MONTREAL - It’s no secret that the Bruins are a resilient bunch. Their third period comebacks in Games 1 and 2 against the Canadiens are just an example of what the Black and Gold have displayed during times of adversity.
One of these days, however, the Bruins need to find a way to get a better start. They didn’t do themselves any favors in Game 3 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre as they gave up the first three goals - two on breakaway goals by PK Subban and Dale Weise (out of all people) - and were playing from behind, again.
Similar to the first two games, they battled back and pulled within one with under two minutes left. But Patrice Bergeron and Jarome Iginla’s tallies weren’t enough to lift the Black and Gold to another thrilling comeback. Les Habitants prevailed in a 4-2 victory and took a 2-1 series lead in front of another sellout crowd of 21,273.
“You don’t want to be down every third period,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “You want to go into the third period with the lead and we were doing a good job coming back, but we can’t be shooting ourselves in the foot right off the hop and try to get back into the game in the third period. We have to start off in the first period [and] not take a while to get going.”
After their triumphant third period comeback in Game 2, the Bruins were looking to build off that momentum. That game, they even had a 1-0 first period lead when Daniel Paille fired his first of the postseason past Carey Price after a great feed from Carl Soderberg.
That third line of Soderberg, Paille and Eriksson skated circles around the third Habs defensive pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver in Game 3. Yet, like Games 1 and 2, they squandered some quality chances, while the Bruins defense suffered several breakdowns in the first two periods.
The Habs, meanwhile, made the most of their opportunities thanks to Subban, Weise and Tomas Plekanec, who opened the scoring at 10:57 of the first off a nifty feed from Bruins killer Thomas Vanek.
“We needed to make sure that we came out and had a better start,” Bergeron said about playing from behind. “We didn’t do that and, obviously you want to show some character, but it’s not going to happen every time.”
Desperation hockey isn’t the best thing for any team, but now that they’re down 2-1, the Bruins’ biggest test will come in Game 4 Thursday night. A win will even the series and give them home ice advantage again for the rest of the series. A loss will put their season on the brink in Game 5 Saturday night at TD Garden.
Simply put, the Bruins need to come out as the more desperate team from here on out. Getting a good start, beginning in Game 4, would help their cause.
“We don’t want to get behind,” Iginla said. “We believe that if we do get behind, we can comeback. Nobody’s relaxing. In the first period we had an off period and we had an off period again.
“We can be better, there’s no question. But now, this game is behind us. In the second and third period went on, we started to build our game again, and we’re going to need that [going forward].”
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