|Bruins cannot finish comeback against Habs||03.13.10 at 9:46 pm ET|
Summary — Two longtime Original Six rivals faced off for the last time during the regular season on Saturday as the Bruins and Canadiens went for a tilt at the Bell Centre in Montreal. With two points separating the teams for the final two playoffs spots in the Eastern Conference heading into the game the contest was an important one for both teams and (team) was able to prevail 3-2. Tuukka Rask got the start for Boston and made 24 saves in the loss. He was opposed by Jaroslav Halak who was sturdy in stopping 21 pucks in the winning effort.
The Habs jumped on top of the Bruins in the first period. The first goal came courtesy of the power play (Mark Stuart holding 5:02) when Andrei Markov let go of a wrist shot from the blue that had eyes through traffic in front of Rask and deflected off of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for the opening score.
The Canadiens would strike again within the last minute of the period right after killing a penalty when Sergei Kostitsyn wrapped a backhand around the net to beat Rask at 19:40 for the two-goal advantage heading into the second period.
Boston cut the lead in half at 1:12 of the second period. Michael Ryder took a pass from David Krejci and rushed down the left wing on a break and sent a backhand centering pass to Blake Wheeler rushing down the middle lane. Wheeler just need to tap it through Halak to make it 2-1.
Kostisyn struck again early in the third when he took a puck that had an odd bounce off the back boards that came back onto his stick to catch Rask way out of position and leave an empty crease for the easy goal and a two-score advantage.
Boston would not go quietly. Milan Lucic made it a one-goal game at 11:46 in the third when he stick-handled on the half wall and into the slot to send a wrist shot on Halak that fell through the goaltenders pads and into the net to make it 3-2.
Sergei Kostitsyn — The perpetually pesky Montreal forward scored the Habs’ second and third goals of the game to put the Bruins away.
Andrei Markov — The Canadiens’ defenseman scored the first goal of the game and assisted on the second to propel Montreal’s early game attack.
Blake Wheeler — The sophomore forward scored his 16th of the year and second in two games with his second period strike.
Turning Point — The pivotal separation goal came at 1:41 in the third period when Kostitsyn threw the puck off the backboards and was the lucky recipient of an odd bounce that put the puck back on his stick while crashing the net without breaking his stride. Rask was caught on the edge of the crease following the puck which left Kostitsyn and empty net. With Lucic’s goal later in the third the strike proved to be the game winner.
Key Play — As the Bruins tried to come back in the last five minute of the game Halak stuffed a point-blank shot from Marco Sturm that would have been the equalizer. Boston would not seriously threaten the Canadiens lead again.
|First period summary: Bruins-Canadiens||at 7:57 pm ET|
Barring any dramatic playoff runs, Saturday’s game between the Bruins and Canadiens will be the last time the teams see each other this season. The Habs lead the series 2-1-2 and start the day two points ahead of Boston in the playoff picture (though the B’s do have three games in hand).
The Canadiens would love a clean win to put the Bruins behind them and started the first period like they were on a mission to do just that. Boston went on a quick power play (Hamrlik elbowing 2:46) but could not generate much and ceded the man-advantage to the Habs a few minutes later (Mark Stuart holding 5:02).
The Canadiens knew what to do.
Montreal took a minute setting up the power play and set up Andrei Markov for a wrist shot that weaved through traffic (probably off Bruins’ defender Dennis Seidenberg) passed goaltender Tuukka Rask for the early lead.
The Habs kept the pressure on Rask and the Bruins for the latter half of the period with aggressive play in all three zones. They were rewarded for their effort much like the were on their first goal — kill a penalty then come back and light the lamp on the other side. Jaroslav Spacek went to the box (tripping 17:03) but the Habs kept the puck tied up on the half wall and eventually broke out in the final seconds of the power play with a breakaway by Tomas Plekanec that Rask was able to stifle.
It was too early for Rask to let his guard down though as Sergei Kostitsyn snuck in with the puck and scored on a backhand at 19:20 to gives Montreal a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. The Bruins have not trailed by two since the last time they played the Canadiens in the first game back from the Olympic break.
Shots through first:
Bruins — 6
Canadiens — 7