Your Boston Bruins hosted the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the TD Garden for their 2nd game in as many days. These two historic rivals haven’t faced each other in 641 days as they renewed the longest running rivalry in NHL history, now sitting at 751 games played.
Vezina and Calder trophy favorite Jeremy Swayman got the nod in net again tonight for the B’s while Sam Montembeault (0-2-1 : 3.69GAA : 0.885 Save% yikes) was between the pipes for the Bleu Blanc et Rouge. For the 2nd game in a row the Bruins were without Craig Smith (still battling a nagging injury) and Mike Reilly (still battling the coaches’ doghouse), with Jakob Zboril filling in on the back end and Karson Kuhlman up front.
The Erection Line was together and Charlie Coyle had Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno on his wings. The bottom 6 was re-worked with Erik Haula (1st goal as a Bruin vs. NJ) between Anton Blidh and Kuhlman while on the 4th line, it was Jake DeBrusk and Oskar Steen with Tomas Nosek at the pivot. Another move was to swap Foligno for Hall on PP1 to see if he could provide a bigger net front presence while Hall could add some speed to the second power play unit.
Montreal got on the board first when the Canadiens broke down ice on a 3 on 1 vs. Zboril. Connor Clifton pinched to keep the puck low in the Montreal zone and then inexplicably turned towards the side boards??? (as opposed to back up ice) and the Canadiens were off to the races. Joel Armia beat Swayman over the glove and under the crossbar. You can see Cliffy curl at the RW dot on the video below, just a horrible route to the puck. To his credit he busted ass to get back on the backcheck, but too late bud dash 1.
The stripes tried their best to get the Bruins back into this one with a series of soft calls. I hope all those Canadiens’ fans got a taste of what it was like growing up watching the Bruins in the old Forum. Life’s inevitable occurences: Death, Taxes and the Canadiens getting the first power play at home. The B’s couldn’t cash in (0 for 3 in the first) and the teams went into intermission with the Canadiens in the lead.
Charlie McAvoy got his first of the night when he cleaned up a Hall rebound and absolutely trucked Foligno in the process. The Candy Corn King was all smiles when he saw it was Chuckie Bright Lights that upended him. Hall drove down the RW wall and shot far side on Montembeault. With Foligno crashing the paint, McAvoy swooped down the slot and pounded home the rebound and then steamrolled Foligno. Tie game.
Poor decision making from the blueliners bit the Bruins again, but this time it was Zboril. Stepping up at his own blue line for a big hit (respect the idea, just not the right timing), he missed completely and now the B’s were outnumbered down low. Swayman made the save, but the rebound caromed off the back of Clifton’s leg and into the net. A poor decision and a bad bounce and the Canadiens are up again. The Bruins dominated the 2nd period outshooting the Canadiens 31-22 (after being outshot in the first). The boys had more jump and were winning puck battles, but it didn’t translate to the scoresheet and your Black and Gold head to the 3rd down by a goal.
Another Bruins power play early in the final frame, and this time they cashed in. Good zone time and puck movement opened up seams and McAvoy took advantage. Brad Marchand found McAvoy from the RW circle up top and Chuckie walked the line to improve his angle and like the Red Sea, it all opened in front of him. McAvoy dropped down the slot and put a wrister over Montembeault’s glove and it’s a whole new game.
Just 3 minutes later the Bruins took the lead for good and I don’t know about you, but I’m going to credit this one to The Hockey Gods. McAvoy sent Coyle away from the Bruins zone up the right wing wall with a tremendous outlet pass. Once Coyle gained the MTL zone he dropped the puck back to David Pastrnak and drove the net. Pasta’s rebound bounced right to Jeff Petry in the slot and he hammered the puck to the end boards out of danger. Except….. he bounced it off the driving Coyle and into the Canadiens’ net for the go ahead goal.
Big ups to The Hockey Gods.
Coyle got his 2nd of the night when DeBrusk poked the puck down the wall
with a heads up play when he was trying desperately to avoid a check. Much like his game of late, DeBrusk was soft on the puck, but luckily Coyle had a head of steam coming off the bench and drove the Montreal zone. Coming down the right wing he attacked the net and beat Montembeault short side high. “Where the peanut butter is” as Brick commented on the NESN feed.
Hall got an ENG birthday present when he cashed in on a feed from Pasta to put the Bruins up by 3 with less than 3 minutes left to play. Play the song!
The Bruins are back it again on Saturday as they travel to Philly then back home for a tilt against the Flames on Sunday.
- Charlie McAvoy played his best game of the season tonight. Not just scoring, but skating hard and setting a physical tone. Absolute stud, oh yeah and his first career 2 goal game.
- Brad Marchand is on a mission. His play is continuing to elevate from an already lofty baseline. He’s currently riding a 7gm scoring streak with 12pts, is that good?
- Jeremy Swayman has had 2 strong outings in a row. Good problem to have.
- Defensive decision making was not great. Besides what I already mentioned, Derek Forbort had an absolute pizza up the middle that luckily didn’t hurt the B’s. Clean it up boys.
- Jake DeBrusk. Seriously, I was willing to give him a pass on last year, but it’s right back where it was. Little effort, no hard stops, and soft on the puck. Scratch him. I’d rather see Chris Wagner out there or Jack Studnicka.
- David Pastrnak for all his other worldly skill is a turnover machine some nights. Just an observation, I’m not advocating for any type of demotion.
No Game Notes tonight. We gotta get the podcast out!