The Montreal Canadiens, injury-riddled and undermanned as they may be, seemed poised to hand the Bruins a little comeuppance on their historic journey.
The Habs had beaten Toronto, Winnipeg and the Rangers over the last couple of weeks and they gave the B’s all they could handle for much on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
But in the end, even the B’s age-old tormentors could not derail them. The B’s scored three third period goals to knock off the Habs, 4-2, and push their record to 38-5-4.
Patrice Bergeron scored the go-ahead goal with 2:55 left in regulation. He won an offensive draw back to David Pastrnak and headed to the net to put back a rebound behind goalie Sam Montembeault.
In a scoreless first period, the B’s were a little slow to get going and, because of it, coach Jim Montgomery was quick to switch up his lines, loading up with David Pastrnak with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. They started getting chances, the best being a Bergeron-to-Marchand feed at the top of the crease that defenseman David Savard just barely broke up. Goalie Sam Montembeault also made a terrific save on a Trent Frederic one-timer from 10 feet out.
Montembeault made some great saves early in the second period, especially on a Bruin power play when slid over to thwart a Pastrnak one-timer and then on a clean break-in from from Pavel Zacah.
And when the Habs got their second power play of the game, they broke the ice. With Derek Forbort in the box for interference, Mike Hoffman sent a puck through the slot intended for a Evgeni Dadonov deflection but it went straight through to Kirby Dach on the left wing and he was able to beat Jeremy Swayman at 9:11.
But the B’s evened it up on their next power play from a very welcome source. Taylor Hall entered the game with a 16-game goal-less streak dating back to December 17 and his frustrations were showing in his game at times. But after Montembeault made a save on a Bergeron re-direct off a Pastrnak pass, the rebound sat on the doorstep for Hall to tap home at 14:12, his 14th of the season.
The B’s pressured for the go-ahead goal but Montembeault stood tall. After Charlie McAvoy was guilty of a high-stick when he was stickhandling through the offensive slot, Swayman had to come up with a couple of big stops on the kill in the waning seconds of the period.
Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s held a 23-14 shot advantage, with many of the chances being of the high-quality variety. But they headed to the third deadlocked and 1:18 left on penalty time to kill.