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Game Day: Boston @ Montreal

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Moral victory? Maybe. Big point? Oh yah.

Boston is now 1-1-1 going into this weekend's tilt with the Sens.

Last year, Boston broke their campaign down to five game sets. This set could still go either way, but wouldn't it be sweet to come back to the TD Banknorth Garden over .500?

Keep a look out on the front page for the recap, etc. ICan't wait to talk to Marc Savard in the morning. JB
End of Game: Habs win game, 4-3.

Bos, Ryder - save Price.

Mtl, Tanguay - goal. Habs lead 1-0.

Bos, Bergeron - save Price.

Mtl, Markov - save Thomas.

Bos, Kessel - miss.
0:00 - End of OT. Going to Shootout.

26.7 - A shot into the net puts a faceoff in the CHC zone. B's timeout.

1:27 - Thomas stops a four-on-one break. Ugh.

2:07 - Heart attack city, Thomas has an adventure, the puck comes loose, but Lapierre shoots wide.

2:52 - After a tough shift, Krejci gains the puck and slows the Bruins down so they can regroup.

4:17 - Ryder with a big test of Price, who looks behind him, but has the puck covered.

5:00 - Start of OT.
01.00 - Thomas stops Kovalev on a breakaway. Phew.

47.2 - SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVVY! What a great break for Boston. Savard gathers a puck that bounces to the front of Price's vacated net after a dump in. Goal Boston. 3-3 game.

1:22 - Wheeler helps keep the B's in the Montreal zone with an interception of an outlet pass.

2:55 - A very nice rush by Kessel has the youngster sending a tough shot on Price who, again, holds on.

6:04 - Savard puts a wrist shot on Price, who holds on for the faceoff. Nothing comes of it for Boston.

7:56 - Krejci lost his stick and Montreal had the run of the place for about 30-seconds, that is until one of the Canadiens put it into the stands. Phew!

9:58 - Ryder comes very close to tying it up off a feed from Savard from Gretzky's office.

12:48 - A five-on-four goal from Savard (his 4th), puts the B's behind by just one. Montreal, 3-2.

13:10 - Huge shot by Chara gloved by Price.

13:35 - Another Canadien in the box gives the B's a 44-second five-on-three.

14:51 - Boston on the PP.

15:22 - Timmy just made saves on Kovalev and Plekanec to keep Boston in the game.

17:00 - Boston has controlled the play in the third. Good work by Sobotka and Thornton lead to a good scoring chance. They have two shots, already.

19:59 - Montreal wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the Third Period.
0:00 - The B's played much better in the second period, but need to come out even harder in the second. They also need to STAY OUT OF THE BOX.

2:25 - This time Ward is in the box. Hopefully Boston is good for another kill.

4:31 - With the penalty over, Ference and Bruins work their way back into the Montreal zone. Ference shoots and Price hangs on for the whistle.

6:51 - Stuart in the box. I guess it is a penalty to be stronger than another player.

7:57 - The Bruins have to take advantage of those power plays. they have played better, but still have two goals to make up...

9:35 - Timmy saves the day, again. Lapierre was on the doorstep and almost got another shortie.

11:20 - Montreal's Hamrlik is in the box. B's on the PP, again. Komisarek and Lucic are got a minor and a ten, each.

12:45 - David Krejci just launched one past Price. Thank goodness. It's 3-1, with plenty of time to play.

14:53 - Boston on the PP. B's really need to score soon.

16:43 - Two more saves by Thomas, who has settled down. But the rest of his club has to follow suit.

17:48 - Two saves by Thomas, but Lucic is called for a minor.

18:14 - The Habs continue to control the play.

19:59 - Montreal controls the faceoff.

20:00 - Beginning of the Second Period.
0:00 - For 15:06, it was all Black & Gold. Le bleu, blanc et rouge took over from there. Plenty of time left, but the turnaround would have to start immediately.

57.8 - Ference finally tests Price, who had stopped Wideman seconds earlier.

1:35 - Oh man. Lapierre with a shorthanded goal. The Bruins got bottled in their own zone. 3-0, Montreal. Three goals in 3:19, says NESN's Jack Edwards.

2:36 - S. Kostitsyn in the box for a slash.

3:22 - Koivu picks up the garbage after Latendresse fires a shot into Thomas' pads. The rebound goes to Saku, who buried it. 2-0, Montreal.

4:54 - Kovalev, just 15-seconds after the call, caught the Bruins flat on Thomas' near post. 1-0, Montreal. A give and go play between Plekanec and Kovalev.

5:16 - Wideman takes out one of the Kostitsyn brothers, but then falls prey to the whistle and ends up in the box with a penalty after the Canadien held him and Dennis hit him.

7:20 - Nice play by Wheeler, Krejci and Lucic (with the shot), turned away by Carey Price.

8:22 - It wasn't pretty, but Timmy just made a big save that sent a Canadiens player into the corner.

9:09 - I agree with Jack Edwards, as he said that the Bruins are outplaying Montreal right now.

12:53 - Diving block by Ward!

13:10 - A decent power play for Boston, with at least two scoring opportunities. No goals yet, though. Congrats to Aaron Ward for playing in his 700th game!

15:10 - A Hab in the box. Boston on the first PP.

17:32 - Gutsy performance for Shawn Thornton, who handled himself very well against the much bigger Georges Laraque in a very exciting heavyweight battle. Laraque landed morn punches -- several of the jabby or rabbit variety -- but the quality punches were about even, with Thornton garnering a quick takedown before Laraque regained his feet.

17:52 - First save for Tim Thomas.

19:23 - Bergeron looked like he was shot out of a cannon on his first shift. Lucic looked to have a hit in his first, as well.

19:59 - Montreal controlled the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. But first, the Bruins are waiting out the opening ceremonies.

Let's switch to time on the clock...

7:05 p.m.
Tim Thomas will be in goal. Nokelainen and Hnidy are the scratches.

NESN puts the lines out like this:
Axelsson - Savard - Ryder
Sturm - Bergeron - Kessel
Lucic - Krejci - Wheeler
Sobotka - Yelle - Thornton
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hunwick

As you can see, the only changes are the insertion of Sobotka on the fourth line and Hunwick into the defense corps.

6:57 p.m.
Just like you, I'm settling in to watch the big game. Nice job to NESN for putting on a nice cassic win over the Habs to warm up the night.

NESN is reporting that Vladimir Sobotka will be on the fourth line.

12:26 p.m.
Both (The Montreal Gazette's Canadiens blog) and's Bruins Blog (penned by Fluto Shinzawa) report that Georges Laraque will play tonight in place of Steve Begin.

This could signify that we will have at least one heavyweight scrap tonight. But who might be the Bruins challenger?

Chara and Laraque square off.
The odds on favorite is Shawn Thornton, who might have to answer the bell for his go-around with Begin in Halifax during the preseason, and who often took on the opposition's best and toughest brawlers, last season.

But since Bruins captain Zdeno Chara attempted to fight Georges twice last year (in the same game) and neither bout lasted very long, it would not shock me if the two men decided to have another go at some fisticuffs.

However, if the Bruins are reading Sports Illustrated's hockey preview, they might find the spot (on page 59 of the Oct. 13th issue on the far right hand side in the second graph) where Montreal head coach Guy Charbonneau said, "(Milan) Lucic played his role to perfection in the playoffs, trying to get into (Mike) Komisarek's head...I'm sure with a guy like Georges around, Lucic will stay a little quieter."

To which Lucic replied to the New England Hockey Journal's Matt Kalman, "I don't know if I'm going to be any less physical...I don't think there's any reason to be scared, to be perfectly honest. But there's no reason to get in a war of works here. There's not much really I can say about that."

As experienced and tough as Luch is -- and there's no doubt it might happen down the road -- it might be a stretch to expect the sophomore to go with Big George. But hey, stranger things have happened. In any case, it makes tonight's game that much more interesting.

What's more interesting is how all of the writers up in Montreal have time to write anything, what with the trips to Dunn's and Schwartz's for smoked meat sandwiches. Hmmmmm?

By the way, between snacks, Fluto (a bonified and respected foodie) had time to predict Montreal's lines, thusly:

Andrei Kostitsyn - Tomas Plekanec - Alex Kovalev
Alex Tanguay - Saku Koivu - Guillaume Latendresse
Tom Kostopoulos - Robert Lang - Sergei Kostitsyn
Georges Laraque - Maxim Lapierre - Mathieu Dandenault
Andrei Markov  - Mike Komisarek
Roman Hamrlik - Ryan O'Byrne
Josh Gorges - Patrice Brisebois
Carey Price
Jaroslav Halak

We're awaiting word on the Boston starter and I'll have the B's lines near gametime. JB

10:48 a.m.
Game Notes: Printable Version
 View or download a printable version of this release. (PDF)
The Bruins are in Montreal and are getting prepared for the game day skate scheduled to take place during the 11 o'clock hour.

As defenseman Aaron Ward wrote in his blog:
"It’s good to be playing on the East Coast again against a familiar team. I feel like I can close my eyes and replay every shift, every moment of every game we played against Montreal last year, so I think it’s comforting to know that there’s shouldn’t be a whole lot of surprises coming at you.

You’re back in the Eastern Conference playing an Eastern Conference team and we’re really looking forward to playing against the Habs in Montreal tonight.

I think that knowing that this is a big game -- a rivalry game -- we should have learned a lot from last year, from our mistakes, considering we put ourselves behind the eight ball many times with penalties.

It’s the score at the end of the game that matters. That’s the one that will be remembered, not if you took a guy’s head off or evened a score from a previous game.

Nothing else relevant – it’s the two points in the standings and the team’s outcome that matters. So I think it’s key that we draw upon our most recent experiences: patience, composure, discipline, because we’ve got to know if you give them an inch, they’re going to take a mile.

Clearly, Boston had already learned from their mistakes during the 2007-08 regular season when they met during the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so it would make sense that this regular season should be played more like the latter.

"Last year, we went oh for eight during the regular season and we don't want to forget that," said forward David Krejci. "We have to hit them right away, right from the start.

"We can't let them do to us what they did (last season).

"And if we do our best, I am sure that we have a good chance to win," he said."

Goalie Tim Thomas, who has the inside track on tonight's start, was asked if there was a tendency to get too hyped up for an Original Six game and he said, "No, I don't think it's Original Six, per see as it is just Montreal.

"It's a huge rivalry, obviously, (as you saw) in the playoffs last year. And if you count preseason we played them 17 times last season. So, it's almost impossible not to build a huge rivalry.

"And on top of that, Boston and Montreal have always had that anyways," said Tim, who agreed that emotions will be flowing regardless of the early date in the season.

'There can be a tendency to get too fired up, but you have to focus on going out and playing your game."

Sobotka and Hunwick Drive up 95 and Fly up to Montreal
Boston Bruins head coach Julien spoke about his two "new" parts, both of whom arrived special delivery on Tuesday morning.

“I think, when you look at Matt Hunwick, everybody notices how he’s got such good mobility,” said Julien. “He’s a good skater, and he’s got great mobility and he’s gotten stronger…since the beginning of last year.

“His decisions on the ice have to be a little quicker…in order for him to really improve to the level that we want him to.

“If he can get that part of his game better, he’s going to be a real good defenseman in this league,” he said.

Sobotka had already made some noise in Providence this year and on Sunday earned the first “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (a goal, an assist and a fight) of his career.

“With Vlad, again, we talked about the numbers game, and unfortunately, he had to go down there for a while when we had to cut our roster down,” said Coach. “But he had a good attitude

“He’s a gritty player. He’s in your face, and no matter what size he is, he plays six-foot plus every night. He plays hard…and that’s part of our identity

“We need guys like that in our lineup.”

However, Coach Julien wasn’t sure when they would be in the lineup.

“I haven’t made my final decision,” he said, before he added that the club had not brought them up to put them on the shelf. “But if we don’t see them tomorrow night, we definitely will at some point.”
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