Canadiens get to Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins again

Playing their third game in four nights, the Bruins were due for a letdown after posting six goals in three consecutive wins this past week. It figures that the Canadiens would be the opponent to make Boston (34-16-3) look so bad too since with Thursday’s 4-1 victory at TD Garden, Montreal (29-20-5) has now won five in a row vs. the Bruins. Even great teams have off-nights and that was the case for the B’s as Tuukka Rask was pulled (for the fourth time this season) after allowing three goals, including two soft ones.

For Bruins head coach Claude Julien, it boiled down to three simple elements to explain his squad’s poor performance.

“We didn’t skate well, didn’t execute or make good decisions,” Julien said. “We hope it was just a one-game thing, we know that goals don’t come that easy, so we want to bounce back on Saturday and move on.”

The most surprising part in the latest installment of the NHL’s best rivalry is that the home team had such a lack of emotion. Montreal won, 2-1, at the Bell Centre on Dec. 5 and it jumped ahead, 2-0, less than 15 minutes into this one on goals by Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty. Dougie Hamilton gave Boston some life with a goal a little over a minute after Pacioretty’s, but former BC star Brian Gionta scored on a power-play goal midway through the second to chase Rask.

“They were first on the puck and won more battles than we did,” Milan Lucic said of Montreal. “It’s unfortunate that we came out with that effort. We weren’t good enough from an emotional standpoint, it seemed like the fight wasn’t really there.”

Moments after coming in, goaltender Chad Johnson was faced with a breakaway by Daniel Briere. The underachieving Canadiens forward beat him upstairs for a 4-1 lead. Boston had two power plays after that to try and climb back in but they couldn’t mount any sort of comeback attempt. The good news for the B’s is that they have two more home games left on this four-game homestand: Saturday vs. lowly Edmonton (18-32-6) and Tuesday vs. Vancouver.

What they’ll be saying: There will be plenty of hand-wringing over the next 36 hours, but let’s not forget that this is only one game. If the Bruins come out on Saturday and also lay an egg against the terrible Oilers, then we’ll have something, otherwise, calm down. This was Boston’s first three-goal loss of the season at TD Garden. The only two worse games were their 6-1 loss at Detroit the night before Thanksgiving and a 6-2 loss in Vancouver on Dec. 14 (end of a 3-1 road trip).

This was further proof of why the Bruins want to avoid the Canadiens in the postseason. The Habs provide matchup issues for the Bruins for whatever reason (Montreal’s speed?). Even with the win, the Canadiens are eight points behind Boston and the Bruins have a game in hand.

Just like I expect the Bruins to play much better on Saturday, I assume that Rask will be himself again on Saturday. With the loss, he fell to 2-10-2 vs. Montreal in his career. Further proof of why Boston should hope to be done with the Canadiens after the last two regular season meetings – March 12 in Montreal and March 24 back at the Garden.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…