The Boston Bruins dominated play against the Montreal Canadiens last night when the teams were at even strength. The problem for the Bruins however is the Canadiens are excellent at drawing penalties, especially against Boston. That trend of undisciplined play against the Habs continued in Monday’s game, and it cost the team.
After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien talked about how his team got dragged into retaliation penalties. “The Marchand penalty was frustration because he got tripped on the faceoff before and it wasn’t called. But those are things that are going to happen in a game, and you can’t retaliate by taking a bad penalty. Boychuk’s penalty was a bad one. … I think we have to be better disciplined against them.”
Despite finding themselves on the penalty kill six times, including 44 seconds of 5-on-3, the Bruins were able to hold the Canadiens to only one goal and that came on a redirected shot off the stick of Bruins winger Chris Kelly.
Boston had their fair share of time on the power-play as well, and it was on the last of their six power-play opportunities that they were finally able to cash in on the man advantage. In a similar fashion to the Canadiens goal, a shot from defenseman Dougie Hamilton deflected off the stick of Patrice Bergeron, then the body of a Habs player, and past goalie Peter Budaj. The Bruins, who had been narrowly missing the entire game, finally had some puck luck to tie the game at 1-1 at 14:34 of the third period.
The game stayed tied throughout the rest of regulation time and through the 4-on-4 overtime, but not due to lack of aggressiveness by coach Julien. He continued his season-long trend of putting three forwards and just one defenseman on the ice during the overtime and it produced some good scoring chances for the Bruins. Much like the rest of the game however, Boston just could not get the bounce of the puck they needed for a goal.
After 65 minutes of competitive hockey, the game went into a shootout, a competition that Boston has struggled in for many years. Lacking a player that truly excels at the shootout, the Bruins went 0-for-4. Tuukka Rask did a pretty good job at stopping the Canadiens shootout attempts as well, but he was not able to stop Montreal’s fourth shooter, Alex Galchenyuk.
The loss snapped the Bruins 12-game winning streak, stopping them one win short of tying the 1970-71 Bruins team that won 13-games in a row. Although they lost, Boston was the better team for most of the game and the players knew they may have deserved a better fate.
“I think we outplayed them tonight by far,” the Bruins’ Brad Marchand said. “It was definitely disappointing to see it end in a shootout like that, have our streak ended. I don’t think we deserve that outcome. But on the other side of it, we’ve won games we probably shouldn’t have. That’s hockey.”
The comments after the game by Marchand were exactly right, but they have only themselves to blame for the outcome. They fell into Montreal’s trap in this game and got caught retaliating on many occasions. Undisciplined and the Bruins are not usually synonymous, but as Marchand put it, “You know, they’re (Canadiens) just one of those teams you want to hit”.
Boston will look to start a new winning streak when they play the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday at the TD Garden. The Bruins lost to the Hawks earlier this season on Jan 19 in Chicago, 3-2 in a shootout.