Well who saw that coming?
You had to think that coming into the night that it was going to be a close game right? I mean the Bruins had only beaten the Canadiens once this season in that brawl at the Garden but the B’s came out on top 8-6. With the commissioner supposedly in attendance (turns out it was Terry Gregson, the league’s director of officiating), you had to wonder if the game would be played different. A veteran officiating crew, you had to wonder if the game would be played different.
Well it was played different but I don’t think the officials, their director, or even Bettman (who had warned both team’s GM’s not to have another crazy game like in Boston last month) would have an affect on the effort the Bruins put on the ice last night. In fact it could be argued that the Bruins effort put out last night was in spite of those factors.
The Bruins came out and skated hard. They, specifically Johnny Boychuk, scored just over a minute into the game. Of course I was still at work and missed the goal but when I got in my car I heard that it was a 1-0 Bruins lead. A lead I wasn’t too comfortable with.
I listened to 98.5 The Sports Hub on my ride home and sat in my car in the parking lot till there was a commercial. I rushed up the stairs, turned on NESN and within a minute of me starting dinner, it was 2-0 B’s. Campbell scored his first of what would end up being two goals on the night. Then Montreal started to get dirty.
There was a clear intentional high sticking, the guy looked like he was swinging a baseball bat, on Nathan Horton that resulted in a double minor. The result was a Horton powerplay goal, a 3-0 Bruins lead, and despite a flurry of shots towards the end of the period the Bruins went into the break 3-0.
The second period saw a shift in momentum a little bit. Montreal for the first ten minutes or so seemed to be skating harder and really looked to want it. But it was around that ten minute mark that saw Scott Gomez heading into the box for another Montreal high sticking. That was followed up with another double minor for the Canadiens but no goals. Gomez went back into the box for holding but no additional goal. The period ended with a pretty lame fight with Gregory Campbell and Paul Mara.
Then the scoring was unleashed in the third period. Nathan Horton and Adam McQuaid scored 24 seconds apart. That resulted in the pulling of Casey Price. But the Bruins added two more goals in spite of the officials (in my opinion) trying to ruin Thomas’s shutout bid by call after call against the B’s. The Bruins didn’t let that stop them as Kaberle and Gregory Campbel (shorthanded) added two more goals to give the B’s the touchdown.
Somehow Thomas didn’t get a star of the game despite the shutout but that’s really not worth arguing. He helped his goals against average but more importantly helped his team get that lead over the Canadiens to five points.
Next up is the Rangers on Saturday at the Garden (Boston not MSG). Looks at this point like the Bruins are going to be the three seed but if they catch fire heading into the playoffs they could catch Washington for the #2.