On Friday November 4th, the Montreal Canadiens celebrated their 100th anniversary before their game against the Bruins. A sellout crowd of 21,273 filled the building for ceremonies that featured some of the team’s former greats, including Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy — and the jersey retirements of the two oldest living Canadiens, Hall of Famers Emile “Butch” Bouchard and Elmer Lach.
And the Bruins didn’t stand a chance.
Carey Price was in a zone, especially in the second period as he stopped 18 Boston shots, including everything the Bruins threw at him on a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. In the third period, the Bruins had the rarity of a 6-on-3 for 20-30 seconds (they had a 5-on-3, then Tim Thomas was pulled when there was another delayed penalty called on Montreal), and still could not score. Ouch. The power play has been very good of late, but it was a complete disaster on this night. Thomas could not really be blamed for this one, and Vladimir Sobotka at least got the B’s on the board with his second of the year in the third period. Mike Cammalleri had a hat trick, as the Canadiens rolled over the B’s 5-1. This game was played on a Friday nite to coincide exactly with the 100th anniversary date: December 4, 1909. It was only the 14th Friday night home game in Montreal franchise history — they’ve now won 10 and tied the other four. Face it — the Bruins were not going to win this game.
Kesselmania – Pt. 1
The Bruins returned right home to Boston after the game to face Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs the following nite. The Saturday night sellout crowd of 17,565 let Kessel know during warm-ups what they thought of his decision to leave the Bruins for the greener pastures Toronto this past off-season, as he was roundly booed every time he touched the puck.
The “Boos” continued for every touch that Kessel had during the game, and he seemed unnerved at times as he had only two shots for the game and finished at a minus-3 as the Bruins demolished the Maple Leafs 7-2 behind a Marc Savard hat trick . Tuukka Rask returned in net for the B’s, and had 31 saves as his stock continues to rise with each start. Marco Sturm (9th) and Marc Savard (6th) got things going for the Bruins, scoring goals 33 seconds apart early in the first to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. After the first goal, Shawn Thornton and Colton Orr dropped the gloves for a real heavyweight joust:
Ex-Bruin Wayne Primeau, who came to the Bruins in the Joe Thornton trade (there go those shivers down my spine again), has surfaced in Toronto…..that’s just a cheap segway to show this picture I have of him from a trip to the Calgary Saddledome in October 2007 after badly injuring his knee:
Rask had several key saves in the first, none better than this one, as the B’s took a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Professional pussy Mike Komisarek has also moved on to Toronto, and he is still a yapper and a gutless invertebrate. Let’s revisit one of his prouder moments last season when he was with Montreal, as Milan Lucic absolutely punished him in this “fight”:
And yes, he was out for several weeks after this tussle. The Bruins continued their dominating play in the second, as Chara popped home his 2nd goal of the season on a shot from the point and Marc Savard scored his 7th (second of game) on a power-play for a commanding 4-0 Bruins lead. This was also the period where things started to get pretty chippy; Blake Wheeler slammed the Leafs’ Ian White and got a return face-rake from Toronto’s Colton Orr, and Zdeno Chara tossed down Jason Blake toward the end of the period. Rask continued to make all the save that he should, as well as few of the spectacular variety — including this save on Lee Stempniak’s shorthanded bid.
The assault continued in the third, as the Bruins built a 7-0 lead on goals by March Recchi (5th, PPG), Johnny Boychuk (1st NHL goal) and Savard (8th, Hat Trick). Recchi’s goal was the 550th of his career, and was the result of a beautiful rush by Patrice Bergeron. Tuukka Rask also registered his second assist of the season, and moved past Big Al Pedersen on the Bruins all-time scoring list. Even before Boychuk’s goal, he had acquitted himself well in this game with his solid, physical defensive play. His first NHL goal was made possible by David Krejci’s perfectly placed drop pass. Marc Savard’s hat trick goal (19 seconds after Boychuk’s) would close out the Bruins scoring on the nite, and a couple of late Toronto goals accounted for the 7-2 final. Niklas Hagman celebrated his 30th birthday with his 14th goal as Rask lost the shutout with under five minutes remaining. Mikhail Grabovski got his fifth to close out the scoring — although a Russian getting a fifth is nothing unusual:
The third period also featured a bout between Steve Begin and the Leafs’ Jamal Mayers, which ended with a takedown by Begin:
The Leafs also have Christian Hanson in their lineup. Why do I mention this? Hanson is indeed the son of Dave Hanson of the Hanson Brothers from Slap Shot.
The elder Hanson also had a cup o’ coffee in the WHA and NHL in the late 70′s, but even his ‘fists-o-foil’ could not get him a permanent slot on an NHL team. Rask (31 saves) also had to savor this victory, as Toronto dealt him to Boston on June 24, 2006 for goaltender Andrew Raycroft (currently with Vancouver).
Kesselmania – Pt. 2
The Bruins enjoyed four days of rest, while Toronto played two games, before these teams met again at the Garden on Thursday, 12/10. But it was the Leafs who came out strong, and the Rask (in goal again) and the B’s weathered the storm in the first few minutes. The Bruins also clanked 3-4 posts in the first seven minutes, until Mark Stuart’s shot from the point gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. In the second period, the Bruins got an early power play and needed only six seconds to increase their lead to 2-0 as defenseman Derek Morris ripped a slap shot that beat Vesa Toskala. It was then time for Mark Stuart and the Leafs’ Jamal Mayers to do a “Slap Shot” tribute to make Christian Hanson feel at home. Following matching roughing minors, Stuart and Mayers arranged a second date while still in the penalty boxes, and stepped out of the box right into round 2 of their battle:
They each went back into the box for five minutes each, but Stuart’s pounding had another sellout Garden crowd on their feet. David Krejci scored his 4th, unassisted, on a beautiful breakaway after a great Tuukka Rask save to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
Things got a little too interesting in the third period, as Toronto came out strong scored twice early to make it a 3-2 game. But the B’s held on, as Mark Recchi scored a power play goal (6th) and an empty-net goal (7th) in the waning minutes to ensure a 5-2 Bruins victory. So the Bruins win both games, outscoring Toronto 12-4 and getting two power play goals in each game. The Bruins power play is 8 for its last 23 (34.8%), which has raised them from last (30th) in the league to 21st in the league at 18.3%. Think the importance of an effective power play is overrated? The Bruins are 9-0-2 this season when they have a power play goal — and 7-9-3 when they do not.
The Bruins travel to Long Island tonight to face the Islanders.
Odd Fact of the Day
When the Bruins acquired Daniel Paille from Buffalo on October 20, 2009 for a third-round and a conditional fourth-round draft selection, it was the first ever trade/transaction between the Boston and Buffalo organizations. Buffalo joined the NHL in the 1970-71 season.
Wanna Get Away?
For this week’s “Wanna Get Away?” award winner, there is no heading/caption required:
One last note….
Dan Carcillo was rightfully suspended for 4 games for this: