Even the threat of a blizzard was not enough to keep fans away from the TD Garden to watch the Boston Bruins face the Montreal Canadiens for the final time in 2016-17. The home crowd would not be disappointed, as the matchup had a playoff feel, beautiful goals and a few fights that made for a great hockey game.
Before the puck dropped on the Bruins and Canadiens, the TD Garden crowd was thunderous. The fans would only get louder as Andrew Shaw and Torey Krug continued their personal rivalry by dropping the gloves in the opening minute and setting the tone for the rest of the period.
After the fight, both teams came out strong as the action went end to end and was fast-paced. In the opening five minutes, the Canadiens were able to control the neutral zone, which enabled them to control much of the offensive flow early. Eventually, the Bruins were able to get into a rhythm of their own, and both clubs swapped scoring chances, but the goaltenders were able to keep the game scoreless.
With 11:03 remaining in the frame, the Bruins were able to break the scoreless tie on a goal by Adam McQuaid. McQuaid was able to net the goal after a faceoff win by David Krejci allowed Peter Cehlarik the chance to get the puck and find McQuaid streaking down from the blue line to beat goaltender Carey Price. The goal was McQuaid’s second of the year, and Cehlarik’s assist was his first career NHL point.
After the goal by McQuaid, all the momentum shifted towards the Canadiens as the Bruins would only register one more shot on goal in the final nine minutes of the frame.
The Canadiens received a prime opportunity to tie the game when the Bruins committed two penalties in a short period to give the Canadiens a five-on-three power play for 1:37. The Canadiens looked for Shea Weber at the point for much of their power play, but the Bruins were able to take away the passing lane and kill off the penalties.
The Bruins headed to the locker room with a 1-0 advantage despite being outshot 11-9.
The second frame belonged to the Bruins. From the drop of the puck, the home club was able to apply a lot of pressure on the visitors, making it tough for the Canadiens to generate any momentum.
The action kicked off with a few early penalties resulting in some four-on-four play. During the four-on-four, Bruins forward Ryan Spooner created a turnover on the Canadiens’ blue line and found himself all alone with Price, but Price was able to make a big save.
Shortly after Spooner’s chance, the Bruins found themselves shorthanded but were able to extend their lead to two despite being a man short. The goal occurred after Spooner found Zdeno Chara skating in from the point and Chara was able to weave through the Canadiens’ defense and beat Price on the glove side.
With just under five minutes remaining in the frame, the Bruins struck again with a power-play goal by David Krejci. Krejci was able to score after David Backes found him on the back post, giving Krejci a wide-open net for the goal. Krejci’s 14th tally of the year gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
To start the period, the Canadiens killed off a big penalty to keep their chances of a comeback alive. The penalty kill gave the visitors a confidence boost, as they started to generate some offensive zone time and chances. The boost would not last long, though, as the Bruins got back on the board after a few solid shifts from the Canadiens.
Five minutes into the period, David Pastrnak set up Krejci for a shot from the top of the circles. Krejci’s shot missed the net, but the puck bounced off the boards right to Frank Vatrano, who had a wide open net and didn’t miss. Vatrano’s goal extended the lead to four with 15 minutes remaining in the period.
After the goal, the Canadiens were not able to find their offensive rhythm again and did not challenge Rask for much the rest of the game. Rask was able to complete the 25-save shutout and lead the Bruins to a 4-0 victory over their Original Six rival.
BOS – Adam McQuaid (2) assisted by Peter Cehlarik (1) and Torey Krug (31)
BOS – Zdeno Chara (5) (SH) assisted by Ryan Spooner (21) and Brad Marchand (34)
BOS – David Krejci (14) (PP) assisted by David Backes (14) and Peter Cehlarik (2)
BOS – Frank Vatrano (8) assisted by David Krejci (25) and David Pastrnak (23)
THW THREE STARS (H2)
First: David Krejci (one goal and one assist)
Second: Peter Cehlarik (two assists and first career NHL points)
Third: Tuukka Rask (25-save shutout)
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Broadcast Channels-NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Bruins Lead 1-0
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Broadcast Channels-CBC, SN, TVAS
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Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.