MONTREAL -- At least it wasn't another third-period collapse for the Bruins against their hated rivals, but it wasn't pretty. The Bruins couldn't overcome a flat start and 2-0 deficit, falling three points behind the Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast Division with a 2-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Michael Ryder's second-period, power-play goal proved to be the difference. The Bruins just couldn't get going early, and they failed to score late on their sole power play of the game, which came with 57 seconds left in regulation. Alex Galchenyuk netted the first Montreal goal. Daniel Paille was credited with the Bruins' lone goal, tipping in a blast from Johnny Boychuk, who got the assist. Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for the Bruins, and Carey Price made 26 for Montreal.
Bad start again for Bruins: If the Bruins are to ever play to their full potential -- and there isn't much left of this regular season -- they need to find a way to have better starts and set the tone. It sounds like a broken record, but the Bruins' system is broken right now. Patrice Bergeron was out for the second straight game and there is no denying he is missed, but sluggish starts are nothing new. After being outshot 17-6 in the first period of Thursday's win, the Bruins were outshot 10-5 in the first Saturday. They trailed only 1-0 at that point, before the Habs made it 2-0 on a power-play goal by Ryder 57 ticks into the second period. None of those first-period shots by the Bruins came from a forward. It's time for the Bruins to set the tone and dictate a game from the opening faceoff.
Defense not helping Rask: The Bruins cost themselves on both goals. Galchenyuk's first-period goal went off Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, and Ryder's goal deflected off Dennis Seidenberg. One could argue that Rask was a bit out of position on the Galchenyuk goal and that Bartkowski was trying to compensate for it, but other than that, Rask's game was flawless as he kept the Bruins in the contest. Meanwhile the defense continued to scramble around and lack cohesiveness in the Bruins' own end. They also can't seem to make clean breakouts from their zone, and hence the offense struggles.
Bergeron's absence forces Julien to move Seguin back to wing: No NHL player can replace two-way standout Patrice Bergeron, but Tyler Seguin does not look ready for the role, despite making strides in his defensive game this season. Coach Claude Julien switched him back to wing, altering the rest of the lines as a result. At the game-day skate, Julien had the same forward lines skating that he had in the 1-0 win over the Devils on Thursday: David Krejci centering Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Seguin centering Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr, Rich Peverley centering Jay Pandolfo and Kaspars Daugavins, and Gregory Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. But apparently Julien grew tired of the Seguin-at-center experiment. Halfway through the first period and for most of the game, Julien put Seguin back on the wing and had Peverley centering him and Marchand. That meant Jagr was skating on the wing with Campbell at center and Paille on the left wing. It also meant Thornton, Daugavins and Pandolfo saw limited ice time. The line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton remained intact.
Redden watches from above; Kelly day to day: Newly acquired Wade Redden watched from above at the Bell Centre as a healthy scratch despite practicing Friday and skating Saturday with his new team. The other healthy scratches were Jordan Caron and Aaron Johnson. Chris Kelly traveled with the Bruins after suffering a broken left tibia March 11 but missed his 14th straight game.