The Boston Bruins improved to 3-1-1 when allowing the first goal of a game in 2012-13. Unlike the previous three times they reaped points in that situation, though, they put the opposition away in a more timely fashion, surmounting the initial deficit to top the host Montreal Canadiens in regulation, 2-1, Wednesday night.
Tyler Seguin paved the road to Boston’s first come-from-behind regulation triumph by compiling his first legitimate multipoint performance of the young season. That is, both his goal and assist came when an opposing netminder needed to be outwitted.
By playing the brief-but-fatal menace at Montreal’s expense, Seguin helped his associates negate the host’s advantages on special teams (five power plays to four) and physicality (31 hits to 26). Along with the initial icebreaker, a scoreless first period that had the Habs roll up an 11-4 edge in the shooting gallery and 9-6 advantage in the faceoff department was a distant memory in the decisive stanza.
With that in mind, here are the Bruins’ three topmost storylines from the season series opener with their topmost divisional rival.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask gave the puck away once in each period―at 15:12 of the first, 19:08 of the second and 14:56 of the third. But none of those turnovers directly precipitated a registered stab by a Canadiens forechecker, although the first was followed by a succession of three straight shots roughly 20 seconds later with no whistles in between.
Before any of that, Rask repelled seven unanswered Montreal shots in the tone-setting phases of the game, the seventh coming on a Lars Eller breakaway at 10:09 of the opening frame. It would still be another 75 seconds after that before Boston finally tested Carey Price.
By night’s end, save for one inauspicious deflection of a P.K. Subban power-play slapper, Rask had pulled out an answer for each of his own missteps and those of his skating mates. In addition, just as he did against New Jersey last week and Winnipeg the week prior, he hardly crumbled after shedding first blood.
He was rewarded just a little more this time around as his skating mates would spare him overtime, let alone the one-on-ones.
His two usual linemates, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, were in another country while he was called upon to spell a still-ailing Brad Marchand on the top six. Yet Gregory Campbell was not fazed by his altered regimen or, comparatively speaking, by his team’s generally languid start.
Campbell was the first Bruin on the night to record a shot against Price (at 11:24 of the first) and was later the first to charge up multiple shots on goal. He saw the second-most cumulative ice time during short-handed segments among Boston forwards (4:42) and disrupted more than one Montreal offensive threat with calculated stick work.
Entering a fresh sheet with the 1-0 pothole still glowering at the Bruins to start the third period, Seguin cut to the porch and buried David Krejci’s centering feed to the right of Price with 14 seconds gone.
Having finally cultivated his first strike at the expense of a real, live NHL netminder in 2013 and having inserted the equalizer, Seguin proceeded to personify a teamwide energy boost.
On the team’s next shift, Nathan Horton pelted Price with a wrister from 13 feet away. Contrast that with the four sparse Boston’s bids in the first period that came from successive distances of 43, 47, 52 and 29 feet.
On his line’s next shift, Seguin set up the eventual clincher by taking Johnny Boychuk’s breakout pass and cutting straight up the Broadway lane. Upon entry deep into Montreal property, he found Milan Lucic for a tap-tap-tap sequence that culminated in Krejci shoveling his return feed home at 2:05.