Rabid Habs

Headstrong To Take On Anyone

“They’ve been playing very well this year. They’ve got good chemistry and they’re winning games. My goal is not to distract them.” – Sergei Gonchar

The Montreal Canadiens knew what they had coming for them last night when they faced the Boston Bruins nearly one month after their first home game of the season with a 6-4 win. It was an unsettling week for Boston on Wednesday night; the team took a 6-1 loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That defeat killed off the Bruins five-game winning streak, and definitely left the team with red faces. Boston was mad, and with a devastating loss they knew the needed to get the game they lost back. The Canadiens however, were looking for their fourth win in a row. New to the ice tonight is Sergei Gonchar. The veteran defenseman from the Dallas Stars was recently traded to the Habs in exchange for Travis Moen. Coach Michel Therrien made no other lineup changes on the offence, which makes sense considering the lineups have defeated the Buffalo Sabres, the Minnesota Wild, and the Winnipeg Jets (shutting out the Jets by a score of 3-0 most recently on Tuesday). The rival, however, would still be missing their key players. Both captain and defenseman Zdeno Chara and center David Krejci would not be present at the Bell Centre due to Chara’s knee injury and Krejci’s hip injury. With their two main components gone, a slow start to the season, and a devastating loss the night before, the Boston Bruins were ready to fight the good fight paint the town black and gold. But Montreal wasn’t ready to give up their three-game winning streak to their Original Six rivalry. This time, the Habs were getting their fourth-win in a row, and not even a bear could stop them.

The first period started out strong with the Montreal Canadiens putting tremendous pressure on the forecheck, and with Sergei Gonchar proving why he definitely belongs with the Habs. The Canadiens kept the puck away from the Bruins as long as they could but with 4 minutes left of the first period, Dougie Hamilton lead the game 1-0 with a slapshot on the Bruins power play.

Dale Weise played like it was his last night on earth, first coming in with a wrist (penalty) shot only two minutes and 31 seconds into the game, and then pulling a Gordie Howe hattrick out of his pocket which set up Max Pacioretty for a snap shot at 14 minutes and 57 seconds in the second period. A minute before, Lars Eller gave a nice backhand shot that was assisted by Brendan Gallagher. The Boston Bruins took 5 penalties and no goals, leading the Habs 3-1, but the exciting part of the second period was the emergence of Dale Weise, which most of us have been waiting for since the start of the season.

The third period came to another great start with Max Pacioretty getting his stick on a David Desharnais pass that deflected off of Dougie Hamilton’s skate in only five minutes and nine seconds. The Canadiens kept bringing the pressure to much of the Bruins dislike which only meant one thing; play dirty, and play dirty is exactly what the Bruins did right to the end of the period. However, the “intimidating” bear was no match for Jiri Sekac, who took a Nathan Beaulieu feed and went in alone on the left side to score on a wrist shot during Montreal’s power play at 14 minutes and six seconds. His goal ended a 0-for-27 run without a power play goal for the Habs, something everyone had been waiting for. Gonchar, who wasn’t involved in the Sekac goal, still had the power play looking livelier all night, and the Habs kept this high rising energy going to the end for the third period. The Bruins were left defeated, and the Canadiens had their 5-1 victory.

Here are my thoughts on last night’s game.

* Dale Weise is a rising star even though his light seemed burnt out so far in the season. Even though he had a total of four points last season, he dominated the Eastern Conference finals and has brought his points up to six (five assists, one goal) so far this season. That is a MAJOR improvement for Weise, and he’s someone I’d like to see more on the ice along with Sergei Gonchar (who I must say played brilliantly last night. He definitely fits in with the Habs well)

* The Montreal Canadiens looked absolutely beautiful on the ice last night, something that had been a struggle to achieve before November 8th, when Montreal finally broke their losing streak and had a 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild. It wasn’t just the pressure they brought to the power play, it was the high rising energy, their stick handling, their puck control; everything just seemed to fall into place for the Habs, and there’s no doubt that the rest of the season is just going to keep getting better and better with each game.

The Montreal Canadiens got to Boston to face the Boston Bruins again on November 22nd.

Find Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures