MONTREAL – The Canadiens outshot and out chanced the Bruins for the majority of Wednesday’s game, but the difference between a win and a loss came down to 42 seconds.
After heading into the second intermission up 1-0 on the scoreboard and edging Boston by a 26-14 margin in the shots column, the Habs suddenly saw their 20th
win of the season start to slip away when Zdeno Chara batted a puck out of the air to send Loui Eriksson in on a shorthanded breakaway midway through the third period. Less than a minute later, Landon Ferraro piled on with his third of the season before Patrice Bergeron put the game out of reach.
“It was a tight game, both teams were playing well. I thought we outplayed them for the majority of the game, but for 42 seconds, they were opportunistic and that was the difference,” admitted P.K. Subban, who played a team-high 30:04 on Wednesday night. “We played a very good game, but we let our foot off the gas a little bit and they capitalized.”
Facing a hot goalie for a second time in three games, the Habs peppered Tuukka Rask with pucks, but only managed to beat him once, on a fortuitous bounce that gave Paul Byron his fourth of the season to open the scoring. Capturing just his third win in 20 lifetime starts against the Canadiens, Rask earned first star honors with his 32-save effort. While he admits Wednesday’s loss won’t lead to many changes in terms of X’s and O’s going forward, Subban did find a lesson to take away from Boston’s come-from-behind victory.
“Over the years, they’ve always been a team that even when they were down a couple goals, they still believe they can get back in games and they’ve done that to other teams,” explained the Habs’ assistant captain. “For us, we have to see that as something to learn from.”
Despite seeing his team lose a third-straight game on Wednesday, head coach Michel Therrien liked what he saw from his squad against the Bruins – at least for the first three-quarters of the evening.
“If you look at the last three games, the one against Washington, we all agree we didn’t deserve to lose, but we didn’t win. In Carolina, it could have gone either way. Tonight, again we played an excellent game,” confirmed Therrien, whose team still sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with 41 points in 29 games. “We played well for more than half the game. We were excellent in the first two periods, and even at the start of the third. When we faced adversity, we just didn’t react the right way.”
Facing adversity for the first time this year on the heels of dropping three in a row to mark the team’s longest winless skid of the season, the Canadiens know they’re only a few small tweaks away from rediscovering the play that saw them win their first nine games of the campaign.
“Worried? I’m not worried. Worried is when I look at my gas tank and I have five kilometers left and I have to find a gas station,” said Subban, before boarding the team plane bound for Detroit. “That’s when I’m worried. Not when we lose three games. We have a lot of hockey left to be played. The good thing is that we have a game tomorrow to turn it around, against a good team. We’ve gone in there in back-to-back situations before and we’ve played well. That’s all I’m looking forward to now – the next game.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Postgame: Dec. 9
Game Highlights: Canadiens vs Bruins
Patience yields results