BOSTON -- After falling behind 3-2 after two periods, the Montreal Canadiens answered the Bruins' physicality in the third period by scoring two unanswered goals to snap Boston's six-game win streak and defeat the B's 4-3 on Sunday night at the TD Garden.
Max Pacioretty's wrister from the point tied the game at 3-3, five-and-a-half minutes into the third, and then David Desharnais made it 4-3 midway through the period by crashing the net and knocking home a loose puck out front, which ended up being the game-winner.
The Bruins held a spirited 3-2 lead after two periods. Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton scored the only two goals of the second period after falling behind 2-1 through the first 20 minutes.
After Bergeron and Hamilton gave Boston the lead, Milan Lucic and Brandon Prust dropped the gloves in the first fight of the night. Moments later, Zdeno Chara went out of his way to give Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin a beatdown, after Emelin hit Tyler Seguin with a low cross check at center ice in the final minutes of the second period.
Seguin went down in pain and angrily went right back to the dressing room. As that was happening, Chara purposely skated to the other side of the ice and went after Emelin, dropping the gloves and hitting him with punch after punch.
Chara was given an instigator penalty, a fighting major, and a 10-minute misconduct. Seguin returned to the game shortly after.
The first period didn't see as much fighting, but it did see three goals in a span of 1:06. Montreal scored two of those goals, midway through the first period. Tomas Plekanec put home a power-play goal to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead, then 50 scones later, Seguin finished a nice feed through the slot from Bergeron to tie the game at 1-1.
Desharnais put Montreal up 2-1, 16 seconds after that, as it appeared Pacioretty kicked in a Desharnais pass out front. But the review showed that it actually went off the stick of Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
GOLD STAR: Patrice Bergeron usually saves his ‘A’ game for the Montreal Canadiens and he did that again on Sunday night. He finished with three points and a plus-3, and set up Tyler Seguin’s first goal with a beautiful touch pass across the slot to a wide open shooter in the right circle. Then Seguin fed Bergeron for a scoring in front of the net when it took a second effort for the B’s two-way center to shovel it into the net. Bergeron also finished with 19:58 of ice time, won 13 of 19 face-offs and finished with four shots on net while centering the night’s most dominant forward line.
BLACK EYE: Alexei Emelin inducted himself into the Hall of Habs villains when he took it upon himself to cross-check Tyler Seguin in the ribs right in front of the Boston bench with less than five minutes to go in the second period. That little act of dirty hockey was followed by a beating from Zdeno Chara, but Emelin was rewarded when the Canadiens went on the power play. Somehow the refs missed a cross-check on Seguin with such force that it broke Emelin’s stick. Otherwise Emelin was his physical self with five registered hits and an assist, but it’s pretty easy to see why a fellow KHL player rearranged his face in Russia a few years ago – an event that means Emelin now needs a metal plate in his face to hold everything stable.
TURNING POINT: Zdeno Chara going to the penalty box for 17 minutes is never a good thing when a team is holding a slim one-goal lead, and predictably it turned into a one goal loss when the Habs potted two goals with the big defenseman in the sin bin. The game-winning was one that seemed particularly damning with the 6-foot-9 inch defensive stopper on the ice as Johnny Boychuk was instead paired with Andrew Ference, and Montreal took advantage with a scramble in front of the net that led to David Desharnais’ game-winner.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Desharnais was pesky and all around the net while getting involved with many of the plays that allowed Montreal to win. He scored the game-winning goal and potted two goals total in the game, and was screening in front on Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal in the third period. The Montreal forward finished with a plus-3 for the game, and maximized his effectiveness in 15:56 of ice time throughout the game. It’s not a surprise that Desharnais and Patrice Bergeron are pals back in Quebec because he plays the game with the same kind of spirit and tenacity as No. 37 does for the Bruins.
BY THE NUMBER: 100 – the number of power plays for the Montreal Canadiens this season in 22 games. The Bruins have only 61 power plays in 19 games this season. That’s quite a difference even with the games in hand factored into things.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The main thing was I saw Tyler hurt. We have to protect each other. I'll do it for anybody, but in the situation it was natural to react. He’s one of our best players. We really are brothers over here. We play for each other. We protect each other. That's the unity we always talk about.” –Zdeno Chara explaining why he went straight for Alexei Emelin and dropped the hammer after the Montreal defenseman broke his stick cross-checking Tyler Seguin in the ribs.
Game story written by Danny Picard.