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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…