MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins suffered their third straight loss Thursday night, losing a tightly contested game to the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 at the Bell Centre. Boston never led in this game, but did pull to within one goal of their archrivals three times. If they had been able to win, they would’ve pulled into a tie with Montreal in the Northeast Division, but now trail by four points with the loss.
Thomas vs. Price: This game was a marquee goalie matchup, as early Vezina Trophy candidates Tim Thomas and Carey Price faced off for the second time this season. Price took the first showdown, making 34 saves in a 3-1 Habs win while Thomas made 38 in the losing effort. On Thursday it was Price (34 saves) again who got the better of Thomas with another win despite Thomas finishing with more saves (37). Thomas though had to face a penalty shot and was unable to stop Habs forward Mike Cammalleri on Montreal’s first goal of the game. Thomas recovered well, keeping his team in position to win, but suffered his first loss in regulation on the road.
Lucic channels his emotions into a goal: Milan Lucic wasn’t too happy with the referees following the Bruins’ 3-2 loss at Buffalo on Wednesday night. Lucic was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game after calling referee Dan O’Rourke a “joke” and then proceeded to blast O’Rourke after the game. On Thursday, he kept his frustrations in check and played the type of game he’s been playing for most of this season, scoring his team-leading 16th goal with 5:10 left in the game. Lucic also finished with a game-high seven hits.
Seguin returns from first scratch of career: Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin returned the lineup for the first time since the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Islanders a week ago. Seguin was a late scratch Saturday when the Bruins lost a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker to the Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Julien told the media that scratch was due to the flu, but Wednesday in Buffalo, Seguin was in the press box again as a healthy scratch. Seguin was a plus-1 with one assist in 10:42 on ice Thursday.
Bergeron loves coming back to home province: As a Nordiques fan growing up just outside Quebec City, Patrice Bergeron already had a built-in hatred for the Habs before even putting on a Bruins sweater, and that passion for this rivalry showed again Thursday night as the Bruins center assisted on Milan Lucic’s power play goal with 5:10 left. Bergeron played his trademark two-way game Thursday and seemed to be better in the offensive zone than he has recently with only two points in his past eleven games entering Thursday night’s game.
Lots of similarities between Habs and Bruins: Watching these two long-term rivals, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of similarities between them. Both Bruins coach Claude Julien and Habs coach Jacques Martin use defensive-minded and structured systems but both have the potential to be offensive, as well. The Bruins are definitely not as fast as the speedy Habs but they have just as much, if not more, creativity in players such as Tyler Seguin, David Krejci and Marc Savard. Both teams could also use a puck-moving defensemen to help their transition game, especially the Habs after losing Andrei Markov for the season. Finally, both teams have premiere goalies in Carey Price and Tim Thomas, who have stolen plenty of games for their respective clubs this season.
Rivalry brings out physical play from the not-so-usual suspects: There is just something about the Bruins-Habs rivalry that seems to cause players who aren’t physical to play physical. Example A on Thursday was the second-period bout between Bruins forward David Krejci and Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri, who are both known for their playmaking, not dropping the gloves. Krejci actually got a solid shot in early and bloodied Cammalleri before the Habs' alternate captain got Krejci with a few good shots and wrestled him to the ice. It was the first career fight for both players.
Bruins defensemen scoring ... for other team! While defensemen always love to help chip in on offense, the Bruins blue line might want at least two goals back from Thursday, as they inadvertently tipped in two Montreal goals. Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty shot the Habs’ third goal off Andrew Ference’s leg in front with 30 ticks left in the first period, and then at 16:54 of the middle frame, Habs captain Brian Gionta got a goal that tipped in off Bruins blueliner Dennis Seidenberg. Both Ference and Seidenberg can’t be completely blamed for the goals but their positioning can be questioned.
Marc Savard continuing to settle in: Marc Savard is still shaking off the rust but more and more he seems to be finding his stride and looking like the playmaker whom Bruins fans have grown to love. Savard scored his first goal of the season 6:54 into the second period on a beautiful tip-in off an Andrew Ference shot. Savard was right on the doorstop down low and his timing on the tip was perfect as he beat Carey Price for the Bruins’ second goal of the game. He now has a goal and assist through seven games.