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RECAP: Montreal shuts out Boston for the first home loss of the Bruins’ season

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First-period tallies put Boston behind early, and the offense ran dry against an old commander’s new squad.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Matt Grzelcyk watches Charles Hudon as he gains the zone against Boston on Saturday night.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The first home loss of the Bruins’ young season was fortunately masked by the success of the Red Sox. At least the B’s aren’t losing in the Cup Finals right now, amirite?

We’ll get over it. It’s one game.

First Period

Exchanges - shots, physicality - were even through the firs few minutes, until David Pastrnak slashed Xavier Ouellet behind the Montreal net to earn the game’s first penalty. Boston would beat it, leaving just over 13 minutes in the first.

Just before the halfway point, Brendan Gallagher snuck a shot from the left dot to put Montreal up 1-0.

About ninety seconds later, Max Domi collected an already-missed pass from behind the net, missed one shot and buried the second attempt from his knees. Habs lead, 2-0.

Kotkaniemi got away with one on David Pastrnak, clipping him as he left the bench from Pasta’s blind side. There’s something missing here, but we just can’t put our hand up on it.

Second Period

First half... meh.

With just under 8 minutes played, Ryan Donato scores one off a great rush and wicked shot.

...... BUT WAIT.

Anders Bjork’s drop-pass was before he gained the zone, causing the offsides and negating the goal.

Not much else to write home about in this one. On to the third.

Third Period

Slow flow to start things off, and the penalty minutes really racked up in this frame. Donato finally got a tripping call in his favor after what seemed like several opportunities earlier in the game. Before the powerplay could get into a rhythm, however, Rask would trip someone skating by his crease, basically splitting the advantage. Later, Brad Marchand and Jonathan Drouin would show equal frustrations to earn matching minors, and a late hook on David Krejci would yield a final dawdling power play by Boston. In the waning minutes, Jordie Benn banked the puck off the boards in front of the Montreal bench that wound up in Boston’s empty net to seal it.

Game Notes

  • First of all, congratulations are due to Carey Price for his milestone win. With his 290th win, he moved into second place all-time for Montreal, passing Patrick Roy and trailing only Jacques Plante (314 wins).
  • We saw Donato trip over his own eagerness about a half-dozen times. (Could have been ruts in the ice, but who are we to judge.) The kid has been putting in the effort and is getting to the right spots on the ice, but just cannot buy a shot - y’know, other than the ones that go in after he’s offsides. He’s a hard project to predict; he’s both on the verge of breaking through and simultaneously frustrating in his inability to cobble together offense. He’s also looking very one-dimensional, which harks back to a recent shoot-first winger prospect that was less than successful in Boston. (READ: Frank Vatrano 2.0. Hoping for a better result.)
  • Zdeno Chara was finally outskated by another player! Clearly it wasn’t Charlie McAvoy, who is currently on injured reserve but figures to take over the true minute-munching role in the near term. No, it was David Pastrnak - clearly, Bruce Cassidy tried to release lightning and got little more than a spark. Montreal knew exactly how to contain the Czech-Italian Rocket. (It’s a pasta reference in progress.)
  • Another reference to Chara: while he was paired with Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk actually spent two minutes more on the ice than his youthful teammate. That’s easily accounted for, however - the Charlestown native spent nearly 90 seconds on each of Boston’s power plays. Both ‘Futures’ played on the penalty kill (except for Carlo’s own penalty).
  • Neither team could capitalize on the power play - and/or, both were relatively successful on the penalty kill. Either way, there were no momentum-changers due to personnel advantages. Man, does Boston miss McAvoy and Torey Krug.

See y’all on Tuesday for the road trip to Carolina!