It was a fine night in Boston, a spirited affair between two teams who like to have spirited affairs, and in the end, the Montreal Canadiens rally and beat the Boston Bruins 4-3, and back to the head of the class they go. And they did it with Peter Budaj between the pipes.
It was never-say-die for the Canadiens, who held their ground on the scoreboard and with the gloves dropped, and they clawed back in the third to win it. This team is for real, and with just two games to go before reaching halfway in the season, they just keep on proving it.
But it wasn’t easy, of course. It was the hot Bruins on home ice. It was Peter Budaj replacing Carey Price, which for me anyway, always causes slight anxiety. It was the night after losing a 7-6 crazy bummer to Pittsburgh. Last year there might have been less drive on a night like this and a scampering back home to regroup. But the Habs showed great character. They showed they can shake it off, re-focus and battle, and this was two huge points to make a genuine statement.
The boys are a force to be reckoned with. It’s like the sun has come up.
Boston tied it in the first after a Tomas Plekanec power play goal, but just sixteen seconds after the Bruins marker, David Desharnais put his team in front again. And when the Bruins went ahead 3-2 with the second period ending, the Canadiens again showed what they’re made of, what coach Therrien is instilling in them, and what they must certainly believe. Max tied it in the third, and finally, D.D., with his second, put his team ahead, they held on, and skated away feeling mighty good about themselves I’m sure.
Three points out of four this back-to-back weekend. It reminds me of a little story the bartender at the Shark Club told me yesterday. His brother had been in South America for a year, and when he came home he asked how things were going in hockey. His brother said, you’re not going to believe this but the Habs are in first place in the East. It made my heart soar like a Turquoise-throated Puffleg.
If I haven’t agreed with a couple of past decisions regarding starting Budaj this season, I sure did this time, even though it was such an important game. Carey Price needs to rest and regroup after some slightly shoddy play lately, and Budaj, in his last two starts, allowed just one goal against Philly and shut out Carolina two nights later. He’s performing yeoman’s service, has one three in a row, and although much of the night when pucks were around him it was time to hold our breath, he somehow got it done and lately he’s been the perfect backup, coming in when called upon and playing well.
Of course with this being a Montreal-Boston battle, fights broke out with Brandon Prust and Milan Lucic tangling and then Alexei Emelin and Zdeno Chara getting into it. Emelin had bone surgery performed on his face while playing in the KHL, and although he plays a hard-nosed game, he can’t be blamed for not fighting on a regular basis. Broken bones in the face must really suck, so imagine when he and the monstrous Chara dropped their gloves and started flailing away. If there’s one guy in the league Emelin shouldn’t be fighting, it would be Chara. But he held his own, he’s a strong bugger in his own right, and his gutsy display shows even more character for a team with tons already.
Shots on goal – Boston 34, Montreal 26. But Budaj got it done and what a bonus it is.
The Bruins seemed upset with Lars Eller all evening. Eller’s got a choir boy face but I’m thinking he’s got some devil in him. I love that he has an edge, and he’s an active part of the above mentioned team character.
The team really misses Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz, especially on the power play.
Next up – The Habs pay a visit to the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday. The last time these two teams met, the Islanders skated away with a 4-3 OT win.