In front of the 203rd consecutive sellout, the Montreal Canadiens came into TD Garden and ended the Bruins win streak at 12 with a 2-1 shootout victory.
Alex Galchenyuk scored the lone goal in the shootout and Peter Budaj stopped 28 of 29 shots for the victory, Budaj’s second win in three tries against the Bruins this season.
From the drop of the puck all the way to the whistle signaling the end of overtime, the Bruins and Canadiens did not disappoint in what was much a playoff type atmosphere. The fans were into it and it showed on the ice as the Habs and Bruins battled in what was one of both teams’ most physical contests of the season.
For a regular season contest, Monday’s tilt in Boston was as close to a playoff type atmosphere as you can get.
“Yeah for sure” said Galchenyuk. “We played a game with Toronto a couple days ago and that was playoff like. Then playing here in Boston and it had the same kind of atmosphere. To get the win, it’s huge for us, it’s good momentum for us, and we just have to keep going.”
Tomas Plekanec echoed what Galchenyuk had to say in regards to the playoff-like hockey displayed in the final meeting of the regular season between the two Atlantic division foes.
“Yeah, that’s what we were talking about before the game that it was going to be a playoff-type game. So we are happy to get the two points.”
Just under two minutes into the contest, things got going from a physical standpoint as Alexei Emelin laid a hit on Milan Lucic as the Bruins forward carried puck through the neutral zone. Emelin went low on Lucic, taking him out from below the belt.
After the contest Lucic wasn’t too pleased with the Habs defenseman.
“Well whether it’s fair, legal or whatever you want to call it, I mean if he wasn’t scared he would want to you know stand up and hit me and not go after my knees” said Lucic.
“So it shows how big of a chicken he is that he needs to go down like that to take me down, shows what kind of player he is”
Emelin was not penalized for the hit.
Shortly after the Lucic and Emelin incident, Kevan Miller was penalized for cross checking Dale Weise. Weise went sliding into the boards and did not return. Habs blue-liner Travis Moen took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with Miller. Miller got the best of Moen.
Moen needed help from teammates as he left ice and didn’t return.
“Yeah, I hope he’s all right — both those guys” said Miller.
“To be honest with you about the hit, I felt bad about it. I just kind of bumped into him. I think he was a little off balance. I stood there just trying to make sure he was okay for a second and Moen asked if I wanted to go. I just hope they’re both okay.”
During the Bruins 12 game win streak, the Black and Gold were exceptional of the penalty kill; they needed to be exceptional again Monday as the Habs had six power play tries. Montreal did manage to score once on the power play.
Many of the power play opportunities given to Montreal were thanks to the Bruins being undisciplined, something they know they can’t be with the playoffs right around the corner.
“At times, absolutely” said Claude Julien.
“The [Brad] Marchand penalty was frustration because he got tripped on the faceoff before — it wasn’t called. Those are things that are gonna happen in a game and you can’t retaliate by taking a bad penalty. [Johnny] Boychuk’s penalty was a bad one, either, so you know, there’s discipline, but they didn’t score on those, so that’s not why we lost. But I think we have to be better disciplined against them.”
Monday’s contest was a highly entertaining one, no one can deny that. With the new playoff format it’s very like the Bruins and Canadiens will meet in the playoffs should the two teams make it out of the first round.
If history is any indication, we’d be in store for most likely, seven entertaining playoff games between the long time rivals.