Tonight marked the first time these two perennial rivals faced each other
this year, which is surprising given that we are already into the third month of
the 2013-14 season. However, no time apart could diminish the
Boston-Montreal rivalry, and any chance of this game being a snooze-fest was
destroyed when Max Pacioretty’s seemingly innocent hit had Johnny Boychuk taken
off the ice on a stretcher early in the game.
The Canadiens were collectively a no-show in the first period, mustering only
a feeble 3 shots on net despite 2 powerplays, while seeming disorganized and
disinterested the vast majority of time. The Bruins’ aggressive fore-check
seemed to stymie the Canadiens’ breakout, and it was the reason the Bruins were
able to break in 2-on-1 and score; Gregory Campbell buried the puck in a mostly
The second period was an inverse of the first, as the Canadiens outshot the
Bruins 17-7. Plekanec broke the ice against Tuukka Rask, sniping an
amazing shot top-shelf after a great pass from Josh Gorges. Two great
individual efforts by Douglas Murray and Brendan Gallagher got the puck into the
Bruins’ zone, and Max Pacioretty backhanded the puck into the net with Rask
still on the ice after a stopping Raphael Diaz. Rask made several key saves
near the end of the period to limit the Canadiens’ lead to one after two
From the outset of the third period, it seemed clear that the Canadiens were
intent on sitting on their one-goal lead. In fact, those new to hockey may
have actually believed that the Canadiens were killing off a 20-minute penalty.
The Habs withstood a 16-6 barrage of shots, but managed to hang on for the
victory, gaining their 8th win in 9 games, and temporarily gaining the top spot in
1st Star – Carey Price: Without Carey in net, this game would
have been won by Boston early and decisively. As it were, he was the best
Canadien on the ice tonight, and as it has been the case all year long, he gave
his team the chance to win, despite being outplayed significantly for two thirds
of the game. Price’s 32 saves made him the obvious choice for first star.
2nd Star – Andrei Markov: Although his game might not seem too
impressive on the boxscore, Markov’s hockey IQ was on full display tonight.
Physically outmatched by the bigger Bruins, Markov flexed his cerebral muscles
and thwarted the Boston attack time after time.
3rd Star – Tomas Plekanec: As it was against Pittsburgh,
Plekanec successfully negated Patrice Bergeron’s prowess in the face-off circle
and on the ice. His goal was clutch, and breathed life into the Canadiens.
HM – Douglas Murray: This was by far Murray’s best game as a Montreal
Canadien. His physicality was evident, and although he was only credited
with 2 hits, he made life difficult for the Boston forwards throughout the game.
As mentioned above, his individual effort led to the Canadiens’ eventual