Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs Lose Tie to Bruins, 4-3 (SO)

When the guys in the spoked-B are in town, nothing matters. No records. No “last ten games.” No nothing. It’s a rivalry. It’s about the two teams on the ice and that’s it. By these standards, Montreal’s Saturday night tilt against the Bruins played out about as well as it could have.

The Habs have struggled to start games on the right foot this year. Surprisingly, in their first period after a bye-week, they had a great start. Flying out of the gate, Montreal pressed and created the opening goal. On a scramble to the left of Tuukka Rask, Max Pacioretty banked the puck off the netminder for his 11th of the year. Victor Mete, playing his first game with the Canadiens since winning a gold medal at the World Junior Championships, recorded his fifth assist of the year and Phillip Danault got his 16th.

But before the end of the period, the Bruins got the equalizer. On the powerplay, Patrice Bergeron made an all-world pass to a streaking Brad Marchand. Marchand skated in alone and beat Carey Price for his 18th of the year. That line is the best complete line in the league. Amazing stuff. Tie game.

In the second, Boston took the lead before the clock lost three minutes. Another Bruin got loose behind the Canadiens defense. This time it was Jake DeBrusk and he beat Price over the blocker on a breakaway. Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara pick up the assists on the go-ahead-goal. 2-1.

The Bruins didn’t keep the lead for long though. Nicolas Deslauriers, victimized on the DeBrusk goal, took matters into his own hands. Skating the puck out from his own blueline, Deslauriers found some open ice in the Bruins’ zone before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Rask for the tying goal. Starting to think this guy might be more than a goon. Tie game

The see-saw game continued with a Montreal powerplay. Parked in his new office, Alex Galchenyuk got a pass from Jonathan Drouin before wiring a puck off the crossbar and into the net. Galchenyuk’s 11th of the year gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead. It was also Galchenyuk’s 100th career goal, and he’s in some pretty elite company with that milestone. In the history of the Habs, only Stephane Richer, Guy Lafleur, Bernie Geoffrion, Henri Richard and Mario Tremblay hit 100 career goals before their 24th birthday. Neat!

Of course, that’s not where the score stayed. Before the end of the period, a Jakub Jerabek shot block turned into a David Krejci goal. Jerabek swung twice at the bouncing puck, but Krejci was able to skate away with it and beat Price with a wrist shot for his seventh of the year. 3-3.

Then something truly terrible happened.

At the point, Chara wound up and fired a rolling puck. Wobbling, the puck rose and hit Danault in the back of the head. He would lay on the ice for several minutes, clutching his head. As he was stretchered off, Chara skated over to Danault to give him a tap and a few words of concern. The remaining 1:37 was played at the beginning of the third. The Canadiens later released a statement saying he was alert at the hospital.

The third period didn’t solve much. Montreal hit a few posts and both teams had some good looks, but the score stayed the same. 3-3 heading into overtime.

Overtime was fun, but ultimately pointless. In the mini-game (I mean shootout), Marchand beat Price five-hole for the winner. Boston took this one 4-3 in a shootout.

At this point in the season, there wasn’t much else a Canadiens’ fan could want. The Habs played well and hung with one of the hottest teams in the league despite losing a key player with a period to go. The offense looked strong and they earned a point; they didn’t steal it. And it was entertaining. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty great.

Danault

You never want to see something like that happen. It’s gotta be tough for a guy like Chara who didn’t do anything wrong. He’s just doing his job. Hoping we see Danault back on the ice soon.

Galchenyuk

Boy, he really has found his niche, huh? On the powerplay, he needs to be on the ice for two minutes. Keep him on the right faceoff dot opposite Drouin, and let him go. He’s automatic from that dot and he doesn’t only do it with the one-timer, evidenced by his perfect wrist shot goal against Rask.

Don’t trade this guy. You’ll regret it. Look at the names he’s associated with before his 24th birthday. You want to give that up? Because he makes mistakes in his own end? Get over yourself.

The Defense

Did anyone on the blueline have a great night? Victor Mete was all over the ice in a good way, but I’m not sure anyone else in the Habs six-man unit really did much to help the cause. It’s been an uphill battle since October to get a serviceable defensive squad and it’s only been made more apparent with the loss of Shea Weber.

I don’t really have anything else to take from this one. A great game played by two rivals that was decided by a mini-game. An “honest” loss, if that’s something you care about.

Montreal will be back at it on Monday when future Canadiens’ number-one centre John Tavares and the Islanders visit the Bell Centre.

Go Habs Go.

(And #DoItForDanault)

Follow Ian on Twitter @BoisvertIan and follow @RabidHabs for more updates! 

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