Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Bruins 4, Canadiens 1: You've never seen the rivalry like this

Ty Anderson
January 18, 2018 - 12:15 am

Some things will forever remain the same when we’re talking about the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry, such Montreal’s penchant for scoring early goals against the Bruins, especially in games played at Boston’s TD Garden.

Jakub Jerabek’s first NHL goal, bopped in off Zdeno Chara’s glove and scored through Tuukka Rask 31 seconds into the first period on Wednesday, continued that trend.

But what followed in a 4-1 win for the B’s, a victory that extended their point streak to 14 games, was unlike anything seen in a lifetime of watching the game’s greatest rivalry.

The Bruins, a team that’s seemingly always chased the Canadiens (and in more ways than one), are finally faster than the nemesis that’s boiled their blood for a century.

The B’s flaunted their speed with straight-up dominant response shifts in the first period, which eliminated time and space for the Habs and also refused to let the Canadiens have anything close to a stable breakout. This continued wear-down effect from the Bruins played out to a game-tying snipe from David Pastrnak at the 6:50 mark of the first, and then a bank-in goal from Ryan Spooner just 2:37 into the second period.

It was a stretch that not only saw the Bruins create countless offensive chances against Carey Price, who seems lucky to have only surrendered three goals on 31 shots against, but at one point hold the Canadiens without a shot on goal for over 18 minutes.

“We’re trying to do that against everybody, to be honest, but especially against Montreal,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the victory. “They generally are a good skating hockey club. The first time in there, I thought they were better than us in that area. For the most part tonight I thought from the get go, maybe the first couple two, three minutes, but we found our legs in Montreal probably after about 10 minutes. I don’t know if that had to do with the break or them just being better than us at the time, but we end up finding our legs and I think, for the most part we have [controlled the tempo], and that will be our goal again on Saturday obviously up there.”

Even when the Habs had a chance to bring themselves back in this game by way of a 5-on-3 advantage in the middle of the second period, a massive 4:18 shift from Zdeno Chara and equally impressive killing effort from Adam McQuaid crushed those hopes.

“You can’t say enough about those plays, those turning points in the game,” Cassidy acknowledged. “I thought we had been the better team, but they found a way to stay in the game on the road, and that was their opportunity to take control of the game, and we did a good job, real good job. It doesn’t surprise me.”

“It’s nice to be in those situations – you don’t want to be – to be put in that situation I think guys thrive off of wanting to kill that and be in those situations,” McQuaid, in the lineup after a 36-game layoff, said of the kill, which finished a perfect 2-for-2. “Even though I was a little winded at the end of it, it was a good feeling for sure.”

And once that power-play chance sailed out of Boston for the Canadiens, the Bruins went right back to their break-neck speed that simply punished Montreal.

Brad Marchand added a power-play goal in the third period, and from there the Bruins left their foot off the gas ever so slightly, but still proved to be entirely too much; The Habs were beat to every loose puck, stopped at the attacking blue line, and consistently left to watch any and every Boston forechecker have their way in the attacking zone.

Line by line and shift by shift, the Bruins seemed to make the Habs quit.

“I think up in Montreal they came out pretty fast obviously, a lot of energy in their building,” Torey Krug said. “But tonight I think we did a good job of pushing them back on their heels and dictating the play so it was a nice 60 minute effort.”

With the win, the Bruins have now won four straight against the Canadiens, their longest such streak since a five-game winning streak from 2011 to 2013.

“If we can outskate them and play behind them, then we have a good chance to win,” Cassidy, who is a perfect 3-0-0 against the Habs as the B’s head coach, concluded.

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