Hockey Night in Canada tried its hardest to make me feel sorry for the poor Bruins, missing injured players Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and other assorted rodents, how it just wasn't fair that they had to play so shorthanded, but if this is part of a karmic readjustment, they're not more than a couple of steps into their marathon. A lot more bad luck has to befall these cheapshot artists, unrepentant liars and cheaters, and muck dwellers before we have rectified this koyaanisqatsi.
The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead into the third period, after a first period powerplay goal by Andrei Markov, and a second period goal scored on a four-on-two break led by Brendan Gallagher and finished by Tomas Plekanec. Andrei Markov's goal was the 100th of his career, joining the members of the Big Three as the only defencemen to reach that total for the Canadiens.
Once the Canadiens had that lead, the refs set about equalizing the teams' opportunities, put their whistles away, and let the Bruins hack and slash to their black hearts' content. I thought of writing down every infraction, for posterity, but then elected to get some sleep instead of tackling that herculean task. The litany of infractions reels the mind.
David Desharnais in the offensive zone, skittering two steps ahead of Dennis Seidenberg in clear possession of the puck and curling in towards the net is taken down with a flagrant trip, under the indulgent nose of the refs.
A backchecking Milan Lucic takes a wicked slash at an onrushing Max Pacioretty.
Dougie Hamilton takes another two-hander at the back of Brendan Gallagher's leg, in the calf where there's no padding, because he's a big bad Bruin don't you know. Jim Hughson euphemizes that he "tapped at" him. He actually hit him so hard that he pushed Brendan's leg forward, and thus spun his entire body around, so that Brendan's stick flailed backward and hit Hamilton's arm. Jim Hughson was very concerned that poor Dougie seemed hurt on the play. What a shame if another Bruin was injured and sent to the infirmary he intoned, never mind that he was the author of his own misfortune?
The worst incident was when the Bruins were being washingtongeneraled in their own zone by the Tomas Plekanec line. Torey Krug, little old him, served up a buffet of slashes and crosschecks and interference, as well as an outrageous, spectacular trip of Alex Galchenyuk during which he lifted the Hab's skate up to his eye level with his stick. Not one whistle from the refs, until the players' shoving and crosschecking degenerated into a fight. At that point, both got offsetting five-minute majors for fighting. It was theatre of the absurd night in Boston, with Tim Peel as the deaf, dumb and blind monkey officiating.
The shot totals seem to indicate that the Bruins had the better game, but that's misleading. Whatever chances they had seemed to get snuffed out by Carey Price. Meanwhile, the Canadiens were outskating the Bruins all game and pressuring them with their speed. One notable sequence in the third period saw the Habs bottle up the Bruins in their own zone for more than two minutes, with Patrice Bergeron hampered by having broken his stick and reduced to trying to kick at pucks. He eventually took a penalty when in desperation he fell on a puck and closed his hand on it, something the refs reluctantly decided they couldn't pretend not to have seen.
Oh hum. Up next, the Rangers.