Playing the second game of their second back-to-back in just over a week, the Boston Bruins saw their win and points streak snapped Tuesday at the Bell Centre as the Montreal Canadiens held on for a 5-4 win in another gem for the best rivalry in the NHL and one of the best in pro sports.
The Canadiens won an offsides challenge to erase what would’ve been a go-ahead goal for the Bruins by center Charlie Coyle at 5:23 of the third period, and 3:43 later got what proved to be the game-winner by defenseman Ben Chiarot in another instant classic for this storied rivalry.
The Bruins erased three Canadiens leads but could not escape a determined Montreal team that took full advantage of a physically and mentally tired Bruins team coming off an emotional 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night in Boston.
Just 1:13 into regulation, Canadiens defenseman Victor Mete scored the first of two goals on the night to give the Habs a 1-0 lead. Bruins winger David Pastrnak kept his goal and point streak alive tying the game at one 14:55 into the opening frame, but Montreal regained the lead just 1:50 later on a Tomas Tatar goal and then 31 seconds later made it 3-1 on a Paul Byron goal.
Connor Clifton scored his first goal of the season 7:17 into the middle frame to cut the Habs’ lead in half and Anders Bjork scored his second fo the season at 18:13 of the period to tie the game at three. Once again though, the Habs answered as Mete got his second of the game 42 ticks later.
The Bruins answered the bell again themselves when Sean Kuraly tied the game at 3:03 of the third period. Just 2:20 later it appeared that Coyle had given the Bruins their first lead but it was ruled offsides.
Bruins Sloppy In The Neutral Zone
As expected, the Habs outshot a tired Bruins team 13-6 in the first but it was their neutral zone dominance and as NHL On NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick pointed out during the first intermission, the Bruins’ laziness that had them leading 3-1 after one.
I stand by what I tweeted on Rask with Tatar and Byron goals but agree with @Jeremy_Roenick here in him calling out for #NHLBruins lazy neutral zone play and specifically Brett Ritchie going for a line change prior to Byron goal. @NHLonNBCSports @BOSHockeyNow pic.twitter.com/vXWXjr3nal
— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) November 6, 2019
It’s no wonder after Ritchie went for a line change just prior to the Byron goal that made it 3-1 Habs that the first-year Bruin didn’t see much ice time after that.
Boston was particularly mentally vulnerable after two of their first three goals. Tatar gave the Habs the lead again when he made it 2-1 just 1:50 after Pastrnak’s power play goal tied it at 14:55. Then 31 ticks later, Byron capitalized on the Bruins’ sloppy play and an out of position Rask for a 3-1 Habs’ lead. Those mental lapses returned late in the second period when just after Bjork tied the game at three, Mete scored his second goal to put the Habs up 4-3 just 42 seconds later.
Never Say Die
The Bruins may have made some uncharacteristic mistakes Tuesday but they once again proved that win or lose, they’re never out of it. This team Has. No. Quit.
Three out of the four times the Bruins trailed in this game they ended up tying the game. Trailing 3-1 after the first period, they scored the next two goals to tie it at three before Mete made it 4-3 heading into the third period. Then in the final frame, the Bruins not only tied the game at four but also scored the Coyle goal that would’ve made it 5-4 Bruins but was rightfully overturned on an offsides challenge by Julien.
Two straight nights, the Bruins got knocked down but came back up and win or lose, going forward that speaks volumes for a team that minus a few players is living with and will always live with the heartbreak of the Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.
Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner are rewarded for a hard-working shift.
Kuraly's first goal of the year ties things up at 4-4. pic.twitter.com/d6bP4FOb0N
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 6, 2019
Pastrnak Streak Alive
Pastrnak’s power play goal 14:55 into the first period extended his point streak to a career-best 13 games. He has 15 goals and 15 assists during that span and still leads the NHL in goals and points. He is simply money in the slot and, along with linemate Brad Marchand, is a very early Hart Trophy candidate.
