It’s been a while since the Boston Bruins can remember what its like to beat the Montreal Canadiens, and nothing changed with last nights 4-2 defeat at the TD Banknorth Garden. With the loss, the Canadiens have now beaten the Bruins in ten straight games, tying a franchise record for consecutive wins over the B’s. The record could be extended when the two teams meet for their final regular season match up this Saturday night in Montreal, but not if the Bruins have something to say about it.
“The onus is on us to change this,” Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward said on yahoo.com. “It sounds bad to say, but I thought we were better against them tonight. Shame on us if we are not ready for them on Saturday.”
After a scoreless first period, Alexei Kovalev scored twice in four minutes for the Canadiens to put them in control. The goals were his 32nd and 33rd of the year.
The Bruins were able to cut the lead in half before the 2nd period ended with a Mark Stuart goal only 27 seconds after Kovalev’s 2nd score, but continued to let the Canadiens dictate the play on the ice looking totally out matched and over powered.
Montreal took a 3-1 lead on Michael Ryder’s 14th goal of the year only 6:47 into the 3rd period. The game was all but over after Andrei Kostitsyn’s 22nd goal with 8:47 left in the period. The Bruins gave fans a chance to cheer about something with a goal 3:05 left on the clock by Dennis Wideman.
Too bad that at that point there were more Canadiens fans left in the stands then Bruins.
Carey Price made 34 saves in the win for the Canadiens with another solid performance in net. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas stopped 26 shots but his second half of the season struggles continue. Thomas has allowed 22 goals in the month of March in only 6 games.
“Some teams just play well against other teams, and that’s just the way it goes,” Price said on yahoo.com.
With the win, the Canadiens move into the first place spot of the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils. The Bruins are clinging to their playoff life in the seventh spot, and have four teams within four points of them in the standings. Over the past 10 games, the B’s are only 2-5-3 and have not looked like a playoff caliber team.
If the Bruins drop into the eight and final playoff spot, and the Canadiens hold their ground atop the Eastern Conference, the two teams would meet in the first round of the playoffs. That situation is very possible, and over the next few weeks the Bruins will do everything in their power to not let it happen. They’d much rather face New Jersey in the first round whom they have had some success against this year.
But in the NHL, nothing is guaranteed so the Bruins playoff hopes lay in their own hands, well in their case, sticks.