BOSTON, MA – It was classic Boston-Montreal on Wednesday night at a raucous TD Garden. After falling behind, 2-0, the Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the second period, later went up 5-3, but ultimately fell to the Canadiens, 6-5, in a shootout. All coming after Montreal tied the game at 5 with 8.3 seconds left in regulation to send things to extra time.
Dougie Hamilton, who scored his fourth goal of the season in the loss, called the game one of the best he has been apart in his short stint at the NHL level.
“That was a pretty exciting game, I thought. Definitely compared to that,” he said, when asked if the game compared to the intensity of the games at the World Junior Tournament. “Probably one of the most fun games I’ve played in the NHL, until eight seconds left.
“I thought it was a really good atmosphere. It would have been nice to get the win, though.”
The game had a Game 7 level of intensity, and with the season winding down and the teams tied atop the Northeast Division with 45 points heading into the game, Hamilton acknowledged the importance of the game.
“I think so,” Hamilton said, when asked if the intensity of the games has picked up as the playoffs near. “I think you’re trying to make your final playoff push. I think, obviously, playing Montreal, too. We’re pretty close in the standings, so that was a pretty big game tonight.”
After Michael Ryder made it 4-3, 3:58 into the third period, the Bruins took back a two-goal lead when Tyler Seguin potted his eleventh goal of the season – a backanded snipe past Peter Budaj, who had replaced Carey Price after the second period – on a two-on-one.
The Canadiens stormed back, however, with rookie Brendan Gallagher scoring to make it 5-4, just 28 seconds later.
And with just 8.3 seconds left in regulation on the power play – following a delay-of-game penalty on Aaron Johnson – Andrei Markov tipped home the tying goal.
Overtime was scoreless, and so was the shootout – for five-and-a-half rounds. Rich Peverley was denied in the sixth round, before Gallagher scored the winner.
“I would tell you that tonight the lead that evaporated wasn’t the same as the other ones I’ve seen, we’ve totally collapsed as a team,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien, when asked why his team has had trouble closing out third period leads. “It’s an unfortunate break, with eight seconds left to tie the game. I don’t think we sat back, we had some chances to score. But I certainly don’t think we held back like we did probably in some other games.”
Hamilton was the one to get the B’s on the board, after they fell behind, 2-0, 2:53 into the second period. Thirty-nine seconds later, Tyler Seguin found Hamilton creeping in from the point, and the rookie fired a wrister from the slot past Carey Price.
“I saw some open ice in the slot and I saw Seguin coming around the net,” said Hamilton. “I just tried to get open there and I got the pass and looked up. I knew Price was down, but I looked up and he was still kind of down, so I just tried to get it up.”
The rising star dropped to one knee and delivered a massive fist pump after the goal.
“I think playing at home, I think anything you can do to get some momentum and get the crowd going a little bit,” Hamilton said of his celebration. “I don’t know really why I did that to be honest.
“I was watching [Alexander] Ovechkin, a video on him in his first couple of years, and that’s probably where that celly came from.
“It would have been a lot better if we won.”
The B’s went on to score three more goals in the second – Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Nathan Horton all netting scores.
Hamilton says the loss is disappointing, but that the team needs to move on and get ready for the playoffs.
“I think it’s pretty tough right now,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is happy in the room. We’ve definitely got to learn, and learn quick. The last couple of games that we’ve had leads and losing them, that’s happened a bunch of times this year, where we have to better.
“Hopefully, we can just keep getting better. I don’t know how many games we have left, but we’ve got to get ready for the playoffs.