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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bruins Fall 4-2 to the Canadiens in their First Meeting of the Season

We are nowhere close to being sure if the Canadiens (4-0-1) are a quality team in 2016-17 but this much is true: they are better than the assorted slop that the Bruins (3-2-0) faced in their first four games of this campaign (Columbus, Toronto, Winnipeg and New Jersey). Many of the names and faces have changed but in this opening installment of Bruins-Canadiens, Boston was no match for Montreal as they lost 4-2 at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask (general soreness) was surprisingly out for the B's but backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (25 saves) did the best he could on short notice, frankly his teammates let him down for the most part. Oh and Montreal improved to 7-0-2 in their last nine regular season games in Boston, yeesh!

Carey Price (19 saves) didn't need to be anywhere near his best since Boston only managed 21 shots on goal in the entire contest. After a scoreless first period, Montreal potted a pair of goals midway through the second. Brad Marchand's brother from another mother Brendan Gallagher made it 1-0 Canadiens at 11:41. He was left wide open above a face-off circle to fire an easy one-timer from Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk for his third goal of the season. Something named Phillip Danault doubled Montreal's lead at 17:44 when he finished a 2-on-1 from Alexander Radulov for his first goal of the season. Greg Pateryn notched the second helper on the goal that came courtesy of the Bruins getting caught up ice.

The Bruins trailed 2-0 going into the third but thankfully, they woke up a bit thanks to another goal from their fourth line that has already shown some nice chemistry early on. Harvard's Dominic Moore got the goal, assisted by my PC guys Tim Schaller and Noel Acciari. Moore's second tally of the season came at 5:34 to cut it to 2-1 Canadiens. Montreal didn't give Boston much of a sniff at a comeback attempt though as "Lord" Paul Byron broke free for a shorthanded breakaway and goal less than two minutes later at 7:32. Shea Weber (who you might have heard was traded straight up for P.K. Subban over the summer with Nashville) banked the pass to him off the boards that eluded Torey Krug pinching in at Montreal's offensive zone. Andrei Markov had the second assist on Byron's first goal of the season.

Boston's scuffling power play (2 for 20) finally came through 37 seconds after Byron's backbreaking goal as Ryan Spooner (who for some reason was a healthy scratch on Thursday vs. the Devils) hammered in a one-timer from David Backes' sweet cross-crease sauce. David Krejci had the other assist on Spooner's first goal of the season. The B's put some pressure on the Habs for a few minutes when it was a one-goal game but yet again, their suspect defense fell apart when UVM's Torrey Mitchell stole the puck from Joe Morrow and put it past Khudobin with a beautiful diving shot (while he got a high stick in the face by Morrow for his troubles).

This inaugural three-game homestand ends on Tuesday night (7, NESN) as the Bruins host the Wild (3-1-1). Minnesota is at the Islanders (2-3-0) tomorrow night but at the moment, they are in first-place in the Central Division. Unless it's something really serious, you'd have to think that Rask will be back for that one. Following that matchup, Boston heads out on a four-game road trip (Rangers, Red Wings, Panthers and Lightning) that promises to be much more difficult than their first trip. Plus those are all Eastern Conference foes that they'll be seeing plenty of from now until April and hopefully beyond.

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