Your Boston Bruins traveled north of the border tonight to take on the
Martin St. Louis’ Montreal Canadiens. After a hectic deadline day that saw the Black and Gold bolster their blue line (and unfortunately keep a malcontent in the fold), the boys needed extra hockey to get it done over the hated Habs. The B’s head home tied with the Maple Leafs (TOR has a game in hand), as they look to climb out of the wild card slot.
The lineup was static from the last few games with Patrice Bergeron still out of the lineup. Up front it was Jack Studnicka between Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk with Erik Haula at the pivot bracketed by Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. Charlie Coyle had Craig Smith and Trent Frederic on his wings while Tomas Nosek skated with Nick Foligno and Curtis Lazar. On the back end Charlie McAvoy was paired with Mike Reilly and Brandon Carlo with Matt Grzelcyk. The 3rd pair was Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort and this pair is where it’s going to get interesting with the addition of Hampus Lindholm. From all accounts it’s going to be McAvoy/Lindholm as the top pair with Carlo and Grz as the #2. That leaves 2 spots for Forbort, Reilly, Clifton and also (newly acquired) Josh Brown to vie for. It will be interesting to see Bruce Cassidy play out the minutes and the health bombs. In net it was Jeremy Swayman opposing Jake Allen for Les Habitantes.
The opening period was choppy at best; this game had all the intensity of a pre-season matchup and the sloppy play to go with it. The Bruins got on the board first when Marchand converted a Haula feed backdoor. Marchand jumped into the play coming out of the penalty box (of course) and drove the net with Haula who put it to him hip high at the left post. Marchand got a blade on the puck but Allen made the stop with Marchand spilling to the RW corner boards. MTL attempted to clear the zone, but Clifton kept in in with a nifty play at the blue line and drove one on net. The rebound popped to Haula in the slot and he laid it over to Marchand at the left post for the redirect. On the replay you can see Marchand come from the RW to get into position. What you don’t see? The defenseman who went down in a heap with Marchand. As Brick said on the NESN feed “It’s a second effort league.”
That score held until David Savard got Swayman with a seeing-eye backhand to even things up. During a delayed penalty Savard drove the slot and let loose a backhand through a forest of sticks and bodies that redirected (at least!) once before beating Swayman over the blocker. Tie game.
The Bruins had a late power play (this is def NOT the old Montreal Forum), and Marchand had a great chance to put the B’s up heading into the break, but Allen stoned him. I’m not usually in the habit of pumping up MTL goalies, but holy shit what a save.
The Bruins power play carried over into the 3rd, but clearly no one reminded the Bruins that they were on the man advantage. A careless giveaway by Marchand at the top of the PP sent MTL in on a 2-0 shorthanded bid and Joel Armia beat Sway over the glove. You can see how the shoulder dip freezes Swayman and Armia goes backhand-forehand-shelf for the go ahead goal. The video is even more painful in French, I don’t know why but it is.
The Bruins sloppy play and poor puck management plagued them throughout most of the 3rd period, but you could see the effort level ramp up as the period continued. With less than 3 minutes to go, the Coyle line dominated the wall and came with heavy pressure on the MTL defensemen (something Brick had been begging for all broadcast). Coyle drove the RW corner and left the puck on the wall for Smith. Smitty corralled the puck and went back against the grain to find Clifton driving the slot (along with Frederic who should’ve been covering back, but I digress). Cliffy went far side from the LW face-off circle and we’ve got a tie game.
In overtime, the Canadiens held possession until Marchand bullied Cole Caulfield into a turnover behind the Bruins net and went back the other way. Once Marchand gained possession, Haula flew the zone with his head up looking back for the puck the entire time. Marchy hit him with 50-foot sauce and broke up ice himself. Haula gained the MTL zone and slowed down allowing Grz to drive the net before ladling the puck over to Marchand high in the offensive zone. Marchy walked down main street and got Allen to bite on the pump fake before pulling the puck to his backhand to tuck home the GWG.
Goalie Hug! The boys head home to take on the TBL on Thursday night with their new weapons on board.
- The Bruins played like shit tonight (mostly) and still pulled out the W. I’ll take it.
- Swayman looked good and sharp on his angles. Can’t blame those 2 on him.
- Stop blind passes and sloppy turnovers. Lucky to get out of this one with 2 points, the Bruins tried to hand this game away – multiple times.
- Can we simplify the PP please? Gain the zone and get set up – let’s stop trying to dogwalk 2-3 defenders every time and get the highlights going, ok? And while we’re talking PP, let’s stop with Pasta at the top of the umbrella.
- This was Connor Clifton’s 2nd career multi point game
- With Jake DeBrusk re-upped for $8M over 2 years, let’s all hope he has a good playoff run and then the Bruins can package him while his value is high and his contract is palpable. I’m still hoping to see JT Miller in Black and Gold someday. A girl can dream right?
- Tonight was the 752nd meeting between BOS/MTL and the first matchup since Thanksgiving in 2019. Those stats courtesy of Homeboy Jack on the NESN feed. Great bit of video in the pre-game when Jack and Brick were talking about the trade deadline and what they thought would happen. Jack asked (directly into the camera of course) who out there thought when they read that DeBrusk had signed an extension that it was going to be a “sign and trade” type deal? I laughed out loud as Brick slowly raised his hand.