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Bruins get run out of the Bell Centre with embarrassing 4-1 loss to Habs

March 8, 2011

It wasn’t the best time for the Bruins to have their worst performance of the season. The Canadiens beat the Bruins 4-1 in front of Carey Price and Lars Eller‘s great games. The Bruins fell to a 4-0 deficit before the game took an ugly turn when Zdeno Chara edged Max Pacioretty into the stanchion, leading to Pacioretty getting carted off on a stretcher. Lars Eller scored the game’s first two goals and the Habs added two more playoff goals before yielding the Bruins only goal to Milan Lucic in garbage time.

The loss means that the Canadiens are now just three points back of the Bruins.

The game started as if the last meeting didn’t start, which was rather predictable considering the Canadiens style of play. The Habs started out using their speed to dictate pace and got a few good shots on Tuukka Rask early but nothing overwhelming. Thing did come to a boil early when Johnny Boychuk whiffed on an open-ice hit attempt on PK Subban. Ryan White, a recent call-up for the Habs immediately jumped Boychuk and began throwing with him. White got the better of the blows but Boychuk battled back at the end in a marathon battle to gain some respect. White earned an extra two for his actions.

The Bruins power-play continued to click at 0% since Tomas Kaberle arrived, relying too much on board play and point play than passing and getting quality chances. The Bruins would go on the penalty-kill a few sequences later when Tyler Seguin was called for tripping. The Bruins had a strong kill of their own, keeping the puck out of their zone for long periods of time and preventing any shots on goal during the two minutes.

The Canadiens would score in the minute after the power-play expired however when Lars Eller poked a loose puck under a standing Rask for the game’s first goal. The shot from the point was blocked down in front but Rask never saw where it ended up. At the same time, Eller raced across the goal line and found the puck in a mass of feet and poked a backhander home under Rask who was oddly out of his butterfly.

The Canadiens were able to play in their own zone and keep the Bruins along the boards, playing smart defense which allowed them to clear the zone easily and quickly. It also helped that Carey Price was gobbling up rebounds with Bruins lurking out front, often times bailing out his teams loose defense.

Lars Eller would get another lucky break when he pounced on a bouncing puck behind the defense with his back to the net, whirled and popped a shot over Rask for his second of the period. Eller went backhand to forehand in tight space atop the crease and was able to do so thanks to him wisely staying behind the play with the puck still in the Bruins zone.

The Canadiens would swarm the Bruins net in the final minutes of the period, nearly scoring a third goal when Brian Gionta hit the side of the net with Rask down and out of position. The Bruins rare mistakes came back to bite them in the period, creating a tough two-goal hole for the team to climb out of in a hostile environment.

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The Bruins would get a power-play in the opening minute of the period, a chance to get back in the game early and stem the momentum the Habs had worked up late in the first period. The Bruins power-play would continue to be a non-factor however and did little more than regain some momentum.

The Bruins wouldn’t do themselves any favors when Chris Kelly went to the box for hooking seven minutes in. The Bruins were actually lucky that Kelly didn’t get called for a four-minute high-sticking call, which is what actually happened. The Habs would get their third goal on the power-play when a Brian Gionta shot was initally stopped by Rask but trickled behind him. Zdeno Chara pushed it back towards Rask but Rask pushed it in as he was falling backwards. It was a stop that had to be made.

The Bruins would get their third power-play of the game around the midpoint of the period. This one too failed, quite unremarkably, but the Bruins would get another chance just a few seconds after when the Habs were called for too many men. This power-play went by the wayside with only one shot on goal.

The Bruins would go on the penalty-kill soon after, and with the period waning, things didn’t look so good. The Habs would get the Bruins out of position and win a puck battle along the boards which culminated in Mike Cammalleri winning the puck and finding James Wisniewski along the blue line for the blast that beat Rask clean. The goal gave the Habs a 4-0 lead late in the second period.

A scary moment occurred in the final minute of the period when Zdeno Chara angled off Max Pacioretty in a race along the boards. Chara edged off Pacioretty which caused him to hit his head on the stanchion along the boards. Pacioretty needed to be carted off the ice and didn’t move much for many minutes and Chara received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The period would end with more than 15 seconds left as the medical staff tended to Pacioretty, perhaps to calm down the Montreal fans, who had been getting pretty animated.

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The Canadiens came out understandably bewildered, and couldn’t get much going during the major penalty. Only on occasion were they able to set up in the Bruins zone, and then they didn’t do too much. The Bruins got a penalty shot when Brad Marchand snuck away for a breakaway but was tripped from behind. Marchand would force a wrister on net which Price padded away rather easily.

The Bruins actually began to look decent in the third period, it was forty minutes too late and came because of a lack of focus by the Canadiens, but they began to play respectably. With the Bruins gaining momentum with every shift and finding holes in the complacent Montreal defense, the Bruins finally got on the board thanks to Milan Lucic‘s 29th goal of the season. Lucic fired a wrist shot in stride on a Bruins break up the ice, catching Price off guard and beating the goaltenders glove high.

Milan Lucic showed some frustration when he was called for roughing with 2:26 left as he chased Benoit Pouliot down the ice, hooking him along the way. The Bruins would kill off the penalty for posterities sake but ended one of their worst performances of the season with a whimper.

The Bruins will play the second of three games in four days on Thursday against the playoff hungry Sabres when they return home.

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