After a Superbowl split which saw the Habs turn in a tight game against the Rangers with a 2-0 win, then a somewhat predictable loss against the surging New Jersey Devils 4-1, the team came into Boston with the chance to catch their rivals atop the Northeast Division.
Carey Price lands the one and only punch on Timmy Thomas last night in Boston. Price won the fight, but the Habs lost the game 8-6. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.)
Nobody could have predicted the Habs would score 6 goals... and lose! The Bruins deserved this hard-fought, 8-6 win that saw endless fights and a crazy 2nd period where the teams scored a combined 8 goals on two of the best goalies in the league: Timmy Thomas and Carey Price.
These two even faced off in a rare goalie fight, Thomas skating to Price's end to offer him the chance to knock his block off, which he did. Price looked reluctant to fight, but obliged. In the end, it amounted to a playfight, with Price getting in one shot, Thomas losing his balance and the two falling onto eachother. Standing back up, the two looking like they were going to kiss -- or at least hug it out. That was a funny moment.
As an aside, check out the photo above. I love that old guy in the Bruins sweater at the far end of the ice. Boy did he enjoy the tilt. It's true, it is exciting when two goalies fight. Maybe because it conjures up memories of Roy vs. Vernon. But who wasn't holding their breath, with two franchise goalies going at it. Last thing anyone wanted was to see someone break their hand.
Honestly this game could have been well out of hand for the Habs if it weren't for Price's strong play in the first period which saw the Bruins score twice in 12 seconds to take a 2-0 lead. The Habs came back strong in the second with Captain Gionta scoring in the first minute to cut the lead.
Then once P.K. Subban tied the game up, the fireworks began. Boom, the Bruins took the lead back. Boom, the Habs tied it up with a nice shot by Yannick Weber. Boom, the Bruins scored another two quick ones, by former Hab Michael Ryder and the king of goons, Milan Lucic. Boy I'd love to see someone punch his lights out. I guess he is the kind of player you'd like on your team, but when I see him crosschecking Price in his crease, that's a bit too much. Hope the Habs remember that.
The real problem was the Habs couldn't play defense on this night. And you'd think because Price let in 8 goals, that he'd had a bad game. But all the goals that sailed past him he had no chance on. That's what his team was doing in front of him -- continuously handing over quality scoring chances to a Bruins team who were determined not to let this one slip out of their hands, like what happened back in January in Montreal.
And what about the Gomez-Kostitsyn-Eller line!? A combined minus 12!!! Gomez probably had his worst game in a Habs jersey, Kostitsyn is just continuing his easy-breezy play, and Eller? Well, I think the time has come for him to go to the farm, just like MaxPac did last year, to regain his confidence. He's had all the chances in the world, but isn't putting up anything on the board. It seemed the Bruins scored everytime these guys were on the ice last night.
Credit to the Habs for hanging around in this one, and when Max Pacioretty scored with a little over 12 minutes remaining in the game to make it 6-5, the team at least had a chance to maybe eke out a point with some late heroics. But once again, the Bruins came right back and put out that fire.
The goonery at the end showed the Bruins true character. They had the game in hand, but they wanted to rub it in for good measure. These are the kinds of things that anger the hockey gods, and why the Bruins will always be a "coulda been" kind of team. Gregory Campbell punching out Pyatt with his elbow pad? Uppercuts no less. Come on, what a hump! Stand up and fight the right way. Even Krejci got into the action with a reluctant Pouliot, who came across as if he were saying "You sure you want to do this?" Pouliot then dropped the Bruins player with one punch.
I always respected coach Claude Julien but he should be ashamed for the way this game ended.
The Habs can take a few positives from this game:
1) The power play finally got going, scoring 4 times. Hopefully this is just the start.
2) They have the chance to bounce back tonight against the New York Islanders in Montreal.
3) They have this game as a reminder for future matchups against this Boston goon squad.
Don't the Bruins know that the only good squad that can win it all is playing in another state, namely the Philadelphia Flyers!?
In some other notes around the league, don't you think Penguins forward Matt Cooke should be banned from playing? I mean, this guy is exactly the kind of player the NHL does not need... he intentionally tries to hurt players. He may have single-handedly ended Marc Savard's career. I personally can't stand the guy. For awhile now. He's a joke and an embarassment to the league.
Mike Fisher was traded to Nashville today. Now his wife Carrie Underwood can rest easy. And the Senators have now officially raised the white flag, trading away their best player.
The Leafs traded Beauchemin back to the Ducks for underachieving forward Joffrey Lupul and a defense prospect. Lupul has underperformed everywhere he's gone and is injury prone. Is there any reason why this would change in Toronto, where players come to die?????
What's with all these back to back games of late? Weird schedule...