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Saturday, November 22, 2014

No Other Way To Say It: The Canadiens Currently Own the Bruins & Rask

This is really far away but at this rate, the Bruins have to hope that they don't see the Canadiens again in the playoffs this spring because I think we all now how that will turn out, again. Montreal (16-5-1) is currently the best team in the Eastern Conference and they also have the most points in the NHL so you could make a logical argument that they are the top team period. The Canadiens improved to 3-0 vs. the Bruins this season with a nip and tuck 2-0 shutout by Carey Price (33 saves) tonight at TD Garden that clinched the season series. Their only other meeting is February 8 back in Boston.

Montreal snapped a six-game home win streak for Boston and they've outscored the Bruins by an aggregate score of 13-5 this season. This was one of those wins that felt way more dominant than the final score and shots on goal total (33-23 in favor of the B's) would indicate. The Bruins could have played for 180 minutes against Price without scoring a single goal, it was that pathetic. Of course, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara being out doesn't help but injuries happen so there is no point dwelling on them for too long.

The scary thing is that Tuukka Rask (21 saves) played about as well as he ever does against Montreal but he still fell short. In his career, he fell to 3-12-3 vs. the Canadiens which is baffling. This loss clearly wasn't his fault since the Bruins should be able to muster a couple goals at home, even in a back-to-back.

Montreal came in with the No. 27 power play in the league which is shocking, especially after Andrei Markov's seeing-eye shot from the point went through countless bodies in front and by Rask at 11:37 of the first period. It was the seventh time in the last nine games that Boston had allowed the first goal, not a trend that you want to see continue. Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec had the assists on Markov's second goal of the season.

The Canadiens doubled their lead midway through the second period at 8:59 when Plekanec was on the doorstep to sweep in a rebound. Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk had the assists. Boston tried to get some energy by fighting (Gregory Campbell vs. Dale Weise in the first period and Torey Krug vs. Galchenyuk in the third), something that even they rarely do anymore but that did nothing to noticeably spark them.

Chris Kelly was a late scratch for the B's as well with an injury picked up last night in Columbus which meant that Matthew Lindblad was forced to make his NHL debut. Boston wants to get all these young guys experience in the NHL but not at the same time while they're trying to stay afloat.

The Bruins have one final game before their Thanksgiving break: they host Pittsburgh (13-4-2) on Monday (7, NESN). The Penguins are off to their usual superb start but unlike the Habs, Boston typically has their number. We'll see if that holds true this time with so many important players out for Boston. That will be the first time that they meet this season.

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