Michael Ryder’s power play goal early in the second period proved to be the winner as the Canadiens edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 Saturday night at the Bell Centre. With the win, their third in a row over the Bruins, the Canadiens pull into a three point lead in the Northeast Division. The Bruins still maintain a game in hand. Alex Galchenyuk scored the Canadiens other goal. Daniel Paille narrowed the score to 2-1 midway through the second but they were unable to beat Carey Price the rest of the way. The Canadiens outshot the Bruins 29-27. The three stars were Galchenyuk, Price and Ryder.
Adding It Up –
Chucky – Feeding off his game Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets, Alex Galchenyuk gave another first star performance and the tipping point was not his goal which came off a Hail Mary shot that was pushed past Tuukka Rask by his Bruins defenceman Matt Bartkowski. Galchenyuk, along with linemates Lars Eller and Brandon Prust, were dominant figures throughout the game. Three times Galchenyuk missed the net. All three shots were rockets.
Bonehead – When it comes to playing the Canadiens, the Bruins seem to lose their discipline. Referees Tim Peel and Kelly Sutherland were of the mood to let some of the minor stuff go. So they let Milan Lucic get away with a trip on Tomas Plekanec but when Lucic compounded it with a cross check while Plekanec was on the ice, there was no choice.
Game Winner – The power play carried into the second period and at 57 seconds P.K. Subban made a subtle move at the blueline and then sent a soft wrist shot towards the net. Michael Ryder, who was working the high slot deflected it just enough to fool Rusk. 2-0. Bad penalty and the game winning goal. Ten goals for Ryder his last 12 games.
From the Coach – “Our power play has been very good. If they want to play undisciplined that’s fine with us.” Michel Therrien on the Canadiens power play that has produced nine goals it’s last 26 opportunities.
Rock Meets Hard Place – Midway through the first period Alexei Emelin met an on-rushing Milan Lucic head on. It was a collision of heavyweights but Lucic had the momentum and Emelin landed awkwardly on the ice. He left the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury (perhaps knee) and didn’t return.
Who Knew? – Davis Drewiske was a spare part with the Los Angeles Kings. And when Marc Bergevin traded a fifth round draft pick for him, even Michel Therrien had no idea what kind of defenceman he was getting. Down to five players at the line he put responsibility on the shoulder of his newcomer and Drewiske came through for him. Ice time 23:50 – two blocked shots – two hits and solid work clearing rebounds and traffic in front of Price.
What Groin Problem? When the Canadiens medical staff referred to Tomas Plekanec’ injury as a minor groin problem they meant it. After missing Thursday’s game, he was back at full speed against the Bruins. Some might argue that, while respecting the play of Galchenyuk, Eller and Ryder, Plekanec’s two way play made him the game’s most valuable player, especially when you take into consideration the fact that he won six of seven faceoffs in the third period with the Canadiens protecting their one goal lead.
There When You Need Him – Carey Price got a lot of help from his defence again, but he was very strong through the first half of the third period, especially on a 30 footer by Chara, a deflected puck by Campbell and hard shot from Dennis Seidenberg through traffic. The only Bruins goal came out of a crowd and deflected off Daniel Paille.
Piling It Up – P.K. Subban assisted on both Canadiens goals. If you’re counting, and everyone is, that’s one goal, nine assists his last six games. 32 points in 32 games and a four point lead on Ryan Suter for the lead among defencemen. Subban is now plus-13 as well.
The Final Nail – With 56.4 seconds remaining in regulation time Lars Eller was caught holding the sweater of Zdeno Chara presenting the Bruins with a 6-on-4 power play. The Canadiens penalty killers were so effective that the Bruins not only didn’t get a shot on Carey Price, they couldn’t get into position to attempt one.
Ten Games Left – Including two home games against red hot Washington; two in Toronto Toronto plus Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Four at home – six on the road. The stretch run starts Tuesday at the Bell Centre against the Capitals.
Consider This – The Canadiens have firm grasp of the Northeast division lead but they are also only three points behind Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh with a game in hand. The April 17th meeting with the Penguins has the potential to have the same meaning as the Boston game.