Your Boston Bruins welcomed their old friends, the Montreal Canadiens to the TD Garden ice tonight for a tale of two teams headed in different directions. The Bruins pumped the Habs 5-1 and the game wasn’t as close as the final score made it seem. The Bruins are rolling as of late, with only one loss in the New Year (that loss coming when they had to play both the Minnesota Wild AND the referees last week). While the Habs have gone 1-9 since the beginning of December. Oof, tough look for the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge. Gotta love it.
Linus Ullmark got the nod in net with Tuukka Rask serving as his backup. Oh you hadn’t heard? Tuukka is back with the big club and Jeremy Swayman has been sent to Providence to play for the Baby B’s. Listen, I’m going to say this once and once only, and I’ll say it with my chest for those in the back. It was the only move to make. Swayman is still on his Entry Level Contract (ELC) so he doesn’t have to clear waivers. It’s as simple as that. And for all of you crying on Facebook pages, smarten up. You think Edmonton or Buffalo wouldn’t kill for the Bruins current goalie depth? Get your head out of your ass: your breath stinks.
In the Montreal net Jake Allen played a little more than 17 minutes in the first period until an injury (2G on 4 shots, I think he injured his pride?) forced him out of the game during a TV timeout. Sam Montembeault took over and didn’t fare much better as he gave up 3 over the remainder of the game.
The top 2 lines remained the same but the bottom six saw some shuffling. Charlie Coyle was in between Oskar Steen and Jake DeBrusk was back gliding on his wing. Tomas Nosek was back in at the pivot on the 4th line with Curtis Lazar and Anton Blidh as his wingers. On the back end it was Charlie McAvoy with Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo with Mike Reilly as the top pairs. Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore were the 3rd pair tonight as both Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort are currently in COVID Protocol.
Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the scoresheet when he scored 2 goals in the first15 seconds apart. Yup you read that right, Marchy scored 2 in The Show in a quicker amount of time than it takes this beer leaguer to skate the puck up ice. His first goal was a direct result of the 4th line’s hard work. Good Guy Curtis Lazar plastered Sami Niku in the Bruins end on the near boards freeing the puck up back to Nosek who carried the puck out of the zone. Nosek flipped the puck up to the streaking Lazar who gathered the puck off the boards and drove the net on the RW. Lazar put a shot on net and followed it up for his own rebound which he rimmed back around the net to Nosek, now on the LW wall. Marchand, who was coming off the bench for Blidh, drove the zone and parked himself at the far post on the RW. Marchy opened up to accept the pass from Nosek who put it perfectly on his tape for the redirect past Allen. It was a perfect hardworking hockey play that resulted in a grind-it-out-goal. Awesome.
Before many of the Black and Gold Faithful had even sat back down, Marchand was at it again. After a Craig Smith shot bounced up off the rebound, Marchy chopped it 5-hole as the puck came back down and the B’s were up by a pair. Yet another instance of Marchand driving the net and being unafraid to go to the greasy areas, #63 was feeling it.
Lazar got on the board when a DeBrusk shot caromed off his skate and past Montembeault. DeBrusk let a wrister go from the top of the RW circle that just kissed off Lazar’s skate to put the Bruins up by three, and as we’ve been saying: good things happen when you go to the net.
The Bruins and Habs were fairly even with zone time to open up the period, but as the period progressed, the B’s started to take over. Quick outlets gave them an easy transition and once in the Montreal zone their cycle game started to open up the high/low chances. The game was over at 2-0 really, the rest was just bonus.
In the middle period Marchy got the hatty, because you knew he was going to. With the Bruins on the PK, Marchand worked the puck up the wall and found Patrice Bergeron with a short pass to get the puck up out of the zone. Bergy pushed the puck over to Moore jumping into the offensive rush. Wait, what? That was D-man Moore jumping into the play..shorthanded?? Ok, you got away with it this time. Anyways, Moore’s shot tied up Montembeault high and the puck rebounded off his glove and dropped into the slot. Where was Marchand? Oh yeah, he was driving the net: Do you see a pattern yet? Hats rained from the heavens and of course Marchy picked himself a beauty.
Michael Pezzetta got the Canadiens on the board later in the period when a strong forecheck by Montreal’s 4th line caused a deep turnover by the B’s. The puck bounced right to Pezzetta in the slot and he beat Ullmark over the glove to put the Habs on the board. Pezzetta made himself known throughout the 2nd half of the game by hitting Grz late and bouncing Moore’s face off the glass. Look, give credit where it’s due, he got Bergy to snap (ok, snapping for Bergy) when he took him down and gave him an up close look at the Garden ice. Montreal didn’t score on the subsequent power play so no harm no foul, and I’ll admit it; I love a pissed off Bergeron. The physicality ramped up through the period and you could hear the crowd getting more into the game with every scrum and facewash.
Vaakanainen got the 5th of the game when he converted a Blidh feed under the blocker on Montembeault. Nosek passed to Lazar who got off a shot from the RW dot then… you guessed it: drove the net. The rebound was gathered in by Blidh in the LW and he skated back up from the goal line and found Vaakanainen cross-ice a few steps inside the blue line. Vaakanainen let go a wrister from up top that found it’s way through a Lazar screen and into the back of the net.
The fans were certainly enjoying themselves as the “Ole, Ole” chants began with less than 9 minutes to play and the “We Want Tuukka” chants with less than 7 minutes. The Bruins are back at it tomorrow night when the Philadelphia Flyers come to town and Tuukkka gets the start.
Play the Music
- The Bruins are humming. They beat Tampa and then Washington before steamrolling Montreal. I mean, those teams (not MTL), are amongst the best of the Eastern Conference and the Bruins shitpumped them. I’m just glad Butchie finally listened to my line combo suggestions.
- Secondary Scoring? I got your secondary scoring right here: In the last 7 games the Bruins have 17 different goal scorers. Is that good?
- I firmly believe that having Rask back will add good competition to the goaltending. Rask is a proven commodity, Ullmark has been playing more comfortable every game and Swayman is the future. I think having all of them available is a good thing.
- Not a lot for the minus: the Bruins are a wagon and wait until they flip DeBrusk
- Unfortunately John Moore didn’t finish the game with the dreaded “UBI”. With his history of concussions and the way Pezzetta put him face first into the glass, I certainly hope he’s ok and it’s something else.
- Nice tweet from the legend himself, Ray Bourque, giving some love to Matt Grzelcyk. In the Washington game, Grz notched a 5 point night becoming the first Bruins defenseman to do so since Bourque did (also against the Caps) back in 1994 and 3 days before Grz was born. We talked about it on this week’s podcast which you can find here.
- Brad Marchand notched his 5th career hat trick and it was in his 3rd game in a row with at least 2 goals. Oh yeah, on his 3rd goal? It was his Bruins all time leading 33rd shorthanded goal. Yeah, he’s good at hockey.
- It wouldn’t be Bruins/Canadiens without some nasty (or Good Nasty as Homeboy Jack likes to say). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Wideman get some supplementary discipline when the NHL reviews the video of his headbutt on Erik Haula (who dropped his gloves not once, but twice tonight). But, based on the way that the NHL Player Safety has handled things in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wideman get NHL Player of the Week either.
- Tonight was the first NHL goal for Urho Vaakanainen. Good to see him developing in the right way. I thought he had a strong game tonight.
- The Bruins had a nice touching tribute to Teddy Balkind with a video tribute and a moment of silence. They hung a jersey in his honor behind the bench during warmups. Such a sad story; our thoughts and prayers go out to Teddy’s friends, teammates and family. Hug your loved ones.