BostonBruins.com – The Bruins and Canadiens were playing for the top spot in the Northeast Division on Saturday night, as was the case in first three contests between the rivals this season. The first three meetings, too, were all decided by one goal – and Saturday was no different.
The Canadiens got out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, and held on for a 2-1 victory, to take three out of four in the season series and retain their lead in the division. The Habs (55 points) now hold a three-point cushion over the B’s for the top spot.
There was not a pretty goal in the game, all three coming off of deflections. The first came at 6:49 of the first, when Habs’ rookie Alex Galchenyuk threw a shot, from behind the net, off of Tuukka Rask, who was on his side in the crease. The puck bounced off of Rask and defenseman Matt Bartkowski and into the net.
The second goal came just 57 seconds into the middle frame, when P.K. Subban fired one at the Boston net, that was tipped by Michael Ryder as he drove through the slot, and then hit off of Dennis Seidenberg, who was down on one knee trying to block the shot.
And the third, which got the Bruins on the board at 7:10 of the second, glanced off of Daniel Paille’s midsection after a Johnny Boychuk wrist shot from the point.
“I think we battled back,” said Rask, who stopped 27 of 29 shots. “They got the lead, but then we kind of got better, we just couldn't get the puck in the net. That's it. You can look at all those three goals scored. I think if you asked me or [Habs’ goalie Carey] Price, it should have been a 0-0 game.”
After the game, the Bruins talked about their slow start in the first period being killer. The Black & Gold played better in the second and third periods, but still had trouble finding the back of the net, and failed to register a shot on goal during a power play in the final minute of the game, in which they also had Rask pulled, setting up a six-on-four advantage.
“We recognized that we have to be better and get some more shots,” said Rask after the loss. “We got pressure going, got some forecheck going there in the second. They didn't get too much pressure on us, but we weren't able to get the puck in the net.”
Jaromir Jagr was switched off of his line with Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin early on in the game and was placed on the right wing alongside Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, creating more of a balanced attack for the B’s.
“Well, we just didn't play well the first period,” explained Jagr. “I'm happy about the way we played in the second and third. We've got to play like that the rest of the season, we're going to be a good team [if we do]. It's going to be tough to beat us. We just have to play the way we did in the second and third, not like we played the first.
“We didn't play well in the first period, that was the killer for us. The way we played in the second, especially the second, we played together, we wanted the puck, the forwards wanted the puck. That's the way we have to play and we'll be OK.”
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien felt that his team had chances to come back and win the game, but on a night where the bounces didn’t go the way of the Black & Gold, it was tough to battle back.
“Just a tough game,” said Julien. “All the goals coming off of our players, all three of them. It was one of those games – no pretty goals. I thought we were better as the game went on, but not enough.”
“We had a tough start, but again, unfortunate bounces,” added the B’s bench boss. “Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. Three, I would call, ugly goals, all off our players. But we played well enough that we could've got ourselves back in the game. We've just got to be a little bit better, a little heavier in our game, which we seemed to do as the game went on.
“But it was one of those nights where the breaks weren't going to go our way.”