For the second time in four games the Bruins blew a two-goal lead, but this time they did it in the worst of places against the most-hated of teams.
The Montreal Canadiens scored 1:34 apart in the final 2:30 of the third period to tie the score and then won it in the extra session on a Max Pacioretty goal with 1:17 left in overtime.
The Bruins and Canadiens are now tied for first place in the Northeast Division with 49 points apiece. Boston is still ahead by virtue of its two games in hand, but Montreal has two more wins.
Scott Gomez scored a lucky goal, on a shot that was barely an inch off the ice and deflected by Zdeno Chara’s skate, with 2:22 remaining to cut the Bruins’ lead in half. However, Michael Ryder’s lazy tripping penalty on the forecheck allowed the Habs to get their momentum going when down 2-0 and seemingly ready to leave without any standings points.
Then Chara iced the puck with 1:06 left while attempting to bury an empty-net goal from along the wall in the defensive zone even with the faceoff dot. Inexplicably, the Bruins had their fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton on the ice protecting the one-goal lead and Campbell lost the draw. The Habs moved the puck around and tied the game with 47.7 seconds left. Patrice Bergeron’s line had just finished up a shift, but head coach Claude Julien could have called upon David Krejci’s trio (possibly with a more defense-minded substitute for Tyler Seguin).
In overtime, Boston survived (barely) a 4-on-3 power play caused by a Wheeler lazy stick foul behind the Montreal net. But then Pacioretty finished them off at even strength after the Bruins’ shot to win the game ended with Marc Savard’s pass to Ryder on a 2-on-2 being broken up by Benoit Pouliot.
Here’s a glance at the box score:
•Tim Thomas was brilliant until the closing minutes and finished the night with 39 saves.
•The slumping Boston power play was 0-for-3, which means the Bruins now have no man-advantage goals in five straight games (0-for-13).
•Tonight was a perfect example of how the Bruins’ three-center monster can be tough to match up against. The Habs, without defensive stud Josh Gorges, decided to match up their bulky pair of blueliners — Hal Gill and P.K. Subban — against Savard’s line with Ryder and Milan Lucic. Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi took advantage of the match-up with Alexander Picard and James Wisniewski by scoring twice, both off the stick of Bergeron.
•Wisniewski got his revenge with an assist on the tying goal and two penalties drawn down the stretch.
•The bottom line is, the Bruins with their 2-0 lead stopped skating in the third period. They were outshot, 18-8, and outworked in all three zones. Thomas was the only reason the game wasn’t tied up sooner than it was. In a season of disappointing, this was probably the worst so far.