Make it 15 goals in 15 games for David Pastrnak. pic.twitter.com/jrfXHnx5iz
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 6, 2019
Julien Gets Some Payback In 1200th Game
Julien will never admit it, but he felt betrayed when he felt he was basically made a scapegoat in 2017 for a Bruins team that wasn’t constructed in the mold of his coaching style. To his credit, Bruins GM Don Sweeney probably should’ve fired Julien after the Bruins missed the playoff in the 2015-16 season because the writing was on the wall the Bruins were shifting styles. He instead, unfortunately, waited until an early February slump and fired the winningest coach in team history under the guise of a Patriots Super Bowl parade.
Julien ultimately ended up with the team he once coached and the Bruins’ biggest rival and while Tuesday wasn’t his first win against the team he helped win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, it had to be the sweetest. The Bruins came in on a five-game win streak and hadn’t lost in regulation since October 10. Julien’s decision to challenge the Coyle goal that would’ve given the Bruins a 5-4 lead, ultimately proved to be the difference as the goal was called back and then Chiarot scored the game-winner a few minutes later at 9:06 of the final frame. Coyle was literally a tenth of an inch offsides and it could’ve gone either way, so credit to Julien and his staff for nailing that one.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, in their two regulation losses, the score has been affected by goals called back for being offsides. Following the game head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t necessarily question if Coyle was offsides but rather how long the review took and how it contradicts the new rules on offsides challenges that were implemented for this season.
“You could argue it was possession play. Listen, my beef with that, some are going to go your way, some not, ours are not going our way lately,” said on “NESN Sports Today.” “But I assume that they will straighten out over the course of time. The rule was put in place specially for egregious (calls). They’re over there for three minutes, you think, ‘Well what is the purpose of this rule?’
Either you find something or you don’t. Three minutes, now you’re looking for something for it to be offsides. You know it’s going to go the other way and it did and that’s where my beef comes from. You always want to get it right. … it was a big part of the game, didn’t go out way, that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
— ㅤㅤNoah (@noahfurz) November 6, 2019
Ghosts Of Montreal Haunt Rask Again
Rask made some good and timely saves to keep his team in the game Tuesday but this was really his first bad game of the year and that’s why it was his first loss in regulation. Rask should’ve had the game-winner by Chiarot and also the Tatar and Byron goals in 31 seconds as the first period winded down that put the Habs up 3-1 at the time. As mentioned above, the Bruins had plenty of mental mistakes through the neutral zone, but Rask needs to make those saves. Considering Rask has only won four times at the Bell Centre in the last seven seasons, one has to wonder why head coach Bruce Cassidy started Jaro Halak Monday and Rask in his house of horrors on Tuesday?
Tuukka Rask gets a piece of Tomas Tatar's shot, gives up a goal anyways. pic.twitter.com/92GBw8zHpM
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) November 6, 2019
Classy Move By Habs Honoring Chara for 1,500 Games
Make no mistake, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has been public enemy No. 1 in Montreal since he hit former Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty into the stanchion back on March 8, 2011. Since then, Chara has been vehemently booed every time he touches the puck in the Bell Centre and some Habs fans still think he should’ve been criminally charged for the play. That’s why when early in the first period, the Canadiens paid homage to their rival captain for playing in his 1500th game, it once again showed why the Canadiens organization is one of the classiest in sports! The Habs fans in attendance even game him a standing ovation that had the tough as nails Chara visibly moved and fighting back tears after he saluted the crowd.
Zdeno Chara gets a standing ovation in … Montreal?
A nice moment at the Bell Centre. pic.twitter.com/YBVNkMaxOf
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 6, 2019
Senyshyn Gets The Call
2015 Bruins first round pick Zach Senyshyn made his 2019-20 season debut Tuesday after being called up from Providence (AHL) earlier in the day. Senyshyn, playing in his second NHL game, looked comfortable and created scoring chances on more than one occasion. He would’ve had an assist had Coyle’s goal counted and made a case that he deserves to stay up with the big club as they deal with injuries in their bottom six.
Here’s what the lineup looked like Tuesday:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Danton Heinen
Anders Bjork – Charlie Coyle – Zach Senyshyn
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – Brett Ritchie
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton