice for each of the Habs' tallies in the third. They each finished the evening minus-2.
Notes: This was the first time Montreal didn't have Carey Price in goal for a game against the Bruins in nearly three years. It was Budaj's second career start in Boston, the last coming in March of 2007 when he was with the Avs. Chris Bourque was the healthy scratch for the B's.
Final Thoughts: The Bruins, quite simply, should've had this one. After playing well for the first 40 minutes of play -- which were mighty entertaining, I might add -- the wheels just fell off in the third. Maybe they were gassed, given it was their third game in four nights. Whatever the case may be, the frustration was evident in the locker room.
Next: The Bruins will now head down to D.C. to square off with the Capitals Tuesday night.