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Game Night: Bruins @ Canadiens

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, center, is congratulated by teammates after the Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout in an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

Wheeler scores against Price.
Thomas stops Kovalev.
Price stops Kessel.
Thomas stops Markov.
Price stops Bergeron.
Thomas stops Koivu.
Bruins win, 3-2.

A very, very nice shootout win. Wooooooooo!
0:00 - Savvy wins the faceoff and sends the game to a shootout.

7.1 - Timmy makes a nice save to calm things down, late. Montreal takes the time out.

1:19 - Following a near Steve Smith moment for Hunwick, he gets the puck to Kessel who makes Price stop a tough wrister.

2:39 - Nice steal by Krejci (from Saku) who ends the Habs best chance of the extra session.

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.
3:33 - Bergeron and Ryder have some fun along the boards in the Montreal zone and finally, Bergy feeds Hnidy. His shot is stopped by Price.

4:33 - Phil almost had a breakaway the other way as he momentarilty broke up a MTL play in the neutral zone.

5:00 - Overtime. Four-on-four hockey. Right now it means more to MTL, so have some fun with it, Boston.
0:00 - The Bruins are in first thanks to the point. And have a chance to add one more in the OT.

5.7 - Wideman knocked into the goal and there'll be at least one more faceoff in the B's zone. Boston calls time out to think about it.

49.8 - B's offsides...

1:22 - Montreal's turn.

1:44 - Boston dumps deep...

2:25 - Price stops the latest B's bid by Bergeron.

2:38 - Icing Montreal.

3:05 - It was coming. It happened. Kostopoulos scored. 2-2. Nothing Tim could do.

3:49 - Markov had an open net and missed. Heart hurting...

4:31 - Habs back at full-strength.

5:39 - B's full-strength.

6:39 - Thank you Robert Lang, who gifts the B's with a slash. It's four-on-four for :57 and then the B's get a PP.

7:42 - Kostitsyn goes down. Savard goes to the box. Ugh. PP for the Habs.

7:57 - The Tank stops O'Byrne, this time.

8:00 - Tim stopped another Kostitsyn try. Stuart creams one of the Habs and takes out the goal.

8:57 - Thomas fends off a Kostitsyn.

9:11 - Stoppage. Shots are 19-18, MTL. Apparenty Montreal leads in hits 39-14.

10:01 - Timmy holds on with Begin in his face. A pile up, nothing else.

10:19 - Hunwick SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORES! He beat Price, five-hole. Boston held on until they had a nice chance and really did a nice job. Wow. 2-1, Bruins.

10:46 - Thomas with a sprawling save. Axelsson sends it away.

12:19 - Tim stops Markov and holds on.

12:46 - Stuart "interferes" with G. Laraque. MTL PP.

14:07 - A big clear by Boston, who were in trouble in front of Tim.

15:22 - Thomas stops Kovalev missed...huge.

17:33 - After Koivu cleans out Wideman, Phil Kessel and Saku end up in a pile up. Both go to the box.

18:33 - Boston stops an early chance by MTL and clears the zone. Phew.

19:59 - The Habs win the draw.

20:00 - Start of the Third. That second half of the second was excellent.
Montreal Canadiens' Francis Bouillon loses his helmet as he is hammered into the boards by Boston Bruins' Michael Ryder during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
0:00 - Lots to be happy about. A goal. A tied score. And hey, for whatever reason (fatigue?) the B's haven't yet put a full 20-minutes together. SO, the third period looks pretty interesting.

Shots are 18-17, thus far.

1:53 - Hand pass call on a would-be Bruins goal. My question, if a Canadien touched it after Phil gloved it -- is it a hand pass? It looked like both Price and a defender touched the puck after Kessel, at least at first glance at the replay.

Oh well. Still 1-1.

2:26 - I think Chuck hit the post on a three-on-two.

4:11 - Timmy follows suit. Some excellent goaltending.

7:05 - A difficult save by Price.

8:17 - Lang in the box for a slash. Another break? B's on the PP.

8:49 - There's the B's break folks. A missed check by O'Byrne allows Kessel to get a sweet pass to Lucic and the big guy scores into a nearly open net. 1-1. Lots of boooos. Ha.

9:36 - Chara breaks up a Canadiens play in the Boston zone.

10:10 - Another save for Thomas. The Bruins may be a bit tired and that may account for the CHC's continued control of the tempo. A lucky break is really neaded -- maybe some Boston Garden ghosts made the trip to Quebec.

12:16 - Tim stops Koivu.

12:51 - Krejci takes down Plekanec. Gets a penalty. Apparently David has gotten much stronger...

