Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three

Bruins ‘just made stupid mistakes’ in Game 3 loss to Habs


Tuesday’s playoff game between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens proved an interesting case study on the topic of momentum in a series.

Based on their roaring comeback to win Game 2, you’d think the Bruins would start to roll on their Original Six adversaries. Didn’t happen that way, as the series shifted back to Montreal. The Habs built up a 2-0 lead after the first period – P.K. Subban scored a beautiful breakaway goal seconds after his penalty expired – and led by three goals at one point.

The Bruins did their best to come back, like they had done in the first two games of this series, with Jarome Iginla making it a one-goal game with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. But time ran out on them in a 4-2 loss. The Canadiens now lead the series 2-1.

“I don’t think we played bad; we just made stupid mistakes,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, as per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien wasn’t particularly happy with his team’s start on the road.

“Our team wasn’t good enough at the start to give ourselves a chance here,” said Julien, as per Conor McKenna of TSN 690.

Canadiens start strong, grab 2-1 series lead against Bruins

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three

Though they split the first two games in Boston, the Montreal Canadiens blew two-goal leads in both Games 1 and 2 of this second-round series. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday, however, as they won 4-2 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead against the Boston Bruins.

That’s not to say that the B’s didn’t make things interesting, however.

A late charge comes up short

With about six minutes left in the second period, the Canadiens had a 3-0 lead after an unlikely Dale Weise breakaway goal. Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins some hope heading into the third period with a beauty of a tip-in tally.

The Bruins didn’t truly make the Habs sweat until Claude Julien pulled the Patrick Roy Special in yanking Tuukka Rask at a pretty aggressive point in the third period. It paid off with a Jarome Iginla goal with 2:16 left in the game, but the Bruins were unable to score again. Lars Eller then iced the game with an empty-netter.

(Some might wonder why P.K. Subban didn’t get a delay of game penalty with 10 precious seconds remaining, though the officials would likely chalk it up to an accidental moment. Still, there might be some who grumble about that moment.)

Subban stars

Really, that late moment just cemented Subban’s big impact on the game. The sensational defenseman got an assist on this great play by Thomas Vanek:

Then he delivered a hit that hurt Vanek as much as anyone else:

… And scored a fantastic goal after the resulting penalty was killed:

Habs played well

The Bruins made a mad rush late in the game, but Montreal was explosive in the first period and strong for most of the game (especially before they started to sit on the lead a bit in the third).

With Subban, Vanek, Tomas Plekanec and other Canadiens really humming and certain Bruins struggling, the Habs have to feel good about their chances with a chance to take a 3-1 series lead if they win in Montreal in Game 4. Boston needs a better 60-minute game to avoid that perilous situation and tie it 2-2 instead.

Murray, Moen in for Habs; Bruins stick with Game 2 lineup

Montreal Canadiens v San Jose Sharks
1 Comment

While the Boston Bruins are primed to stick with the same lineup that won them Game 2, the Montreal Canadiens are making two minor tweaks to their mix for Game 3.

The Habs are moving Travis Moen in for Brandon Prust and are shifting veteran defensemen by replacing Francis Bouillon with Douglas Murray.

At least one indication is that Prust is injured:

Both Moen and Prust are rugged players, so the lineup impact is probably minimal.

The more interesting shift is that they added a lot of beef to their blueline. According to the Habs’ Web site, Murray is seven inches taller and 46 lbs. heavier than “The Bouillon Cube.” At 34 to Bouillon’s 38, Murray’s also a bit younger (though basically his equal as far as experience goes).

Some have criticized Murray for questionable hits and perhaps equally questionable mobility, but he certainly should be prepared if the physicality of this series ratchets up another level.

(Oh yeah, it also shapes up for a battle of Douglas [Murray] and Dougie [Hamilton], if you’re into jokes like that.)