Monday was trade deadline day and three more Habs left for new homes, further decimating the team’s lineup. Against a strong Bruins lineup, though, they never conceded gave up, and took the fight to the Boston team until the overtime, led by another strong game by Jake Allen in goal.
First They Fall Down
A minute into the game, Alexander Romanov tapped Brad Marchand with a cross-check. Marchand, the delicate creature that he is, quickly sprawled onto the ice, attracting a minor penalty for Romanov. The Bruins managed but a single shot on the ensuing man advantage, though.
Marchand himself was called for tripping Cole Caufield at 7:08 but the Habs’ power play did not manage to get the puck on the net, two shots by Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin coming closest to the net.
Just as the penalty expired, though, Marchand showed his better side. Jumping out of the penalty box, he rushed in alongside Erik Haula and tipped a waist-high pass toward the Habs’ goal but Allen anticipated it and was ready to block. However, on the ensuing play, Connor Clifton gloved down a clearing pass at the Canadiens’ blue line and sent it to Haula. Haula got it to Marchand again, and this time the Bruins forward made no mistake, and it was 1-0 for Boston with 9:21 on the clock.
Marchand hit the ice a second time in the period to send David Savard into the penalty box, but the Habs’ penalty kill units — and Allen — kept the puck out of the net again.
The Habs were outshot 14-8 in the period but high-danger chances were a heavily lopsided 9-2 for the Bruins, with Allen key to keeping the game close.
This Second Is Ours
Jonathan Drouin had an early breakaway scoring chance taken away as Charlie McAvoy seemingly interfered with the winger’s rush, but not only was there no penalty shot, but McAvoy didn’t even get called for a penalty.
With the clock nearing nine minutes, Michael Pezzetta was cross-checked to the ice in front of the Bruins’ net, but unlike the two Marchand incidents, this was not sufficient to merit a penalty call from the referees.
However, with Pezzetta still on the ice, Romanov fed a pass to Savard, who was in front of the net. The veteran defender made no mistake in backhanding it past Jeremy Swayman and into the Boston net to tie the game before the halfway point of the match.
The Habs got an opportunity to push for a go-ahead goal some four minutes later, as Matt Grzelcyk interfered with Suzuki and headed to the box for two minutes of spectator time. This time the power play looked much better, as they registered shots by Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman and Corey Schueneman — Schueneman, getting power play minutes!
The penalty pendulum swung back the other way before the end of the period, with Romanov being sent off for tripping McAvoy with just 41 seconds remaining. The Bruins cranked up the pressure in that time, and in spite of Petry and Edmundson blocking shots, Allen had to make two saves on Marchand, including a spectacular trapper grab as the clock was about to run out.
The bleu, blanc et rouge actually outshot Boston 15-14 in the freewheeling period, but the Bruins still held a 5-4 edge in high-danger scoring chances.
No Letting up in the Third
There was still 1:19 remaining in the Boston power play at the start of the third, and that proved fateful. With the Boston team unable to register another power play shot on the goal, Dvorak pressured Marchand into a rushed pass at the Montreal blue line, and Joel Armia grabbed the puck and the opportunity.
Skating in on a two-on-none with Dvorak in tow, Armia took his time, waited for Swayman to commit to a butterfly and then lifted the puck into the top of the net to put the Habs ahead by a 2-1 score.
Schueneman might have thought he had his second NHL goal a minute later, but the puck glanced just out from the crossbar above Swayman.
At 9:59, with just ten minutes left in regulation, Cole Caufield was sent off for hooking Tomas Nosek. The Bruins turned on the pressure cooker once again, recording three shots on eight shot attempts, but Allen came up with the bug saves again when it counted.
Things were looking good for the Habs but that came to an end at 17:01, as Coyle brought the puck into the Habs’ zone on an innocuous-looking play. However, a pass to Craig Smith was followed by Craig Smith finding Charlie Coyle open on the left side of the net, with no defenceman in sight. Allen wasn’t able to move over quickly enough, and suddenly it looked like overtime.
The Bruins had the shots again in the third at 17-5, and high-danger chances 7-4.
And Then It’s Over
It took less than a minute for Marchand to do the damage in overtime. And this time he didn’t fall over, either.
Marchand stripped the puck off Suzuki at the side of the Boston net, carried it out of the zone, and sent Haula towards the Habs’ net. Haula then dropped the puck back to Marchand, who shot through traffic to find an opening to the back of Allen’s net, and to finalize the score at 3-2 just 34 seconds into the overtime period.
Overtime shots and high-danger chances were both just 1-0 for the Bruins.
HW Habs Three Stars
First Star: Jake Allen (46 shots, 43 saves, 0.935 save percentage) not only kept the Habs in the game, he prevented what could have been a blowout, with the Bruins registering 22 high-danger chances on the evening. Allen is back, and back in shape, no doubt about it.
Second Star: Joel Armia (1g, 0a, 3 shots, 15:21 TOI) recorded time not only on the power play but also the penalty kill and overtime, the former including the pretty shorthanded breakaway goal. With Artturi Lehkonen now gone, can he step up his game to fill those Finnish shoes?
Third Star: Joel Edmundson (0g, 0a, 1 shot, 23:00 TOI) was rock-solid and seems to be getting back into form after his much-prolonged recovery from injuries.
Honourable Mention: David Savard (1g, 0a, 3 shots, 19:11 TOI) recorded a rare goal and seemed to work well with Schueneman. Will he be part of the Habs’ plans for 2022-23?