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Monday, March 4, 2013

Canadiens Rally For A 4-3 Win In Boston

Games like tonight are why hockey fans enjoying fighting in the NHL and don't want to see the most brutal aspect of the sport be taken out. Montreal (14-4-4) scored a vital road win with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory at TD Garden vs. Boston (14-3-2). The Bruins' six-game win streak is over and in the process the Canadiens take over sole possession of the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference. The good news is that Boston has three games in hand and they only trail Montreal by two points.

A pair of fights in the second period with threats of more will be the main talking point coming out of this intense regular season meeting. Zdeno Chara got whistled for a misconduct on Alexei Emelin. Big Z unloaded on Emelin since the latter had taken a run at Tyler Seguin in the neutral zone by the benches. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they allowed the final two goals by Montreal while Chara was out for a combined 17 penalty minutes in the late second and third period.

Just as everybody predicted, Peter Budaj (31 saves) outdueled Boston's Tuukka Rask (22 saves), wait what? This had to have served as some sort of revenge for Montreal after Boston won there by 2-1 on Feb. 6; they play twice more in the regular season. Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring for Montreal with a power play goal (3rd game in a row Boston has allowed a PP goal) at 9:57 of the first period. Former Bruin Michael Ryder and also P.K. Subban had the assists on Plekanec's shot which appeared to Rask. Tyler Seguin answered with a pretty one-timer goal off a clean breakout by Boston, Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 2 assist) and Brad Marchand (3 assists) provided the helpers. This all happened in 1:06 of game clock.

The immortal David Desharnais put up two goals although the first one was the hockey equivalent of an own goal in soccer. He banked it in off Johnny Boychuk's stick. Usually Boston dominates in the third period but tonight that became the second period. Bergeron tied it thanks to a 2-on-1 with Seguin, Marchand was credited with the second assist. Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored his second goal of the season to give the B's a 3-2 advantage. Marchand and Bergeron both put up assists on the play but truthfully Hamilton did most of the heavy lifting as he batted a pouncing puck past Budaj from a sharp angle.

After Boston took their only lead of the game, that's when things started to go downhill. Milan Lucic fought his old nemesis Brandon Prust (3 total fights between those guys in their careers) then Chara went by the unwritten rule for the B's to protect their own by taking out Emelin. The Canadiens are having a great start to the season and it continued as Max Pacioretty tied it up with a screened shot from the point. Desharnais scored his second goal by simply crashing the net.

The best cure for Boston will be to beat the Capitals (8-11-1, 4th in Southeast Division) on Tuesday night (7 p.m., NESN) in DC. They haven't played them yet this season but the Bruins should be very motivated to get back to their winning ways while also keeping the team that knocked them out of last spring's playoffs in misery. I only bring it up not as an excuse but a notable fact this concluded a three-games in four days stretch for the B's. They also had games on back-to-back days.

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