With Peter Budaj coming up big between the pipes and a full team effort in front of him, the Canadiens skate away with a solid 4-1 win in Boston.
And just like that, two wins in row and they’re in everyone’s good books again. Or mine at least. I hate speaking for everyone else.
But I’m sure in yours too.
Because they played well and don’t deserve to have anyone mad at them right now. It’s a night and a tomorrow to savour. Then we’ll see how things go on Saturday.
It was in the air early on, when the game was played often in the Boston end, the boys were working hard and passing well, and slowly but surely we saw the Desharnais, Pacioretty, Gallagher line all over the place, getting chances, stirring things up near the Bruins crease.
We saw Alexei Emelin lay on solid thumps and get pucks in deep from the blueline, including the notching of his first of the season, a seeing-eye blast in the first to open the scoring.
Emelin, like his team, has played better these last couple of games, and seeing him be a force simply stirs the soul. A big tough hombre doing things right instead of wrong.
Like we knew he could because he has.
The Emelin play of late was hopefully just an aberration, lanced and purged, kicked to the curb and exorcised. Never to return.
The big bear also drew Milan Lucic into a penalty after some healthy punishment near the boards, which was nice to see considering it was Lucic who barreled over Emelin last April to put the big Russian out for seven or eight months.
Emelin’s getting back to what he does best. Not being gun shy. Playing with more confidence. Converting rib bones into dust.
And of course there was Brendan Gallagher, sending Max into the clear with a nice pass that Max would convert. And then Gally springing Daniel Briere loose for a fourth goal after Brian Gionta had tipped in a Tomas Plekanec shot.
And a great feed from Gally to Desharnais which didn’t make it through but was a sensational pass from number 11, who absolutely played one of his finest games of the season.
It was a night for most Habs. Douglas Murray used his strength and was a rock throughout. Rene Bourque had all kinds of shots and good chances. Briere had a goal and an assist.
Michael Bournival was simply flying at times. Bournival’s still finding his way in the league, and in a year or two should be a real key guy.
Even George Parros made some noise, and it was interesting to see him in the Boston crease surrounded by Bruins and not one looked eager to try any of the after-whistle stuff.
Completely different from the mess some of our small guys find themselves in often. Size in the crease is a beautiful thing.
The Bruins were basically quiet throughout because the Canadiens weren’t going to be denied. Certainly they were as fed up with their mediocre play as we were. Maybe more but it’s hard to imagine.
And they played like they’ve moved onwards and upwards.
This was a tremendously important win. Two wins after such a funk they’ve been in lately. With everyone on board and in sync.
It makes my heart soar like an American Three-toed Woodpecker.
And although the Carolina team was probably tired after playing a bunch of games in a short time, Montreal was still full marks for that win and a huge A-plus for their effort at the TD Garden in Boston.
Bruins announcer Jack Edwards is presently crying in the announcer’s private toilet. They’ve taken his belt away from him.
So great to see Budaj enjoy such a fine game after being on the losing end for his last six outings. Although three of those were in relief of Carey Price.
Shots on goal – Boston 35, Montreal 33.
Tuukka Rask was yanked halfway through after giving up the Gionta goal. It warms my innards.
Also great fun to see dejected Bruins fans leave early.
Next up – Saturday at 1 pm ET, when Tampa Bay comes a callin’. Then 24 hours later, the Winnipeg Jets are at the Bell. Two matinees on Super Bowl Weekend.