Boston, MA – The Montreal Canadiens rolled into TD Garden on Wednesday for a matchup with their Atlantic Division rival Boston Bruins and stunk up the joint in a 5-1 thrashing in front of 17,850. The last-place Canadiens haven’t played a game since January 1 due to COVID-19 protocols in Canada. In that stretch, the Bruins have gone 5-1 while outscoring opponents 28-15. Tonight was no different.
The Bruins controlled the game from the opening puck drop until the final buzzer sounded.
Brad Marchand opened the scoring at 14:43 when he banged in a pass from Tomas Nosek at the side of the Canadiens goal. Curtis Lazar’s forecheck led to the Bruins goal as he tracked down a Montreal defenseman leading to a turnover. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen (five saves) appeared to be injured on the play but remained in the game for the time being.
Just fifteen seconds later, Marchand struck again. He deposited a Craig Smith rebound through Allen’s legs to make it 2-0. Smith’s shot was deflected and took a funny bounce back out front. Both Marchand and Bergeron swiped at the puck, but Marchand’s blade got to it first. It was the third game in a row with multiple goals for Marchand. Smith and Bergeron assisted on Marchand’s 18th goal.
Allen ultimately left the game during a tv timeout after the second goal. Sam Montembeault (31 saves) came on in relief, but it would be more of the same between the pipes.
Lazar was rewarded for his hustle when a Jake DeBrusk shot from the blue line redirected off his skate and past Montembeault to make it 3-0 Bruins at 17:10. The goal was Lazar’s fourth of the year.
“I feel healthy and rested,” said Lazar of his recent play. “I think the break did wonders for me health-wise. I am getting my energy, getting my legs. I see the game differently out there. I see the plays. I’m being strong on the puck. It’s nice to get rewarded for those chances.”
The Bruins started the second period with back-to-back penalty kills, but that didn’t stop Marchand from notching his fifth career hat-trick when he deflected in a rebound past Montembeault at 7:10. Marchand kicked off the play in the defensive zone when he chipped the puck past Joel Armia to Bergeron. Bergeron lead the charge on a three-on-two with John Moore and Marchand. Moore fired off a shot that Montembeault couldn’t hold on to, and Marchand bumped the rebound past him to make it 4-0. Marchand’s 32nd career shorthanded goal is the most among active players.
After the hats rained down on the Garden ice, Marchand scooped up a bedazzled purple cowboy hat as a souvenir.
“That hat speaks for itself,” said Marchand. “That just has sexy written all over it.”
Michael Pezzetta pulled one back for the visiting Canadiens at 10:46 when he gathered a rebound in front of Ullmark and fired off a shot past the Swede to make it 4-1 Bruins. The goal was Pezzetta’s second of the year.
The Canadiens had some pressure during the final minutes of the period. Their best chance came when Laurent Dauphin beat Ullmark with a slap shot that clanged off the far post while the Canadiens were on the penalty kill.
The third period had the usual Canadiens vs. Bruins shenanigans as the penalties increased even further. After six penalties between the two teams in the second period, the third had eleven.
The lone goal came at 10:19 when Urho Vaakanainen’s shot from the blue line grazed Lazar’s leg and over Montembeault’s shoulder and into the net. The goal was initially announced as Vaakanainen’s first NHL goal but was changed to Lazar’s second goal of the game and third in his last five games.
“It’s tough to score five goals a night in this league. Nobody does,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said when asked about the team’s recent scoring pace. “But we shouldn’t be around two, either.”
On Thursday, the Canadiens travel to Chicago for an 8:30 pm game against the Blackhawks. The Bruins will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at 7:00 pm.