Boston, MA -- It has happened to the Bruins again. And 'it' is not just another heartbreaking 2-1 loss leading to a four-game losing skid.
|Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward lies on the ice after being knocked out in the third period.
Another member of the Black & Gold hit the ice after he lost consciousness following a blow to the head, just scant hours after Patrice Bergeron implored his fellow NHLers to respect each other.
Bergeron is dealing with the consequences of a hit that left him concussed on October 27.
"We have to respect each other a little bit more," said Bergeron at a press conference earlier in the day. "I know I’m not the only one who has been saying that this past year.
"We have to think about the consequences when you’re on the ice."
Initially, not too many people were sure what happened. But it was clear on video replay -- Montreal defenseman Francis Bouillon elbowed veteran Boston blueliner Aaron Ward across the face after leaving the penalty box in the third period.
And, after not moving for what seemed like an eternity, and after a worried Bruins trainer Don Delnegro summoned a stretcher, Ward strugged to regain his wits and his feet, and was helped off of the ice under his own power.
"I didn't see it until he was down on the ice," said Tim Thomas who, like many of the B's didn't see the hit in real time. "It's not good when you don't see (a player) moving…the way he twitched really scared me."
|Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward, center, is helped from the ice by teammate Andrew Alberts, left, after being knocked out during the third period.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien, clearly angry about having to deal with yet another dangerous blow to the head, spoke about Ward's injury.
"I think from what we saw, seemed like an elbow to the head on that play," he said. "It’s what we’ve seen anyway so as far as he’s concerned, we haven’t received the final update or diagnosis.
"Obviously, he got the elbow in the head and we know what happens from there."
Incidentally, the Bruins looked to snap a four-game losing streak against the Habs when the Northeast rivals played on Thursday and Boston came out of their locker room ready and quickly put five early shots on the young Habs goalie, Carey Price, who performed as advertised and kept the B's off the board (for most of the evening).
Late in the period, however, Montreal's Alexei Kovalev scored a goal that just trickled through the pads of Thomas at 17:05 and sent the B's to the room trailing 1-0 after one period.
In a sure fire effort to light a candle under the seats of his fellow B's, Jeremy Reich took on noted Montreal antagonist Steve Begin, pugilistiacally, at 2:53. The feisty Begin scored with early jabs, but Reich, a Bruins heavyweight, held on for the pin and TKO.
But the Bruins were unable to dent Price and the Canadiens feisty forward, Thomas Plekanec, scored the (eventual game-winning) goal at 8:47.
|Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm, left, of Germany, lifts his leg as he beats Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price for a goal in the second period of an hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)|
At 14:12 Boston Marco Sturm seemed to will a puck past Price to make the score, 2-1, but the B's were not able to add any more before the horn sounded the end of the second period.
The third frame was a hard-hitting affair, but neither team controlled play for very long.
Boston finally caught a break when two Habs ended up in the box at nearly the same time and gave the Bruins nearly two minutes of 5-on-3 power play time. The Canadiens killed both power plays before Bouillon collided with Ward and the game was delayed.
Following their failed power plays and the Ward hit, Boston was unable to generate any significant offence and, despite a couple of late flurries around the Canadiens net, the Habs held on for the 2-1 win.
"It's tough on Timmy (Thomas)," said Savard of his goalie, who made 30 saves. "He's not getting that goal scored when he's making some saves.
"We can't keep losing in our division."
The Bruins have a chance to break their current losing streak on Saturday night versus Buffalo.
Notes: On hand for tonight's game were two members of the US Army 3rd ID from Fort Benning, GA -- Specialist Brendan Murphy, of Dorchester, and Mike Gernigoia, of Saugus. They returned to the Commonwealth on Friday, November 2nd after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom...Tonight's game was the third straight game to be settled by a 2-1 score.... Thomas faced 32 shots tonight, the seventh time he has faced 30-or-more shots...The Bruins are now 0-4-0 in games in which their opponents score first.