Wow, what a first period by the Montreal Canadiens last night vs the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Canadiens came flying out of the gate and eventually outshot the visiting Bruins 11-4 in the first stanza.
Not only were they outshooting the B’s, but it felt like the Habs were getting quality scoring chance after quality scoring chance. I waited 5 days for this game and it looked as though the much-hated Canadiens had shown up while the Bruins had left their all-around game in Boston.
Thankfully one Bruin had shown up for the first period and the whole game for that matter. That player was goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Rask made save after save, sometimes standing on his head to do so and he even stoned Lars Eller as the Canadiens center rushed in uncontested on a breakaway. It was a thing of beauty.
Thanks to Rask the Bruins made it out of the first alive and from there on out it was “Tuukka Time”. He was in the Canadiens’ collective head and even forced a few Habs (looking at you Tomas Plekanec) to fine-tune their shots a little too much or try to get too fancy and the Habs just had no answer for Tuukka.
The Canadiens finally beat Rask on the power play in the 2nd period, but the goal should’ve been credited to B’s center Rich Peverley who masterfully tipped a P.K. Subban slap shot into the top right corner. A forward for the Habs couldn’t have deflected the shot any better past Tuukka, it was an unfortunate play for the B’s and Rask.
Undeterred however Tuukka stayed calm, stayed loose like he always does and just continued to be a brick wall behind a Bruins team that clearly wasn’t playing like the Bruins team we’ve become accustomed to watching. It was a welcomed site after watching Tim Thomas‘ hectic, flop-like-a-fish goaltending style around here for the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I love Timmy and always will no matter how crazy he gets, just Rask is so calm and technically sound, it’s refreshing and a tad more reassuring I guess.
Anyway, by the time the 3rd period rolled around the Bruins were only down 1-0 courtesy of Rask and B’s head coach Claude Julien decided it was time to mix up his lines in an attempt to find some offense and help out his goalie.
The newly formed lined of Tyler Seguin, David Krejci and Milan Lucic stormed onto the ice in the 3rd and Seguin scored off a great pass from Krejci to make it 1-1 less than 20 seconds into the final period.
Shortly after that the 3 were at it again, this time Lucic was bombing down the left side and found a streaking Krejci in front of the net who tapped the puck in past a sliding Carey Price. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
From there on the Bruins played solid team defense and took every shot the Canadiens threw at them to hold on to a 2-1 victory. The two points keeps the B’s in first atop the Northeast Division and even moved them to 1st overall in the Eastern Conference (not bad for a team TSN had ranked below the Habs in their latest power rankings).
With the hard-fought win Tuukka Rask moves to 6-1-1 on the season and has a .922 save percentage, to go a long with a sparkling 1.97 goals against average.