Montreal 2, Boston 1 SO (TD Bank Garden)
posted by Rocket
This was a statement game. The Canadiens, winless in nine previous games versus the Bruins, were able to leave Boston with an important two points.
But it wasn't the Canadiens who delivered the statement—it was goaltender Carey Price.
Price has been unfairly maligned for a variety of non-performance-related reasons by fans and media alike. On most nights, he has suffered the critical consequences of his teammates' poor play.
But in this game, Price would not let anything separate him and the Habs from a win. His intensity and determination was evident all game, but particularly in the shootout.
The Canadiens have three wins in eight road games. Price, almost singlehandedly, has been responsible for all three wins.
The Canadiens' defense did not have a good night, giving up too many shots and quality scoring chances. Price made 42 saves on 43 shots by the Bruins and stopped all three in the shootout.
While defense was the focus in practise prior to the Boston game, it appears that coach Jacques Martin's system and methods are not very effective. The Canadiens' defense did not play well particularly in the second period.
It was a quiet night for the "big" three. The Bruins were effective in shutting down Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez, who collectively were limited to five shots on goal. Cammalleri, with only one shot during regulation time, scored the game-winner in the shootout.
Glen Metropolit continues to shine. Metropolit had a goal waved off in a controversial play that was ruled goalie interference on Travis Moen. But Metropolit would get another goal on a tap-in set up on a beautiful rush by Andrei Kostitsyn.
Kostitsyn played physically and had a strong game at both ends of the ice. He even provided direction to his two young linemates, both playing their first game in the league.
Tom Pyatt and Ryan White didn't look out of place in their NHL debuts and were an upgrade on Kyle Chipchura and Greg Stewart. White led the Canadiens with four hits and picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Metropolit's goal. Pyatt even found himself earning brief penalty-killing duty.
The Canadiens' penalty killing was perfect on three chances by the Bruins. However, Boston was ranked 29th in the league on the power play coming into the game.
The Habs missed the services of Hal Gill (or Ryan O'Byrne) in the last minute of the game on the tying goal by Boston. Jaroslav Spacek was no match for Zdeno Chara, who had parked himself at the lip of the Montreal crease.
Spacek gave the Canadiens a scare when he went into the boards heavily after helping to break up a Bruins three-on-one rush. Spacek didn't appear to be 100 percent but would return to the game.
Spacek's brief absence put additional pressure on an already depleted Montreal defensive corps. Mathieu Carle was steadier in this game. Marc-Andre Bergeron continues to be a train wreck on defense; his signing was a giant mistake by the organization.
But this game belonged to Price. His continued good goaltending was finally rewarded with a win. Price proved that he was the right choice as a starter and will find himself between the pipes for the Saturday night game against Tampa Bay.
Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri
Plekanec, Lapierre, Latendresse
Metropolit, Moen, Pacioretty
Pyatt, Andrei Kostitsyn, White
Tom Pyatt and Ryan White called up from Hamilton and make their NHL debuts.
Carey Price starts in goal for the Canadiens; Tim Thomas for the Bruins.
Scratches: Chipchura, Stewart, D'Agostini (concussion), Laraque (upper body), Gill (leg), Markov (ankle), O'Byrne (knee)
Rocket's three stars
1. Carey Price
2. Patrice Bergeron
3. Andrei Kostitsyn