Boston Bruins show no quit, topple Montreal in OT

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 3: Jake DeBrusk
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 3: Jake DeBrusk /

The Boston Bruins had a few days off to collect themselves after what was one of the craziest games of the NHL season.  Montreal played last night.  Seems like a no brainer, right?

The Boston Bruins put up 8, yes, EIGHT goals in their last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  There were times during the game when it seemed all but certain that the B’s were going to hit double digits.  Alas, they had to settle for the snowman, and a 8-4 win.

If you had to ask me which game the Bruins would have scored 8 goals in, I would have said this one tonight at home against the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.  The Bruins were buzzing all game, and were given so many odd-man chances.

This game was frustrating to watch for two reasons:  (1) I was supposed to be at the game, but due to the Nor’Easter than came through, I had to cancel my travel plans; and (2) the Bruins just could NOT score on Habs netminder Antti Niemi for most of the game.  Early on, the chances were mounting for Boston, but the puck luck was just not there.

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David Pastrnak rang one off the post on a 2-on-0 with Riley Nash.  It seemed like every scoring opportunity the Bruins threw on net, either Niemi made the same, or his friend the iron stood tall.

The Canadiens broke through first in the game, when Brendan Gallagher took advantage of a Kevan Miller turnover on a pass through center ice.  Gallagher had just hopped off the bench, and after intercepting the pass and skating into the zone, he fired a back-foot snapshot passed Anton Khudobin.  A little over 9 minutes in, and the Bruins were chasing the score again.

The Bruins controlled play basically for the rest of the game going forward, but there seemed to be an invisible forcefield across the Canadiens goalline.  The Canadiens were doing well in keep the Bruins chances to score at one-and-done.  Khudobin literally kept the Bruins alive in this one, making save after save.

The break-through

There was no way that the Bruins were not going to at least get a point out of this game the way they were playing.  They had shut down Montreal in the defensive zone, limiting their chances.  And Khudobin stood on his head on the plays were the Habs did have a good scoring chance, keeping his team in the game.

The Bruins went on the power play with about 4 minutes left in the game after Jonathan Drouin threw the puck over the glass.  The first power play unit generated pressure, but to no avail.  As the clock started ticking down, things were getting nerve wracking.  But then, the goal we had all been waiting for.

Torey Krug found himself with the puck in the offensive zone, passing it across to new addition Nick Holden.  The new blueliner, with his head up, saw a streaking Jake DeBrusk in front of the net, and he fired a low slapper with a purpose.  DeBrusk got just enough of his stick on the puck, and it found the back of the net.

This game was all tied up.  And after a Pastrnak attempt to end it in regulation, the game would head to OT.  The Bruins, once again, had clawed their way back.

Just like they did in regulation, Boston controlled the overtime frame.  Their puck possession in 3-on-3 was the best it has been all season.  Anytime a Canadiens’ player touched the puck, a Bruins player was on him immediately to take it away.  After a few solid chances, who else but Brad Marchand would end the game, after taking the puck and circling the back of the cage, he fired home the game winner.

Takeaways from the game

We may be seeing a bit more of Nick Holden.  Don Sweeney is looking like Nostradamus right now for his deadline deals.  Defenseman Charlie McAvoy took an awkward spill after 37 seconds of ice time, and didn’t return to the game.  He looked like he was in some significant pain, putting no pressure on his left leg getting off the ice.

The DeBrusk-David KrejciRick Nash line was buzzing all night.  Between Krejci’s playmaking and vision, Nash’s nose-for-the-net, and DeBrusk’s speed, this line will be a force the rest of the way.  Krejci got a little banged up tonight, but here’s hoping it’s nothing major.

Next: David Krejci is player to watch going forward

The Bruins power play came alive when needed, but looked fairly feeble the rest of the game.  After going 3-for-5 against the Penguins, the B’s went 1-for-6 tonight.  But the Bruins were able to get the win by controlling all other aspects of the game, firing 50 shots on goal and winning 63% of the faceoffs.