Tuukka Rask stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in Wednesday’s win over Montreal. (AP)
MONTREAL — The Bruins’ recent strong play trumped their struggles vs. the Canadiens this season as the B’s skated to a 4-1 victory over the Habs Wednesday at the Bell Centre. They have now won six games in a row.
The B’s managed to survive a first period that saw Montreal outshoot them, 14-6, and took a scoreless game into the second period. From there, even-strength goals from Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic in a much better second period gave the B’s a 3-0 lead after two.
Zdeno Chara put Boston’s fourth goal past Peter Budaj just 23 seconds into the third period, but David Desharnais broke up Tuukka Rask‘s shutout by burying a loose puck in front at 2:46 of the third. Thomas Vanek picked up an assist on the goal, giving him 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points against the Bruins in 64 games.
Montreal had won five straight games against the Bruins (including the first two meetings of this season) entering Wednesday night’s game.
The Bruins have a quick turnaround, as they will return to Boston to host the Coyotes Thursday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It wasn’t his cleanest night, but Rask kept the Bruins in the game in the first period that saw the B’s allow two breakaways (see below). In addition to his stops on those breaks, he came up with a big stop on Eller following Max Pacioretty‘s first-period break.
Rask did have his shaky moments, as he gave up a decent number of rebounds. His shakiest moment came in the third period, when he came out of the net and wound up passing the puck to Brendan Gallagher, requiring him to make an acrobatic save to cover his tracks.
- The B’s dodged a major bullet in the couple of minutes leading to their third goal. The fourth line, which was playing without the concussed Daniel Paille, took an offensive zone draw against Desharnais’s line and proceeded to get stuck in the defensive zone for minutes as Montreal’s top line and then Tomas Plekanec‘s line applied major pressure.
With the fourth line and the Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk pairing getting tired, Jordan Caron mercifully got the puck out of the zone, allowing the Bruins to get a much-needed change that led to the first line scoring.
- Soderberg now has points in four straight games, as his second-period goal gave him two goals and three assists over the last four contests.
- Andrej Meszaros picked up the secondary assist on Chara’s goal, giving him a goal and an assist in two games for the Bruins. Meszaros was in the lineup and paired with Chara as Dougie Hamilton was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The B’s allowed three breakaways over the first two periods, with Rask stopping Pacioretty with a kick save and coming up with a stop on an Alex Galchenyuk break in the first. Plekanec, who for whatever reason messes up on breakaways against Rask, missed the net on a second period breakaway.
- The fourth line and Bartkowski pairing combination eventually did get burned in the third period, when Desharnais got Montreal on the board.
- Kevan Miller gave Brandon Prust a decent beatdown following Bergeron’s goal, but he would have been wise to not oblige the Habs’ enforcer. With the B’s holding a 2-0 lead, there wasn’t much to be gained for Miller.
- Reilly Smith has now gone 13 games without a goal.