RECAP | Canadiens – Bruins: B’s Stick it to the Habs

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

Ilya Kovalchuk  – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia

Jonathan Drouin – Max Domi – Artturi Lehkonen

Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Jake Evans

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Victor Mete

Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry

Marco Scandella – Xavier Ouellet

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren

Scratches

Jordan Weal, Dale Weise, Christian Folin

Injuries

Paul Byron, Shea Weber

Game Report

This was a tough loss for Canadiens fans. For many, the fact that the Canadiens are on track to miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years was becoming a reality. The loss was more gut wrenching as it came against the Habs most hated rival.

The Bruins are currently the top team in the NHL. They are well-coached, play a tight, structured game and have the most prolific goal scorer in the league. For good measure, the Bruins have a group of thugs who enjoy pummeling their opponents, particularly the ones wearing the sweaters with the CH crest.

And they do so seemingly without consequences or retribution.

Ask Brendan Gallagher. Zdeno Chara cross-checked Gallagher in the throat just over five minutes into the second period. The officials saw fit to give both players minor penalties.

In the opening frame, Brad Marchand and Jeff Petry exchanged a few slashes after Marchand had received a heavy hit into the boards. The interaction ended with Marchand delivering a spear to Petry’s midsection before the two rolled to the ice.

An extra minor was assessed to Marchand but the spear went unpunished.

The Canadiens foundation is built on two players. Carey Price did everything in his power, keeping his team close with a superb game. But, on this night the Habs missed their captain. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that Chris Nilan was referring to Shea Weber.

Gallagher has the heart but not the size and respect that Weber wields. And Petry is a very good second-pairing defenceman, but he struggles when bumped up to a top-pairing role. Weber’s presence in the lineup makes Petry a better defenceman.

Without their captain, and facing the number one team in the NHL, the Habs wilted. Via turnovers, Petry assisted on two of Pastrnak’s goals, Jonathan Drouin on the other.  

The Canadiens are the 20th place team in the league and they looked like it on this night. It is a poorly assembled roster filled with holes. A total failure to address the team’s needs last summer is coming back to haunt Marc Bergevin. 

The general manager has 11 days to put himself in a better position by the time free agency comes around again. And he would be wise not to wait until February 24th to begin.

The Canadiens will next play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Plus / Minus

▲  Carey Price, Artturi Lehkonen

▼ Jeff Petry, Jonathan Drouin, Ben Chiarot, Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Victor Mete, Marco Scandella, Nate Thompson, Xavier Ouellet, Brett Kulak