Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Observations: Bruins 2, Canadiens 1
By James Murphy
Tuukka Rask had another brilliant performance with 20 saves, David Krejci and Tyler Seguin both scored within the first 2:05 of the third period to erase a 1-0 Montreal lead, and the Bruins maintained first place in the Northeast Division with a 2-1 win at Montreal's raucous Bell Centre. Krejci also added an assist on Seguin's goal and Seguin did the same on Krejci's game winner. P.K. Subban scored for the Habs and goalie Carey Price did his job, stopping 21 of 23 Bruins shots.
Rask paves the path: If not for Rask, the Bruins might have been trying all sorts of line changes in the second period. The Bruins were held without a shot until 11:41 into the opening frame, but Rask was up for the task, as he helped his team stem the opening charge of momentum from an amped Habs squad and rocking Bell Centre. The Finnish netminder stopped numerous breakaways and odd-man rushes early on and gave his teammates a chance to find their game and eventually push back. Rask has had to bail his team out a few times already this season, and while the Bruins don't necessarily want to make that a habit, they have to be pleased to know they once again have a goalie who gives them a chance even when they start the game flat.
Julien with a Jack Adams move: Claude Julien won the 2008-09 Jack Adams award as NHL coach of the year, and since then he has gone on to coach his team to a Stanley Cup and, most recently, surpass Don Cherry for career wins behind the Bruins bench. On Wednesday, Julien showed once again why he has become such a successful coach, as he decided to shuffle his lines heading into the third period to spark a dormant offense. Julien had Seguin and Nathan Horton switch spots, putting Seguin with Krejci and Milan Lucic, and Horton with Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell. The move paid instant dividends, as Seguin and Krejci scored consecutive goals to give the Bruins the lead. That changed the tempo of the game, and while the Habs had more scoring chances in the final period, the Bruins took back the momentum and confidence.
Seguin finally breaks through: For the last week or so, Seguin had been a focal point with the media and fans as many wondered what happened to the young gun who had a breakout season last year in leading his team in points and goals. But as Seguin and Julien have repeatedly said, Seguin wasn't playing bad hockey. Their patience paid off as Seguin got his first non-empty net goal, which may finally open the floodgates for Seguin going forward.
Power failure again: The Bruins can brush it off as much as they want -- and, yes, they have found ways to win (even a Stanley Cup in 2011) despite the fact they had an anemic power play -- but they really need to improve on the man-advantage. In a tight goaltending battle like the one Price and Rask waged Wednesday, teams need to take advantage of every power play they can get, and the Bruins -- who went 0-for-4 and are now 3-for-35 on the season -- did anything but, looking better when they were short-handed.
Roster changes as injury bug hits: Besides the big change Julien made heading into the third period, he was forced to juggle his lines heading into the game thanks to the injury bug that is hitting his team right now. With Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury), Daniel Paille (upper body) and Shawn Thornton (concussion) all out, Julien had a much different forwards group heading in. Here's what the lineup looked like to start the game:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Tyler Seguin
Gregory Campbell-Patrice Bergeron-Nathan Horton
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Lane MacDermid-Ryan Spooner-Jamie Tardif
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Adam McQuaid-Andrew Ference