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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Canadiens Outlast Bruins 6-5 In Wild Shootout Victory At TD Garden

A game like tonight, as entertaining as it was, is further proof of why I hope the Bruins don't meet the Canadiens in the playoffs this spring. Boston gets sucked into Montreal's weasel game and it takes them out of their normal style (physical, defensive, rolling four lines). The Canadiens won 6-5 in a shootout at TD Garden to take control of the Northeast Division (the teams both had 45 points before the game).

Boston (21-7-4) fell behind 2-0 before rallying for a 4-2 lead in the second period but Montreal (21-7-5) outscored them 3-1 in the third period, survived overtime and Brendan Gallagher netted the only goal in six rounds of the shootout. The B's finished 6-2-0 at home in March, the catch is that both losses were to the Canadiens.

Michael Ryder scored on a one-timer in the first period to give the Habs a 1-0 lead then P.K. Subban added one of his patented lasers that Tuukka Rask (23 saves) had no chance to stop early in the second period. Dougie Hamilton scored his fourth goal of the season, 32 seconds after Subban's tally. Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron had the assists. Brad Marchand (14th goal of season) tied it at two after great hustle, he followed his own rebound with Bergeron and Seguin providing the assists at 7:23. You knew the B's were rolling when Bergeron made it 4-2 thanks to a power-play goal at 17:01 from Rich Peverley and Torey Krug (called up today).

Ryder struck again, early in the third period, on another one-timer but Seguin appeared to wrap it up with a beautiful backhander at 11:50 from Marchand and Bergeron. Gallagher got the lucky bounces started for Montreal as he scored after no joke he shot it off Dennis Seidenberg's face then swept the rebound past Rask who was out of position. The Canadiens took advantage of a silly rule that needs to be changed as Andrei Markov was credited with a power play when there was only 8.2 seconds left in regulation. Aaron Johnson had mistakenly deflected the puck into the crowd in his own end. That was bad enough but the goal was deflected off Chara's stick past Rask.

Boston dominated in most facets: shots on goal (41-28), hits (33-21) and faceoff wins (44-26) but they couldn't find the game-winner in overtime and then all six shooters were stopped by Peter Budaj (14 saves). Carey Price (22 saves) started but got pulled after the second period, Budaj earned the win by only allowing one goal with nothing in overtime or even the shootout.

These teams meet one more time, on Saturday, April 6 in Montreal, before the playoffs begin. As it stands, Montreal leads the season series 2-1. For the first time in over a month, the exhausted B's get two days in a row without a game. Next, we'll see them in Philadelphia on Saturday (1:00 p.m., NESN) taking on the Flyers (13-17-2, 5th in Atlantic Division) who have been one of the NHL's biggest disappointments.

UPDATE 3/29: Torey Krug was sent back to Providence which means that Johnny Boychuk should be back in the lineup tomorrow against the Flyers.

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