Rare Home Loss For Habs, Falling 2-1 in OT To The Bruins

Photo by Francois Lacasse / NHLI via Getty Images

Rare Home Loss For Habs, Falling 2-1 in OT To The Bruins

In a rare home loss for the Habs, and a rare loss to the Bruins on home ice, they were edged out 2-1 in overtime Monday night.

It was a game filled with events, physical and hockey-related, and was a typical rivalry between these two Original Six teams. While it’s always exciting to play the Bruins, it’s also extremely nerve-wracking – mostly because we want that win so badly. Not just for points, but those bragging rights too.

Here’s how this game played out. In a departure from usual format, I am also including the hits per period, as they are relevant to this game.

First Period: Shots 8-7 Montreal

Hits: 13-9 Montreal

No Goals

The game started off with fast, back-and-forth play, no goals, but plenty of action.

Skating with the puck, Andrew Shaw was blindsided by Torrey Krug, who hit him with a definite target to the head:

Here it is, slowed down:

Shaw was instantly taken to the dressing room for the rest of the period, and there was no call on the play.

The Habs, though, took matters into their own hands. Shortly after the hit, Brendan Gallagher dropped the gloves with Krug. He dropped Krug quickly, but clearly riled up, he shouted for Krug to get up (using choice words – fairly obvious to those of us who read lips). Gallagher was penalized a five-minute major, and play continued.

There were other retaliatory hits, throughout the period. It was clear that the tone had been set.

However, as indicated by the statistic provided above, Montreal was not finished with Boston, and the mood turned very contentious, very quickly.

Second Period: Shots 13-12 Boston

Goal: Austin Czarnik (Adam McQuaid, Ryan Spooner), 18:55

Hits: 10-7 Boston

Andrew Shaw returned for the second period, which was good news for the team (and fans). He still found himself in the middle of physical battles, but played well – an indication that the hit wasn’t a concussion-causing impact.

Both teams played fast, even, and – for the most part – clean hockey. With 2 more power play opportunities, the Habs still didn’t capitalize on the advantage.

At 18:55 of the period, Zach Redmond failed to get back to the Habs zone fast enough to prevent Austin Czarnik from a beautifully placed goal, opening the scoring for the game. The period ended with an almost-chance for the Canadiens, but the buzzer went before they could pressure Tuukka Rask.

Third Period Shots: 10-7 Montreal

Goal: Paul Byron (Torrey Mitchell, Andrei Markov), 16:48

Hits: 15-11 Boston

The third period went very much the same way the first two frames played out: fast, contentious, exciting plays, in every zone on the ice.

Despite one power play, the Habs did not score until Paul Byron got the equalizer on a never-say-die play. With Torrey Mitchell getting a shot, rebounded by Rask, Byron – who always takes every chance – found the puck, and with a neat backhand shot, tied the game.

In the almost 3 minutes that remained, there was a great display of two strong teams battling to get the win. The period ended without a decision, and went to overtime.

Overtime: Shots 2-1 Boston

Goal: Ryan Spooner (Torrey Krug, Austin Czarnik), 3:20

Both teams got good chances; Boston thought they had the overtime winner when the puck went into the net on a busy play; David Pastrnak went into the net behind Carey Price, and the play was reviewed. (The only video clip I could find was the one below; apologies, as the translated text is derogatory, referring to Carey Price’s recent altercation with Kyle Palmieri – yes, they’re still complaining about that)

Clearly, there was no goal, and play continued.

Unfortunately, when it was time for a Habs line change, the puck was already on its way down toward their own zone, so nobody could get off the ice. Alexander Radulov was visibly out of gas, but played hard to try and get the puck back.

Ryan Spooner took a shot, got the puck in the net, and just as we were all absorbing this loss, it looked like the goal might be reviewed. The Bruins had already left for the dressing room, but the Habs were still on the bench. The referees began a review – apparently a coach’s challenge for offside – but even after some tense (even hopeful) moments, the goal was deemed a good one.

Some Thoughts

Whenever the Habs and Bruins play, you know the game will be a Story. This game, it’s the story of the first period, which set the tone for the game.

  • I feel the hit to Shaw was a definite head hit; there was not only no penalty on it, many people are pessimistic about the league even looking at it. But that is something they have to discuss in the NHL; they were supposed to close the ranks, and rally against headshots. In some cases, it’s happened. In others – we’ve seen it on our team, and around the league – it just isn’t happening.
  • The OT goal will be disputed for a while to come. They played video in super-slow motion, and it did look like Brad Marchand was offside. Though it looked almost too close to call, the replay showed both his skates inside the blue line with the puck outside the zone. Frustrating, because in this kind of game, a call should not make or break the results.
  • Alexei Emelin got some big hits in this game. The one that started the physicality was this one, on Pastrnak, followed by the hit to Shaw:

He also took out Brad Marchand in an entirely clean hit:

And Radulov got some action too:

  • If there’s a reason the Habs did not win this game, it’s not the offside, or the interference, or the hits. It’s the power play.

The Canadiens had 5 chances to score on the man-advantage, and failed to do so. Was part of it the fact that the Bruins were keeping them at bay? Sure, their penalty kill was sharp Monday evening.

This is pretty telling:

Does one player make the power play? It shouldn’t be that way, but Alex Galchenyuk is a definite force, and the power play is struggling once again.

It’s hard to see a loss to any team, especially when it’s a rare home loss (14-1-2 at home now). But when it’s a fierce rivalry like the Boston Bruins, it’s that much more of a defeat.

Still, the Habs have a lot to build on, and if they continue the way they’ve played this season, they’ll be in very good shape as it progresses. We know it’s a cliché but we can’t win ’em all.

  • To make you smile despite the loss, consider Alexander Radulov: his heart is on his sleeve, on the ice, and in his every action. Whether it’s puck protection, shots, skating, or hits, he’s right there, doing what’s asked of him.

And when the Habs score, it doesn’t matter whether he’s got the goal, an assist, or is on the bench. He celebrates harder than anyone else.

Case in point:

The Habs have the week off – or at least from playing (I’m sure there will be practices). They play next on Friday evening, when the San Jose Sharks visit the Bell Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

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