Boston Bruins 4, Montreal Canadiens 7: Final
Habs vs. B's: A Classic Confrontation
As seen on NESN --
If they counted punches instead of shots on net, and KO's instead of goals, the Boston Bruins came away from their Saturday night match up at Montreal's Bell Centre clear winners. It was a hockey game, however, and despite the B's dominance on the fight card, the Montreal Canadiens outlasted the Black & Gold to the tune of 7-4.
|Montreal Canadiens' Josh Gorges, top right, fights with Boston Bruins' Mark Stuart during a fight-filled third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ian Barrett)
"We certainly made (some bad) decisions tonight," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien to NESN's Rob Simpson postgame. "Everything they got, we basically gave them..
"Had we played a strong game this would have been our game.
"I am disappointed…not (in) the effort, because that was there, but the decision making was not there tonight," he said.
The B's came into the game saying all the right things, but certainly the Black & Gold had to be thinking about another thing, altogether: payback.
The last time the B's and Habs met, Boston was handed their second setback of the year courtesy of the CHC (and fifth loss in a row to the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge), and locker room leader and veteran NHL defender Aaron Ward had to be helped off the TD Banknorth Garden ice with a concussion after he "collided" with Habs defenseman Francis Bouillon's elbow.
But it was Montreal, perhaps thinking about their humbling loss on Friday night against Buffalo, that scored first.
On the power play, the sensational Saku Koivu stole a puck in front of Boston's net and beat the heretofore-bulletproof B's goalie Tim Thomas
with a snap shot at 2:40. Just 47-seconds later, Boston's Glen Murray ended a personal goalless streak when he surprised Montreal's stellar rookie goalie, Carey Price, at 3:27.
Tempers simmered during the first period. However, besides some offsetting minor infractions, nothing came of it in the first frame.
To start the second, a miscue behind the Bruins net led to a shorthanded goal by Tom Kostopolous at 1:19 of the period. However, at 3:11 the B's Zdeno Chara
one-timed a puck home just after a Bruins power play ended. Then, a Bruins penalty led to an Andrei Kostitsyn goal that put the Habs up 3-2 at 4:59.
|Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas gets a piece of Montreal Canadiens' Christopher Higgins shot and stops the breakaway in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/The Canadien Press, Ian Barrett)
The B's continued to fight through a bout of sloppy play to tie the game -- again and Boston's Marco Sturm
gave the Hub of Hockey his ninth scoring celebration of the season and evened the scale, 3-3, at 10:43.
Montreal's Guillaume Latendresse countered, beating Thomas off a rebound to make the score, 4-3, Canadiens.
The Habs took that one goal lead to the second break.
Montreal D-man Roman Hamrlik scored the B's fifth goal of the season when he deflected a puck off of a Bruin in the crease during a delayed penalty situation (with Montreal having an extra player during a 4-on-4 situation) at 4:23 of the third. At which point, tempers finally did boil over -- with the highlight being Andrew Alberts winning a one-rounder with Kostopolous and Jeremy Reich
trading jabs with Francis Bouillon.
The Bruins could not take advantage of any momentum garnered during the altercations, and Mike Komisarek put Montreal up by three goals at 10:15 of the third stanza.
Perhaps fueled by frustration (and perhaps just a "bit" by some chippy play), Boston Mark Stuart pounded Kostitsyn into submission during both gentlemen's' first NHL bout. Montreal's bench took exception to Stuart's clear victory over the forward, and Bruins head coach Claude Julien and the Canadiens bench had words.
Judging by NESN's broadcast close-ups, Coach Julien, a former purveyor of the sweet science (he once fought a Hanson brother), seemed to invite the opposing coaches to join him for a "discussion" on the B's bench.
None seemed inclined and, thankfully, cooler heads on both benches prevailed, but that would not be the case on the ice throughout the duration of the game.
For a measure of satisfaction, the B's Murray scored his second of the game and third of the season to make the score 6-4 Montreal at 11:07. However, following an elbowing penalty call on the Boston captain, Chara pugilistically pummeled Latendresse following the play and after the younger Canadien put his hand into the big Bruins face.
The resulting 5-on-3 gave Montreal their backbreaking seventh goal when Kovalev put a rocket by Thomas at 14:12.
Perhaps fueled by a desire to even up a physical score, Kostopolous challenged Stuart with under a minute to go, cross checking the B's young D-man and basically jumping him. But the newest Boston strongman earned another KO as he overpowered the Canadien player and quickly put him to the ice.
Beyond his penalties and bruises, the Montreal skater could earn a one-game suspension for his efforts and a fine for his coach, but Habs were probably undaunted by those issues, because they went to their famous dressing room 7-4 winners and earned two more divisional points to their American archrivals.
All in all, however, Chara and the Bruins did not seem overly upset about the loss.
"We didn't play our best, yet we were still in the game," he said and when asked about the physical nature of the conest, he added, "Sometimes it's a physical game, but there is a difference between being physical (and being) a little dirty.
"So, we responded."
If they are allowed over the border again, the Big Bad Bruins look to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
|Three star selections