If the Montreal Canadiens are going to escape the constant state of mediocrity they have been in the past few years these are the types of games they need to win.
Not only a divisional game against one of the best teams in the league, but against a team that played the night before, was playing its third game in four nights, and was probably vulnerable against a rested team.
This was a big test to see if they could take a step forward and they passed it in a wildly entertaining 5-4 win, snapping what had been a six-game winning streak for the Bruins.
1. it was a Big night for the Canadiens’ unsung heroes. Specifically, defensemen Victor Mete and Ben Chiarot. Entering the game Mete had scored one — one! — goal in 134 NHL games and he managed to top that total on Tuesday night alone, scoring two goals in the win.
Then, just a few minutes after Bruins forward Charlie Coyle had a goal disallowed on an offside review (more on that in a second) Chiarot scored his first goal as a member of the Canadiens for the game-winner.
Paul Byron and Tomas Tatar were the other goal-scorers for Montreal, but it’s expected that they will provide offense on occasion. Getting three goals from the duo of Mete and Chiarot was an unexpected surprise for the Canadiens.
2. Claude Julien made a bold call that paid off. Midway through the third period it appeared as if Coyle had given the Bruins a 5-4 lead, only to have it wiped away on an offside challenge by Julien. It was an incredibly bold call given the circumstances because the Bruins’ entry into the zone was ridiculously close and it wasn’t a slam dunk that the play would get overturned. Considering the Canadiens could have found themselves behind and shorthanded (as is the penalty for a failed challenge) if it did not go their way it could have easily backfired. Fortunately for Julien and the Canadiens it went their way.
3. David Pastrnak is still unstoppable right now. The bright spot for the Bruins had to be Pastrnak scoring yet another goal. That gives him 15 on the season and makes him the first player since the 2005-06 season to score at least 15 goals through his team’s first 15 games when Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, and Daniel Alfredsson all did it. He also added a little excitement to the closing seconds when he nearly set up a game-tying goal with an incredible rush into the Montreal zone.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.