I need a cigarette after this convincing win by the Canadiens against the Bruins, even though I don't smoke. It feels this good to beat them, those dirty cheating thugs. The Canadiens didn't make it easy, they seemed to ease off after getting two-goal leads. We'd put our foot on their neck, but wouldn't manage to finish them off.
We played with fire, made it more interesting than it needed to be at the end with the two penalties to Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, putting us in a 6-on-3 penalty kill to close out the game.
I started watching the game on Sportsnet, had that loaded up on the PVR, but could barely get through the first period, with Bob Cole meandering from a blown call to an unidentified player to generalities intended to hide the fact that he’s not able to keep up anymore.
“Oh, and the puck now, … , cleared, … , out of the zone, … , the Canadiens, … , chasing after it, … , but the Bruins corral it, … , … , … ”
I checked and saw that the first intermission was under way as I tried to catch up on the PVR’ed game, so I stopped recording the Sportsnet Bob Cole ‘Road to Nowhere’, and cued up the TVA version instead. Félix Séguin and Patrick Lalime don’t hold a candle to Pierre Houde and Marc Denis, but I am reasonably sure they’re better than suffering through Bob Cole, the voice of the Leafs in the Seventies and Eighties.
The team speed that is supposed to be a hallmark of this team is paying off, with Paul Byron scoring on a shorthanded breakaway, and Phillip Danault getting one on a clean two-on-one break with Alex Radulov and putting a shot right under the crossbar on Anton Khudobin.
We saw Zdeno Chara get discombobulated and overwhelmed by Canadiens forwards, saw him flail and be useless, and take a stick in his big ugly snoot, which is a boon for humanity really.
And again, when they put him in front of the net as a screen on the powerplay, instead of playing the blue line, it invalidates any claim he may have had on a Norris Trophy. If he was any good on the blue line, that's where he'd be.
The rest of the orcs tried to thump their way to a win early in the game, but we saw that their heart wasn't really in it. They're not the Big Bad Bruins anymore.
Nathan Beaulieu made some errors tonight, none bigger than right at the end of the game, when he got possession of the puck in the neutral zone, in an empty-net situation for the Bruins, and tried to fire a puck in the cage to put them away. Dumb, dumb play. There was a Bruins forechecker right on him and therefore a high likelihood that the shot would be blocked.
And that's what happened, the Bruins went the other way with the puck on an odd-man rush and forced Shea Weber to take a hooking penalty on a speeding Brad Marchand. During the penalty kill, Jeff Petry swatted at a loose puck, and it landed in the stands, and landed him in the penalty box.
So yeah, two players down, against the Bruins with an extra man on, all because Nate made an unwise, dare I say individualistic play. He tried to win the game by himself, instead of playing situational hockey. He had lots of time and room so he could have, instead of attempting a foolhardy shot, retreated, played keepaway, passed the puck back and forth, probed for an opening to eventually get an empty-net game-clinching goal. Up two goals, with the puck in his possession, there was no need to fire the puck at the net, there was no need to chance a blocked shot. He should have tried to drain the clock instead.
The Canadiens turned things around in the faceoff circle, winning 57% of their draws. Torrey Mitchell and David Desharnais led the way with 78% each. Alex Galchenyuk struggled again though, with a mere 33% win percentage.
They also outshot their opponent, 29-21.
Paul Byron can change the tenor of that YouTube video of all his breakaways, and we hope that he does, by scoring regularly. His shorthanded goal was a beauty, he didn't seem cement-handed or snake-bitten on that effort.
So we're sitting pretty at the top of the league standings, with the best goal differential. The boys must be doing something right.