Patrice Bergeron made an important point in his career count for a lot more Tuesday.
It wouldn’t have been fitting if Bergeron passed Cam Neely on the Bruins’ all-time points list with something like a secondary assist on an empty net goal. That he did so with a game-winning goal in an important game against the Canadiens seemed to suit the situation much better.
Bergeron scored at 16:49 of the second period Tuesday to break the 1-1 tie and set up the B’s for an eventual 4-1 victory against the reeling Habs. The goal was the 591st point of Bergeron’s career, surpassing Neely’s 590 and giving Bergeron sole possession of ninth on the Bruins’ all-time list.
The win was the Bruins’ third straight as they head back to Boston for home games against the Canucks on Thursday and the Blue Jackets Saturday. The Habs, meanwhile, could be nearing the end of Michel Therrien’s tenure as head coach given that Montreal has just nine points over its last 21 games dating back to Dec. 3.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
RASK LOVES MONTREAL
Tuukka Rask may very well hate playing against the Canadiens just because he hates losing. The notion that he plays poorly against them, however, is overstated. Now, it appears Rask and the Bruins’ luck has turned this season in the last place they’d expect: Montreal.
While Rask allowed eight goals over two home games against the Canadiens this season (three on Oct. 10 at TD Garden, five in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium), he allowed just one goal in each of his two games at Bell Centre this season, both of which were Bruins victories. With 38 saves on Tuesday, Rask managed to stop 70 of the 72 shots he faced in Montreal this season.
PASTRNAK SCORES IN RETURN
David Pastrnak wasn’t given the most glamorous opportunity in his return from an upper-body injury, but he made the most of it.
Pastrnak skated on Boston’s fourth line with Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot, taking just five shifts over the first two periods and not taking the ice in the third period until there was 8:02 to play.
His lack of ice time did not prevent him from making an impact, however, as he fired a shot on a second-period shift that went off a Montreal defender and was corralled by Bergeron, leading to a Boston goal. After a lengthy wait for his first shift of the third, Pastrnak scored to give him his second multi-point game of the season. Incidentally, both of Pastrnak’s multi-point games this season have come against the Canadiens.
KREJCI REMAINS OUT, FERRARO DAY-TO-DAY
David Krejci missed his 10th straight game with an upper-body injury, but the fact that he even traveled for a one-game road trip suggests he is indeed close to returning to game action. It goes without saying that the Bruins could use him sooner rather than later, but the team should be happy if he returns during the team’s two-game road trip.
Pastrnak replaced Landon Ferraro, whom the team said is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Colin Miller was scratched for the second straight game.
With the lineup changes, Boston’s lineup was as follows:
BRUINS SURVIVE MORE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
A recent story has repeated itself of late for the Bruins: The team outplays their opponent early on (good news), but comes away with very little to show for it (that’s bad) and is eventually burned.
Such could have been the case again on Tuesday, as the B’s had far more scoring opportunities over the first period-plus, but they had only Talbot’s first-period goal to show for it. When the Habs pushed back as the second period progressed, Boston’s lack of scoring made the deficit easy to recover from. They did so when Mark Barberio tied the game nearly halfway through the second.
Unlike games past, when the Bruins squandered chances earlier and lost as a result (it happened in New York and Philadelphia last week), the Bruins survived just like they did Saturday against the Leafs.