The Canadiens led for only 1:08 on Saturday night. That worked out just fine for them, as it was the final 1:08 of the game.
After David Krejci was called for his third minor penalty of the night, David Desharnais beat Jonas Gustavsson on the power play and Max Pacioretty scored an empty-netter to give the Habs a 4-2 victory over the Bruins at Bell Centre.
Krejci’s third penalty, a cross-check on Tomas Plekanec with just over two minutes to play in regulation with the game tied, was extremely ill-advised. Given how poorly Boston’s penalty kill has performed (two of Montreal’s goals came on the man advantage), it was hardly a surprise to see the penalty cost Boston the game.
The Bruins took leads into the second and third periods thanks to goals from Loui Eriksson and Frank Vatrano, making the fact that they came out of the contest with no points all the more painful. The Bruins have now dropped three straight games in regulation and are 6-6-1 on the season.
The B’s will play again Sunday when they face the Islanders at Barclays Center.
Here are five things we learned Saturday:
VATRANO SCORES IN DEBUT
When the Bruins signed Vatrano out of UMass Amherst in March, his shot and willingness to shoot were believed to be his biggest strengths. Those shifts were confirmed in his first NHL games Saturday night.
Called up on Friday after leading the AHL with 10 goals, Vatrano landed two shots on Mike Condon in his first of the game. That proved to be merely a warmup however, as he scored his first career goal in the second period.
To make the moment even cooler for the East Longmeadow native, Vatrano’s father and uncle managed to make the quick trip after Vatrano’s promotion to see the goal.
CANADIENS GIVE AWAY FIRST
In case you were unaware, the Bruins tend to struggle against the Canadiens. Though the Habs were without Carey Price, who is out with a lower-body injury, the B’s still needed any help they could get. As it turned out, the Habs were willing to accommodate them there.
Montreal took three penalties in the first period, the first of which led to a Loui Eriksson goal 1:50 into the game. With the Habs shorthanded due to a too many men on the ice bench minor, Ryan Spooner fed Patrice Bergeron, whose shot was tipped by Loui Eriksson in front.
JULIEN WINS KEY CHALLENGE
The Habs appeared to tie the game early in the third period when Tomas Plekanec jumped on a rebound with a mess of bodies in front of the net and fired it in. Jonas Gustavsson was visibly angry with the play and Claude Julien promptly challenged the play citing goaltender interference.
Replays showed that Gustavsson had a point; Brendan Gallagher came over the top of the Boston goalie, meaning the small Habs winger was essentially on top of Gustavsson and prevented him from moving in an attempt to stop Plekanec’s shot. The call on the ice was reversed to keep the score 2-1.
The play marked the first time Julien had won a challenge. He’s now 1-2 on the season on challenges.
TROTMAN PLAYS, MORROW SITS
After sitting in 11 straight games, Zach Trotman returned to Boston’s lineup, with Joe Morrow joining Tyler Randell in the press box as a healthy scratch.
Trotman, who was benched after the season-opener, skated mostly with Kevan Miller, giving Boston a pairing of two right-shot defensemen. That meant Kevan Miller saw plenty of time playing the left side.
While lefties can commonly play the right side, it’s very unusual for right-shot defensemen to play the left side. They rarely experience it growing up, as teams almost always have a surplus of lefties.
MILLER POINT STREAK HITS SIX GAMES
With the only credited assist on Vatrano’s goal, Colin Miller now has points in six straight games (one goal, five assists). Miller could have been a candidate to potentially come out of the lineup for Trotman to play, but there’s no way the team can sit him while he’s producing offensively.
David Krejci, meanwhile, has now gone four games without a point after registering points in the first nine games of the season. He should have been credited with a secondary assist on Vatrano’s goal, however, as he fed the puck to Miller before Miller dished to Vatrano.