Bruins can't take advantage of early gift

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Bruins can't take advantage of early gift

BOSTON -- The Bruins caught an early break on Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens. They thought it would lead to a win at home.

Instead, that early break was followed up with a major breakdown midway through the third period, resulting in a 2-1 Montreal win.

The B's had gone six straight games without scoring the first goal. They went 2-4 during that span. The last time Boston put the first puck in the net was back on Oct. 8 -- the second game of the regular season -- in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. It marked their first win of the year.

Thursday night marked the Bruins' sixth loss of the season. They couldn't take advantage of the good fortune they received on the first goal of the game.

"We were definitely hoping," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "When you get breaks like that, you want to find a way to build off it, and build some momentum. But after that, he seemed to tighten up and make some big saves."

That early break came in the form of what soccer fans would call an "own goal" off the stick of Canadiens center man Tomas Plekanec.

Plekanec won a face off in his own zone a little too cleanly, apparently, as his draw back to Montreal goaltender Carey Price went under the 'tender's stick, off the inside of his right skate, and into the net, for a 1-0 Bruins lead with 5:55 left in the first period.

"I just Bill Buckner'd it," said Price after the game. "Just a mental lapse. I just went to go play the puck, and I didn't let go of my stick, and it was in the back of the net."

Bergeron was credited with his second goal of the season, but that would be all Boston would get on this night.

"A few times this year, we've started out games behind, so when you can get a bounce like that and get out ahead, you're hoping it can be something that cascades into something else," said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. "But it didn't happen."

Thursday night started with an early break. It ended with a late breakdown, which ultimately cost the Bruins the game.

Midway through the third period, the luck didn't go Boston's way, as defenseman Adam McQuaid's attempted breakout pass through the neutral zone didn't go as planned, and it ended up on the stick of the Canadiens.

Following the neutral-zone turnover, Plekanec turned and took the puck down the right wing and into the Bruins' zone.

With McQuaid in his face, Plekanec took an initial shot that got past the B's defenseman and was saved by Thomas. Plekanec then skated right by McQuaid, and put home his own rebound on a quick snap shot.

"He took the shot from 10 feet away, he's a goal scorer," said Thomas.

"I was looking to try and hit Bergy up the middle there," said McQuaid. "I passed it a little too far in front of him, and they made a quick transition. So a bad pass on my part."

McQuaid had missed the previous four games with a headneck injury. And while it would be easy to point the finger at that late mishap, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn't about to throw any one player under the bus.

"It's his first game back," said Julien. "The way we're playing right now, it's too easy to jump on guys. And I'm not going to do that."

Perhaps the only thing that went right for the Bruins on Thursday night was the goal credited to Bergeron in the first period.

"We got the start that we wanted," he said afterwards.

They just didn't get the finish they were hoping for.

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.