By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
On March 8th, 2011, the Boston Bruins visited their arch-rival, the Montreal Canadiens, in the Bell Centre. This was a pivotal game for both teams as the playoffs were quickly approaching, and Montreal wanted a different result from the last time both teams met each other (February 9th). The last time the Bruins and Canadiens played each other was nothing short of entertaining. With the Bruins winning 8-6 and the game featuring many fights, one including Tim Thomas and Mark Price, and a combined 192 penalty minutes between the two teams! With so much at stake and how close their records were, you knew that this was going to be a highly contested game and nothing short of entertaining once again.
The starting goaltenders for the game were Tuukka Rask and Mark Price. Tuukka Rask’s record on the season was 9-11-1, but in his last four starts, he was 4-0 with a 1.75 GAA and a .942 Save Pct. On the other side of the ice, Carey Price was 31-21-6 on the season, and in his career against the Bruins up to this point was 12-3-2. Scratches for Boston were Andrew Ference, Steven Kampfer, and Daniel Paille. For Montreal, the scratches were Alexandre Picard, Tom Pyett, and Yannick Weber. A major key factor for Boston coming into this game was Patrice Bergeron would come back from injury.
Montreal Sets the Pace
The first period started, and as many people anticipated, a lot of fights would happen. The first fight came just 3:11 into the game when Johnny Boychuk dropped the gloves against Ryan White. Both would land hefty blows and be sent to the penalty box. However, the Bruins would be on the powerplay since Ryan White was called for instigating and got a 10-minute game misconduct. The Bruins couldn’t convert, and it was back to even strength. At the 5:51 mark, Tyler Seguin was called for tripping, and Montreal would look to get on the scoreboard first. Boston didn’t let that happen, and it was shortly back to even strength.
However, Montreal would be the first to get on the board when Lars Eller put the puck behind Tuukka Rask and into the net. It was 1-0 Montreal at the 11:39 mark. The first period continued, and as Boston tried to tie the game, it was Montreal who would score again. Lars Eller would put the spin-cycle on Tuukka Rask, and it was 2-0 Montreal with 2:23 left in the period. Boston found themselves on a steep hill to climb as the first period ended. Even though Boston outshot Montreal 11-6, it was Montreal able to convert, and Boston would have to try to solve Carey Price in the second period.
Montreal running Boston out of the Bell Centre
The Bruins had a golden opportunity to get themselves on the scoreboard early when Tomas Plekanec was called for Kneeing, and Boston was on the powerplay. Montreal would kill off the penalty again, and Boston still had to climb back from a 2-0 deficit. 6:41 into the second, Chris Kelly was called for Hooking, and Montreal looked to put a stranglehold on Boston and make it 3-0. Montreal would do just that as Brian Gionta ripped a wrist shot off Tuukka Rask’s glove, and it trickled in. Montreal was up 3-0, and Boston’s mountain to climb just got steeper.
As the period dragged along, Boston would have two chances on the powerplay, but surprise, surprise, Boston couldn’t convert both times, and Montreal was still up 3-0. The period would keep getting worse for Boston when Montreal had another powerplay opportunity when Johnny Boychuk was called for tripping at the 5:29 mark. James Wisniewski was able to slapshot the puck past Tuukka, and Montreal was up 4-0. With 24:51 left in the game, it looked safe to say that Boston was going to lose this game unless Montreal had a catastrophic downfall.
Chara gets a Game Misconduct
As the period dwindled to the 19:44 mark, a scary moment happened. As Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty were skating for the puck against the boards, Zdeno Chara checked Pacioretty next to the center-ice glass and Pacioretty’s head smacked against the edge of the glass; Pacioretty was out cold on the ice. Doctors had to stretch Pacioretty out of the Bell Centre, and Montreal fans were livid with Chara. Chara would get a game misconduct and a five-minute interference major for the hit, so Chara was thrown out of the game. As the game was halted, the arena was filled with the chant “F*** you Chara.” The period was called to end with 16 seconds left, so the third would be 20:16 minutes long.
As the Bruins looked to bounce back from a 4-0 deficit entering the third period, the Bruins knew the Canadiens would hit hard due to the hit on Pacioretty. The period started, and Montreal was on a five-minute power play. The Bruins were doing a terrific job killing off the penalty, and with 37 seconds left on Montreal’s powerplay, Brad Marchand found himself on a breakaway but was tripped up by Roman Hamrlik. Marchand would have a chance to tie Frans Nielson in shorthanded goals if he could score on this chance.
If Marchand could score, he was also put Boston on the board. Carey Price would glove save Marchand’s shot, and Montreal was still up 4-0 with 15:52 left. As the period progressed, the Bruins finally had some great chances to get on the board, but they were still down 4-0. That was until 6:39 left in the third when Milan Lucic lasered a wrist-shot off the post and in. It was Lucic’s 29th goal of the season, and he finally put Boston on the board. As Boston desperately tried to get back into the game, Milan Lucic was called for roughing with 2:26 left, and this game was pretty much over. The Bruins killed off the penalty, and the game was shortly over.
On to Buffalo
Montreal would win 4-1, and this was a game anything but pretty for Boston. Even though the box-score showed Boston outshot Montreal 31-26, this was a repulsive game for Boston. The three stars of the game were Lars Eller, Mark Price, and Max Pacioretty. Boston looked to rebound from this ugly loss when they returned to TD Garden against the Buffalo Sabres on March 10th.