Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens lose to the Boston Bruins

Call of the Wilde: Montreal Canadiens lose to the Boston Bruins
Moores late goal lifts Bruins over Habs
MONTREAL — A bad penalty by Jonathan Drouin in the games dying minutes crushed Montreals comeback hopes.

With Drouin in the box for high sticking, the Boston Bruins scored a power-play goal late in the third period to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday night in a hard-hitting and penalty-filled affair. Montreal has lost four games in a row for the first time this season.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s brutal turnover became the game’s first goal. In alone, David Backes beat Carey Price short side.Then with the teams playing 4-on-4, Jake DeBrusk eluded Brett Kulak to make it 2-0.

“You cant take a penalty at that time of the game,” said coach Claude Julien. “If he (Drouin) said that its on him, well hes right. You have to be disciplined. We cant do those things if we want to win hockey games.”

Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher looks for the rebound from Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

With less than six minutes remaining in a 2-2 contest, Drouin cross-checked David Backes in the face, cutting the Bruins winger below the bottom lip. The incident happened away from the run of play just minutes after the Canadiens came back from two goals down to equalize.

Jonathan Drouin and Tomas Tatar solved Tuukka Rask in the third period to bring the Bell Centre to life.

John Moore scored his first goal of the season on the ensuing four-minute power play, at 17:03 of the third, and the Bruins held on for their third win in four games.

“Both teams are used to being competitive in the standings,” said Gallagher, who exchanged pleasantries, cross-checks and slashes with Kevan Miller as the first period ended. “The last few years it’s been different, but both teams feel they’re in it to be competitive this year and that animosity is what you get. That’s the second time we’ve played them this year and we get them again, and I’m sure it’s going to be the same kind of game. Every game it continues to build. There are a lot of guys on both teams who finish their checks and it’s fun.”

Video: Moores late goal lifts Bruins to win against Habs

“A four-minute power play with five minutes left in a tie game is certainly a good thing to have,” said Backes, who also scored and added an assist on Saturday. “We made good on it. Kudos to the guys in here for staying with it.

“I dont mind bleeding. Bleedings better than concussions to me. If thats what it takes to win, Ill take blood.”

It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Canadiens, although they did pick up points for going to overtime in two of those losses. The Canadiens are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. After playing five games in eight nights, the Canadiens have a more relaxed week with a home game Tuesday against Carolina followed by back-to-back home games Saturday against the Rangers and Sunday against San Jose.

Boston scores a late one to top Canadiens 3-2

Boston (13-6-4) finished 1 for 6 with the man advantage while Montreal was 1 for 5. Both teams combined for 30 penalty minutes.

While the Canadiens are sliding, goaltender Carey Price isn’t making any progress in his bid to overhaul Jacques Plante as the winningest goaltender in Canadiens’ history. Price, who found himself trailing 2-0 in the first period as the result of miscues by his teammates, has lost five of his last eight starts. He has a 7-6-4 record with a 3.17 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.

The Canadiens (11-8-5) dished out 51 hits to Bostons 27, but the aggressive play ended up costing the home team two points.

Artturi Lehkonen, whose inability to finish has been a source of frustration, thought he had his third goal of the season in the opening minute of the third period. He went to the net and tipped a pass from Victor Mete. Lehkonen batted away at the loose puck after Rask made the save on his initial shot, but the apparent goal was wiped out because the officials ruled the play had stopped as the puck was frozen.

“Hard penalty to take, when a cross-check rides up like that,” said Charles Hudon, who finished the game with 13 hits. “Yes its an individual penalty, but its the entire teams fault we gave up two early goals.”

John Moore and David Backes each scored his first goal in a win over Montreal

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead at 13:01 of the first period when Backes swiped the puck from Jesperi Kotkaniemi at the Montreal blue line before beating Carey Price glove side for his first goal of the season.

Rask improved his record against the Canadiens to 11-16-3 and he appears to be back on track after taking some time off to “make things right” with his family. In the three games since he returned to the lineup, he has a 1-0-2 record and has allowed only five goals.

With the teams playing 4-on-4 hockey, Jake Debrusk doubled Bostons lead at 14:42 when he snuck behind defenceman Brett Kulak and tapped in a beautiful pass from Torey Krug.

The Canadiens took advantage of a turnover by Colby Cave to produce a flurry of activity around the Boston net following the Backes goal, but Rask stopped Drouin, Krug blocked a shot by Max Domi and Rask followed by robbing Mete, who is still looking for his first NHL goal.

Bruins Wrap: John Moores Late Goal Pushes Boston Past Canadiens 3-2

Price stopped 32-of-35 shots in defeat as he dropped to 3-5-2 since shutting out the Bruins 3-0 on Oct. 27.

With November snow on the ground, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And the Canadiens are beginning to look a lot like the team Montreal fans feared we’d be watching this season.

Drouin got one back for the home team at 6:46 for his ninth of the season. The Canadiens winger beat Krug with speed in the Boston zone before squeezing a shot between Tuukka Rasks pads.

Tomas Tatar got the equalizer for Montreal on the power play at 10:09 of the third. With David Pastrnak in the penalty box for slashing, Tatar took a pass from Andrew Shaw from behind the net and roofed a one-timer past Rask.

Boston Bruins defenceman Torey Krug jumps on Canadiens' Artturi Lehkonen driving his head in to the ice in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

“It was a tight game but we needed to find two points tonight,” said Shaw, who earned his 100th career assist. “Saturday night at home against the Boston Bruins, it would have been nice to come out on top.”

In the first year of his massive contract, Price has been … uh, shall we say “inconsistent” – including four straight losses at the Bell Centre.

It was the second game of a back-to-back series for both teams. Boston beat Pittsburgh 2-1 in overtime on Friday while Montreal lost 3-2 in overtime in Buffalo.

Notes: Rask made 31 saves. … David Krejci had two assists. … The Bruins were without the injured Zdeno Chara (knee) and Patrice Bergeron (rib). … It was the second of four meetings between the Canadiens and Bruins this season.

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