13:29 - Kess tests Price. Carey kicks it to his right. That's better.

14:11 - The game looks very much like a "Montreal style" game right now. The B's really need to take control, slow the pace down and hit harder.

15:28 - Carey holds on for another draw. Thornton and Begin are talking.

16:26 - Price bobbles a save. A good sign...

17:06 - Icing Boston. Savard and Bouillon exchange slashes.

18:29 - The B's seemed to sleepwalk in the first couple of shifts, and Montreal responded early. One of the Kostitsyns picked up a rebound and put it by Timmy. 1-0, Montreal.

19:40 - Some early action in front of the Hab's net. No shot, though.

20:00 - Start of the Second. More of the same. But hit the net.
Boston Bruins; Milan Lucic celebrates after scoring, as Montreal Canadiens' Alex Kovalev, of Russia, looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
FYI: NHL headquarters says they are having troubles with a bunch of things. So, if is acting strangely, it's probably not your computer.

0:00 - A nice period by Boston. Good job by Milan to not go with Laraque. I think that the Habs are focusing on him and that means that, eventually, someone will be left free. A low scoring game is just the tonic for the B's, and I am impressed with the number of good chances the Bruins have had on Price -- just have to finish. Shots are 6-6. Hits are 21-7?

15.3 - Kovalev stumbles. The ice must be a factor.

55.3 - Price goes down in a heap...not sure what happened there, but he gets up.

Lucic and Laraque are "talking" before the ensuing faceoff. Marc Savard came over to give his two cents.

1:32 - Krejci tests Price, who gloves the bid down and holds on for the draw.

2:51 - Huge stop by Price.

Those of you who read this space know that I seldom complain, but a recent hit Chara was pretty questionable and left the big man on the ice.

4:30 - Chuck leaves the box and the B's clear the zone. NESN reports that the B's had NO SHOTS on goal during that PP.

6:02 - Block by Wideman on Koivu.

6:45 - Kobasew in the box for high sticking.

7:27 - Thomas makes a save on Plekanec. Tim hasn't had much work, shots are 5-4, Boston.

8:52 - Begin hits (x-checks?) Ryder from behind. No call. Hmmmm.

10:23 - Tomas save on Koivu.

11:51 - Hunwick saves a goal by clearing the crease.

12:17 - Some real good work by the Bergeron line. Shots are 5-2, Boston.

14:30 - Lucic gets his first (?) hit of the night on O'Byrne. The crowd is begging for him to have a go with Laraque, but the big kid is taking his time with whatever decision he might make.

14:56 - Canadiens icing. Looking at the hit stats already, shows Montreal with a bunch. But I am not sure I agree.

16:39 - Bouillon hits Kobasew and shatters Chuck's stick.

17:17 - Timmy scarmbles and stops a puck and holds on for the draw. The crowd is chanting, "Lucic, Lucic, Lucic."

17:55 - A big save by Thomas. Laraque is looking for Lucic. Luch, smartly, steps away.

18:26 - B's are taking the body early.

19:22 - Two nice early stops by Price. He is one of the big keys for MTL.

19:59 - CHC wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Start of First Period. If the Bruins stay out of the box they can dominate this game. The subplots abound, however, and all of them seem to focus on big #17.

Switching to time on the clock.

7:08 p.m.

Best guess at the lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Ryder
Wheeler - Krejci - Kobasew
Thornton - Yelle - Nokelainen
Chara - Ward
Hunwick - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Scratch: Sturm, Lashoff

7:00 p.m.
It's Tim Thomas in goal.

Tim was asked if he had trouble focusing against Florida with the Montreal game coming up...
"I don’t think so.  First thing’s first.  After the second period we were really talking in here about how we’ve got to bear down, we’ve got to finish up this game strong.  Maybe the tendency is to let up, and we were trying our best to avoid that."  

6:54 p.m.
Carey Price will make his fourth straight start on Saturday night - Patrick Roy night - when the Canadiens host the Boston Bruins. With Mike Komisarek gone another month, coach Guy Carbonneau said the team had no plans to look for another defenceman.

Projected Lines vs. Senators
Latendresse - Koivu - Tanguay
Higgins - Plekanec - Kovalev
A. Kostitsyn - Lang - Kostopolos
S. Kostitsyn - Begin - Laraque
Markov - Gorges
Hamrlik - O'Byrne
Bouillon - Brisebois

5:58  p.m.
I have been enjoying for quite a while. That is The Montreal Gazette's Montreal Canadien's blog -- very akin to the The Boston Globe's Bruins Blog.

