In a game that saw good goaltending, questionable officiating and bitter moments, the Montreal Canadiens came into the TD Garden and snapped the Boston Bruins' 12-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Monday night. Here are some superlatives from the B's first loss since March 1.
Best fight - Kevan Miller vs. Travis Moen
Since being called up to Boston back in November, Kevan Miller has been quite impressive on the blue-line. He doesn’t contribute much offensively, but he makes up for it with his physicality, especially in his own end.
The University of Vermont alum is not afraid to drop the gloves, either. His fight with Travis Moen just 4:50 into the contest got the sold out crowd of 17,565 to their feet early. Miller earned the takedown after a couple of big blows, while Moen left the game and did not return after the bout.
Worst potential fight - David Krejci vs. Andrei Markov
Throughout the history of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry, the two teams have provided some triumphant moments, as seen with Nathan Horton’s Game 7 overtime clincher in 2011 and the infamous “too many men” penalty that still haunts Don Cherry’s 1979 Bruins. But they’ve also had some duds along the way, including the fist of cuffs - or lack thereof - between PK Subban and Brad Marchand in the first meeting of the 2011-12 season.
Towards the end of the first period, Andrei Markov wanted to drop the gloves with David Krejci after the two exchanged some shoves in the Habs end. The two avoided exchanging fists, which might have been a good thing since it would’ve been a prime candidate for the Not SportsCenter Top 10 this week (yes ESPN does show hockey highlights once in a blue moon).
Best mix of Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy - Peter Budaj
Several Habs fans were surprised to see Budaj get the nod over Carey Price in the last meeting of the regular season between the two teams. But with their first of a back-to-back, the Habs went with their backup for his third start of the season against the Black and Gold.
Budaj came into the game sporting a .960 save percentage on the Bruins home ice, and once again, stymied the Bruins on Causeway Street stopping 28 of 29 shots. This is in no way comparing Budaj to the goaltenders before him on a historic basis, but on this night he sure looked like a mix of Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden at times, including his sprawling stop on Milan Lucic during the first period.
“Some goalies feel pretty comfortable playing in different buildings, and obviously for us, Peter feels pretty comfortable about playing here,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said about Budaj’s history at TD Garden. “He battled hard tonight, and he deserved the win.”
Worst way to end a winning streak - In a playoff-like atmosphere, a game decided in a shootout is something that no hockey fan wants to see. Yet, the glorified skills competition struck again and the Habs took advantage, despite being outplayed through a good chunk of the 65 minutes.
“Yeah, I think we outplayed them tonight by far,” Marchand said. “It’s definitely disappointing to see the game end in a shootout like that and have the streak end. I don’t think we deserve that outcome, but on the other side of it we won games that we probably shouldn’t of and that’s hockey.”
Still, Claude Julien did his best to guide his team to an overtime victory, and it nearly worked. The Black and Gold tallied two shots on Budaj during the five-minute extra session, but they kept the puck in the Canadiens’ zone for the majority of overtime.
Thankfully, the shootout is only used during the regular season. By playoff time, the skills competition is replaced with sudden death. After all, who doesn’t want to see double and triple overtime games - even if it means losing an hour or two of sleep the next day.
Quote of the night - Lucic and Alexi Emelin have shared quite the despair between one another recently, and that was no different Monday night. The two were at it again on Monday, beginning with Emelin’s hip check on Lucic in the first period.
Whether the hit was clean or not is still up for debate, but Lucic certainly took exception to it.
“Whether it’s fair or legal or whatever you want to call it, if he wasn’t scared, he’d want to stand up and hit me and not go after my knees. It just shows how big of a chicken he is that he would go down like that to take me down,” Lucic said about Emelin. “It shows you what kind of player he is.”
That wasn’t the only time the two exchanged acquaintances. In the third period, Lucic, looking for a little retribution, gave a couple of taps to Emelin, but might have gone a little too far with the stick work. Still, the seventh year Bruin denied spearing the Habs defenseman afterwards.
With the history of these two developing, Lucic and Emelin could have quite the subplot going if the hated rivals were to meet again during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What’s next - Sure, the B’s lost in a shootout, but they gained a point and still hold the best record in the league. With the loss behind them, the Black and Gold will welcome the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time since Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“It’s going to be a tough game and a great matchup,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored his 23rd of the season to tie the game at 1-1 in the third period (on the power play). “I’m expecting, again, the same kind of atmosphere as tonight with the fans and everything and just looking forward to it.”