The Boston Bruins will want nothing to do with the Canadiens in the Fleet Centre, specifically in overtime, after this game. For whatever reason, the boys from
What’ll disappoint the Bruins most of all, though, is that they basically dominated the final two-thirds of the game in almost every respect. Claude Julien will have the team packing up very quickly then running to the bus after stealing this one. He’ll be giggling all the way, though, after stretching the lead over the Sabres and Panthers and even the Islanders, who were hammered on this night.
The Habs had a high intensity first period, and at times dominated the play. There were numerous chances including a cross-ice feed from Saku Koivu to a completely alone Richard Zednik. From about 15 feet, though, he couldn’t find the back of the net, and he visibly sagged for the rest of the shift; his continuing production troubles weighing him down.
At the half way point of the period, Koivu made a solid zone entry off the left wing boards and slid a tidy little pass across the ice, this time to Yanic Perreault who was trailing on the play. His rifle over the shoulder of Andrew Raycroft gave the Habs the early lead.
Once again, late in the period, Koivu fed a wide open Zednik, this time on the crease, who had only to tap the puck into the open net. However, swinging the lumber – or in this case the graphite – has become a chore for the Zedder, and somehow he missed the net completely.
Fortunately, on the powerplay with under a minute left, the Habs were able to scratch out a lead. Mike Ribeiro, with a nifty move to shift around a defender and create space in the slot area, then fed the puck to Mike Ryder who fired home his 19th of the campaign. The uber-rookie continues his incredible season, now having scored four goals in his last four games.
The second started very poorly for the Habs when an innocent enough looking shot hit Stephane Quintal in the back of the leg, only to drop fortuitously for Travis Green. He easily swiped in the loose puck past a sprawled Theo to tie the game.
The rest of the second was played significantly in the Habs zone, and it was only fine goaltending and no small amount of luck (as well as poor finishing by the Bruins) that kept the score tied. On a bad pinch by Patrice Brisebois, AHL call-up Kark Dykhuis played a two-on-one situation very well and ended up deflecting the puck into the protective netting.
The third was much the same as the second, with the Bruins dominating and leaving
Overtime, though, was a more even affair, with the smaller, but much faster Canadiens taking advantage of the open ice. With exactly one minute remaining, after taking a Koivu feed, Rivet hit the peanut butter in the top shelf of Raycroft’s net to seal the deal and send the Habs home winners. It wasn’t the prettiest, or most intense game from the Habs, but it’s certain not a player is complaining as they wing their way home to Montreal for a game against the Hurricanes on Saturday night.