Check out Mike Boone's latest...
The Hatfields and the McCoys, the Corleones and the Tataglias, and now the Canadiens and Bruins.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN is among those expecting fireworks at the Bell Centre tonight:

In the meantime, look for Habs tough guy Georges Laraqueto go after Lucic on Saturday night. Whether or not the Bruinssophomore will accept the dance invitation is another matter. He'sprobably smart not to.

Let's review this feud:
  • In a game last season, Steve Bégin checks Marc Savard and breaks a bone in the Bruin's back.
  • In the first game of the exhibition season, Boston tough guy ShawnThornton pounds Bégin as revenge for the Savard hit that happenedmonths earlier.
  • During the first Boston visit to the Bell Centreon Oct. 15, Laraque squares off with Thornton. Montreal being the worldcapital of hometown decisions, we'll give BGL a draw.
  • Late in a 6-1 butt-kicking Nov. 13 in Boston, Milan Lucic does not need hometown judging in pounding out Mike Komisarek.
So now everyone wants BGL to jump Lucic at the first opportunity tonight.

Maybe during the Patrick Roy ceremony?

Madness ... the more so when you consider the Boston heavyweight roster includes Lucic, Thornton and Zdeno Chara.

With Komisarek on the shelf till Christmas, the Canadiens thin out, literally and figuratively, after BGL.

Bottom line: if the game turns into a streetfight, advantage Boston.

Canadiens should play their game. If Lucic commits egregious aggression, such as running Price, it's BGL time.

But a pre-orchestrated dance is a bad idea, especially if Laraque either a)loses (not beyond the realm of possibility) or b) gets tossed early, leaving the team without a meaningful deterrent for the rest ofwhat could be a long night.

Boone seems right on the button with that notion.

And beyond all the reason's he pointed out, Luch went toe-to-toe with Nick Boynton last night and by my view (from the ninth floor) and by way of NESN replay, Milan's knuckles looked somewhat like Rocky's after he boxed the cow carcases in the first film.

But I guess that is why they play the games. Anyway, if you want a good view from the English-speaking segment of the enemy camp, head over to

5:41 p.m.
A friend in Montreal for the game writes in:
"It's a big weekend in Montreal with Patrick Roy night and the Grey Cup -- the CFL Montreal Alouettes are hosting and are playing Calgary, who had the best record in Canadian Football's regular season. So there is a lot of action.

"This morning, there was a holiday parade here in town, too

It's pretty cold, but no snow."

Okay, so the table is set. Let's get on with the game, already.

5:26 p.m.

Hockey Night in Canada…
Well, there’s not much news as of yet. The Bruins have JUST arrived at the Bell Centre.

Boston skipped their morning skate, no doubt in an effort to rest up for tonight’s big tilt with the Habs.

There is no word on the starter and probably wont be until AFTER the Patrick Roy ceremony.

Before the team left for Quebec on Friday night, head coach Claude Julien was asked about his clubs confidence level. Are the Bruins feeling too good about themselves?

“No, I don’t think we feel too good about ourselves,” he said. “You’ve got to remember…we can start reading what (the media) are writing, and we can believe everything, or we can stay in our little bubble and understand what got us to where we are and realize that those kinds of things are what’s going to keep us there.

“I’m saying that because our team has not had to face this kind of situation for a long time, and we have to learn to be able to handle this.

“Being in first place is great, but the minute you get comfortable – and I can use the Ottawa Senators, 15-2 last year, and I can use other examples as well – this is a humbling game, and we just have to make sure that we understand what it takes every night, and that’s the kind of message we keep giving our team: don’t get too high, don’t get too low, but don’t start believing everything you read.”

Well, looking around town, you can see that this edition of the Boston Bruins have really begun to be re-embraced by the whole of Title Town, however, there are plenty of people in 29 other cities who have other ideas.

And the A-1 members of that group live in Montreal, Quebec...

Boston will be without Marco Sturm tonight. Coach Julien said he would not make the trip, last night.

And, judging by the Bruins recent success, the lines and lineup should remain the same, with Matt Lashoff taking the night off.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa, renowned in the press box for his starting goalie predictions, didn’t sound too sure when he weighed in this morning on his blog at

While Tim Thomas started last night, it wouldn't be a surprise if he went again tonight. Thomas played one set of back-to-back games earlier this season: a pair of 1-0 victories over Edmonton and Vancouver. However, Manny Fernandez was in net for the 6-1 thrashing of the Canadiens earlier this month. Fernandez has won four straight decisions.

Fluto also reports that “Guillaume Latendresse will not play tonight because of an undisclosed injury. Maxim Lapierre will take Latendresse's place in the lineup.
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