One of the sport’s greatest rivals began another long season slug last night, as the Montreal Canadiens visited TD Garden to face the Boston Bruins.
Bruins-Habs games have always been so tough to predict. Players such as Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, set things out to be one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season. Every single time they meet, it’s a real battle.
It is perceived as a real heated, competitive match-up by many in the hockey world. However, as of recent seasons, this bitter rivalry has taken a hefty swing to one side. The side of the Canadiens.
No matter the record of each team, the Boston Bruins just simply cannot beat the Montreal Canadiens in regular season hockey right now.
They fell to a 4-2 defeat last night, making the B’s 0-2-0 to start the season. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has accumulated 136 career wins, yet his record against his team’s biggest rivals is pretty poor. Rask is 3-14-3 against the Habs. Simply not good enough.
As a team, since the 2012-13 season, the Bruins are currently 2-9-2 against the Canadiens in regular season play. That doesn’t include when the Bruins were eliminated by the Habs in the 2nd round of the playoffs two seasons ago. That hurt, a lot.
You could even say that due to the Canadiens dominance in recent years, this historic rivalry has lost a little of its edge. That, as well as the fact that there are no longer the players that dictate how a B’s/Habs game could pan out (Lucic, Thonton, Prust etc). Are we seeing a change in the rivalry? Perhaps this is the case.
Despite all of that, last night’s game definitely didn’t lack controversy. At the forefront of the action was an accumulation of game-changing events, including Patrice Bergeron‘s disallowed goal for goaltender interference, despite the play being challenged and reviewed. Ryan Spooner‘s boarding penalty that saw him get a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Or perhaps it was the known agitator, Brad Marchand, taking an elbow to the head in bizarre fashion.
It is a possibility that the Bruins were hard done by, there’s video evidence to prove that. However, that defense is simply awful. It’s a mess, and frankly when Adam McQuaid is on your 1st D pairing, you deserve to lose. That defensive unit has spent the first two games of the season at six’s and seven’s, and as hard as it’s going to be for them to admit, they need help. The Boston Bruins are not going to be able to challenge for a playoff spot with that defensive group, even with Zdeno Chara healthy.
On a positive note, new Bruin Matt Beleskey netted his first goal in Boston, despite it being a flukey bounce that beat netmimder Carey Price. If there’s anything to takeaway, it’s that they were able to beat Price, who has managed to hold a hex over the Bruins for a long time.
For the Canadiens, Lars Eller continued his hot start to the season with two goals. New Hab Alex Semin notched his first point as a member of Montreal. Carey Price made 19 saves, but more importantly, the Canadiens have beaten the Bruins once more.
The Habs’ other two goals came from David Desharnias, who’s 1stperiod net crash paid dividends after a shot on goal from Andrei Markov. Then, as the final period wound down, Tomas Plekanec scored an empty netter, to make it 6 straight wins over the Boston Bruins.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd star – Alex Galchenyuk – 3 assists, plus-2
2nd star – Carey Price – 19 saves
1st star – Lars Eller – 2 goals
Image Source: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports