The Canadiens jumped on the Boston Bruins early, taking a 2-0 lead and then carried it to a 4-1 win over the Bruins in Boston Thursday night. Peter Budaj, a surprise starter for the Canadiens, stopped 34 of 35 shots to preserve a career undefeated record in Boston. Alexei Emelin, Max Pacioretty, Brian Gionta and Daniel Briere scored the Canadiens goals. David Krejci scored for Boston. The announced three stars in Boston were Brendan Gallagher who had three assists, Emelin and Budaj.
Adding It Up -
Game Ready – The Bruins were playing their fourth game in six nights and the Canadiens jumped on them from the opening faceoff. When Alexei Emelin threaded his point shot through a crowd at 2:16 of the first period it was the Habs 6th shot on goal.
Turnovers – Thanks to checking pressure from the Canadiens, the Bruins were turnover prone all night. It was a David Desharnais-forced turnover which led to what proved to be the winning goal with Desharnais moving it to Gallagher who sent Max Pacioretty in alone to score his 23rd goal of the season on a backhand.
Mighty Mouse – The Desharnais line was the Canadiens best with a total of ten shots on goal, six of them in the first period. Brendan Gallagher was the best of the best. First star of the game. Absolutely unintimidated by the Big Bad Bruins, and while he gave us his usual net presence, the best part of his game this night was his play making. His breakaway pass to Max Pacioretty was perfect and in the second period he sent Daniel Briere alone for the fourth goal of the game.
Sidekick – Andrei Markov is not playing very well right now. Alexei Emelin had his back in this game. His goal was his first of the season. He had three shots on goal; missed the net twice and led his teammates with six hits. He also blocked 4 shots.
Nemesis – And we questioned Therrien’s choice of Peter Budaj for this game. What do we know? Budaj stopped a workmanlike 34 of 35 shots to run his career record in Boston to 4-0-0. In his four appearances at the Garden he has allowed a total of five goals. He also stopped all six shots in a shootout last year.
Difference Maker – How can you not like what Douglas Murray is doing? His contribution is reminiscent of the kind of games we were used to seeing whan Hal Gill was part of the team. I know the Canadiens have a very deep group of prospects on defense but I’m sure there will be some discussion in the front office at the end of the season about re-signing him. He’s cheap. He’s smart. He knows his role and by all reports is a terrific teammate. Against the Bruins Therrien gave him 16:26 and 24 solid shifts.
Forgotten Man – You have to earn your ice time and Daniel Briere has done little to warrant more than what he’s been getting in recent games. Briere had a goal and assist in the first two periods in seven shifts and 3:24 ice time. It did little to change the Michel Therrien’s opinion of his play in recent games. Briere finished the game with only 5:36 of even strength ice time, only a couple of seconds more than fellow fourth liner George Parros.
Also Worth Mentioning - ……This was the first time in ten games that a Bruins/Canadiens game was decided by more than a single goal. Also the Canadiens fourth win in a row in Boston…..Good night for the penalty killers. They killed all three Bruins power plays and now have killed fourteen in a row. …..In the two meetings against Boston this season the Canadiens have outscored the Bruins 6-2….On the scoresheet:Max Pacioretty led with five shots on goal; Emelin with 6 hits and Moen with 5; Emelin’s 4 blocked shots also led the team; Briere was 4 and 0 in faceoff and Desharnais won seven of ten….By his own standards P.K. Subban had a terrible night,. A lot of pucks mishandled; two or three giveaways. Off night, Give him a break…he’s earned it.
Moving On – Coming up, the Super Bowl weekend menu of afternoon games; Saturday against Tampa Bay, Sunday against Winnipeg. Tampa Bay lost in Ottawa Thursday night allowing the Canadiens to close to within four points of the Lightning. Each team has played 54 games. Toronto remains a point ahead of the Habs, but the Canadiens have two games in hand over them.