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Habs beat Bruins to take over first place in Atlantic Division

12.05.13 at 10:23 pm ET
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MONTREAL — The Canadiens took over first place in the Atlantic Division Thursday night with a 2-1 win at the Bell Centre that hurt the Bruins in more ways than one.

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins could not hold off the Canadiens on Thursday night. (AP)

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins could not hold off the Canadiens on Thursday night. (AP)

Though the top spot in the division was on the line, the game itself was quickly overshadowed by a scary injury for the Bruins as Johnny Boychuk was taken off the ice on a stretcher and rushed to a local hospital. Boychuk was injured on a first-period hit from Max Pacioretty and despite clearly being in a great deal of pain, was able to move all his extremities before being taken to the hospital.

The Bruins bounced back with a first-period goal from Gregory Campbell, but the Canadiens came roaring back in the second period with goals from Tomas Plekanec and Pacioretty. The Bruins followed a dormant second period with a much more active third, but they were unable to get the puck past Carey Price, who stopped all 16 shots he saw in the third.

The Canadiens now have 39 points to the Bruins’ 38, but they have played two more games than the B’s.

The Bruins will host the Penguins, who are tied with the Habs for the Eastern Conference lead in points, Saturday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins are all too familiar with playing games with only five defensemen this season. In-game injuries to Boychuk (Oct. 31), Adam McQuaid (Nov. 9) and Dennis Seidenberg (Nov. 19) have left the B’s down a defenseman.

– The Canadiens absolutely dominated the Bruins in the second period, getting chance after chance while the Bruins mustered little offensively. The Habs held a 17-7 advantage in shots on goal, but they had some chances on missed shots as well, such as Brian Gionta‘s prior to Plekanec’s goal, while the Bruins had no notable scoring chances and only attempted nine shots.

– Dennis Seidenberg kicketh and Dennis Seidenberg taketh away. The veteran defenseman got the secondary assist on Campbell’s goal when he kicked the puck up to Milan Lucic in the neutral zone, but a failed pinch outside of the blue line in the second period led to the puck going the other way and, eventually, Pacioretty scoring.

– Considering they were only playing with five defensemen, the Bruins could have afforded to keep their remaining D out of the box. Instead they were forced to kill penalties to Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton with only three defensemen, as Torey Krug doesn’t really kill penalties. The good news on that front was that they managed to kill off both penalties, with Krug only playing the last 13 seconds of Bartkowski’s penalty.

– It was a very quiet night from the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson trio, as that line had no shots on goal and just one shot attempt in the first 40 minutes of play before picking up the pace in the third period.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– The B’s dominated the first period of play, even though the Habs won 20-of-27 faceoffs. After allowing just 14 shots on goal Saturday against the Blue Jackets, the Bruins held the Habs to just three pucks on Tuukka Rask Thursday night. That all changed in the second period, of course, when the Canadiens put 17 pucks on net and two of them in.

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