By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue
The Boston Bruins demolished the Montreal Canadiens 9-4 at TD Garden on Saturday night. What started as a competitive game in the first two periods was anything but in the third. The Bruins scored four times in the final frame and ran away with it, highlighted by Danton Heinen’s first career NHL hat trick.
It was an absolute curb-stopping by the Bruins against their arch-rivals. Boston had 16 different players who recorded a point in the victory and six players who had more than one. Head coach Jim Montgomery touched on this in his post-game press conference. “I think it talks about the evolution of our team actually growing offensively. I don’t think we ever envisioned having a night like this; you know, over the course of an 82-game season, there are some outliers, but I thought we’ve been seeing this coming.”
The Bruins had the first sustained offensive zone time, generated by the Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and David Pastrnak line. Montreal then had their first-grade A chance, but Linus Ullmark was square to the shooter and smothered the puck. Boston was awarded the first power play of the night but couldn’t get things going, and it went by the boards.
Montreal then got their first power play and cashed in, with Cole Caufield putting home a rebound on the doorstep to make it 1-0. The Bruins answered with Brandon Carlo in his first game from injury. It was an impressive net drive from the defenseman, who joined the rush and tapped home a great feed from Trent Frederic to make it a 2-1 game. The Canadiens retook the lead on a two-on-one where Joel Armia tapped the puck by Ullmark for a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins had too many sloppy stretches, particularly in their own end. However, they would strike twice in the last two minutes of the period. First, Jake DeBrusk snuck one by Montembeault against the near post to tie the game 2-2. Then, with 54 seconds left, Danton Heinen gave the Black and Gold a 3-2 lead off a tip in front from a Matt Grzelcyk slap pass. The Bruins had the edge in shots on goal 12 to eight.
Boston opened the second period with a solid first shift, highlighted by a couple of hard checks by Morgan Geekie. Montreal capitalized again on the power play when Mike Matheson fired a wrister home from the point to tie the game 3-3. It wouldn’t be Montreal vs. Boston without a scrap; that is exactly what happened between Trent Frederic and Josh Anderson as they dropped the gloves. Anderson received an extra two for roughing as a result of the skirmish.
The Bruins didn’t convert on the man advantage, but they struck soon after. Heinen buried his second of the night going top shelf on Montembeault. The goal was set up by a great drop pass from Jesper Boqvist in the neutral zone, creating a two-on-one that gave the Bruins a 5-3 lead. The Canadiens got one back on a goal by Brendan Gallagher, who put in his own rebound off Ullmark’s pad, making the score 5-4. Boston had the shots on goal advantage again in the middle frame, 14 to seven.
Montreal still had just under a minute of power play time to start the third period, but the Bruins killed it off. They then responded when David Pastrnak drove down the right wing to the net. He was able to bank home his own rebound for his 30th goal of the season, giving Boston a 6-4 lead. Montgomery spoke about Pastrnak sticking to his game despite being targeted all night. “I’m glad he didn’t get frustrated. He’s one of those guys, as much as he can hit, he’d rather be putting the puck in the net.”
Brad Marchand then got in on the fun with his 20th goal of the season, which was set up by a great feed from Coyle. The Weymouth native talked about playing with Marchand and Pastrnak post-victory. “They’re world class plyers, so just try to create space and play my game, I’m not trying to overthink it, I’m just trying to play the way I know how.” That made it a 7-4. The Bruins kept applying offensive pressure, dictated by a strong fore-check. It helped generate another goal with Pavel Zacha getting on the score sheet set up on a sweet centering pass from DeBrusk behind the net. That made it an 8-4 game. It marked the 100th goal of Zacha’s career.
Danton Heinen completed his first career hat trick with a power play goal that made it 9-4 and the Bruins put Montreal in the rearview mirror. Heinen spoke about his hat trick after the win. “Felt good, hadn’t been going lately, so it was good to see it going and contribute. It’s a great group to be a part of.” It was an absolute clinic in the third period, and the Bruins had the shots on-goal advantage ten to seven.
Next, the Bruins will continue their five-game homestand and host the red-hot Winnipeg Jets. It will be a 7:00 puck drop on Monday night at TD Garden. The game will mark the second of two team meetings this season. Winnipeg won the first game 5-1.