Regular-season success against Montreal has been elusive for the Bruins lately.
After finishing with a 1-3-2 record against the Canadiens last season, Boston was just 2-3-1 this season.
While the Bruins’ 7-0 victory in the last regular-season meeting between the longtime rivals might’ve left the most lasting impression, there’s no doubt the Habs handled the Bruins pretty well in 2010-11.
Milan Lucic led all Bruins scorers against the Habs with 4-5-9 totals to go along with a plus-9 rating. For his career in the regular season, Lucic now has eight goals and six assists in 23 games against Montreal.
After Lucic, three Bruins – Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton and David Krejci – totaled seven points against the Habs. Probable Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Tim Thomas was just 2-1-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average and .907 save percentage (well below his season totals) against Montreal.
At the other side of the rink, Carey Price’s numbers took a beating from the Bruins’ 7-0 and 8-6 wins. He finished with a 3.46 GAA and .899 save percentage against Boston. Brian Gionta was Montreal’s leading scorer with 5-1-6 totals (he had an even rating), while Max Pacioretty (4-2-6) and Scott Gomez (2-3-5) also had some scoring success vs. the Bruins.
Here’s a game-by-game look at the entire season series between the Bruins and Habs:
Nov. 11 at Boston
Canadiens 3, Bruins 1
One night after their five-goal, third-period outburst rallied them past Pittsburgh on the road, the Bruins returned home and ran out of gas. Sparked by P.K. Subban’s first NHL goal, the Canadiens got out to an early lead. Zdeno Chara answered later in the first period. Just 29 seconds into the third period, Gionta cashed in on a power play to give the Habs the lead for good. Gomez added an insurance goal during a last period that featured Montreal outshooting Boston, 15-9. Tuukka Rask finished with 38 saves for the Bruins.
Dec. 16 at Montreal
Canadiens 4, Bruins 3
Having dropped their previous two games in one-goal decisions to Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia and Buffalo, the Bruins didn’t respond well to landing in Montreal and suffered their third straight loss. Montreal grabbed a 3-1 lead over a sluggish Boston team in the first period. Marc Savard’s first goal of the season woke up the Bruins a bit in the second, but they went to the third down, 4-2. Lucic’s third-period goal was too little too late. The physicality level was raised in this one, as Subban leveled Brad Marchand with one of the best open-ice checks of the season by anyone, and a second-period fight between David Krejci and Michael Cammalleri foreshadowed things to come in this season series.
Jan. 8 at Montreal
Canadiens 3, Bruins 2
This was one of the Bruins’ worst defeats of the year and it’s the game that turned up the venom between the two modern incarnations of the Bruins and Habs at least a notch or two on the dial. The Bruins looked like they had bounced back well from their sleepy 3-1 loss to Minnesota two nights earlier, as they went up 2-0 on two second-period goals by Patrice Bergeron.
When Scott Gomez scored off of Chara’s skate with 2:22 left in regulation on a power play provided by an ill-timed tripping call against Michael Ryder, it looked like the only thing lost was going to be Thomas’ shutout – despite Montreal outplaying the Bruins for most of the last stanza. And then with just 48 seconds left and Price on the bench for the extra attacker, Gionta knotted things up. The Bruins failed to fire a shot on goal in overtime before the Habs’ fifth shot – off the stick of Pacioretty – beat Thomas to end the game.
After scoring, Pacioretty crossed paths with Chara and an exchange of shoves ended with a brief scrum before the teams hit the dressing room.
February 9 at Boston
Bruins 8, Canadiens 6
While the score reads like a result from the ‘80s, the extracurricular activity on the ice looked like a game out of the ‘70s. When the dust settled, Lucic and Ryder had scored two goals apiece, Horton had a five-point (one-goal) game and the teams combined for 182 penalty minutes.
There were 12 fighting majors, including the overrated, short-lived bout between Price and Thomas. Brad Marchand’s late hit on James Wisniewski after an icing set off one melee. Ben Pouliot hammered the heck out of Krejci in one bout after the Bruins center incited a fight, while one late-game bout featured Gregory Campbell bloodying Tom Pyatt with a loose elbow pad. Mayhem reigned supreme, but things would only get worse before getting better.
March 8 at Montreal
Canadiens 4, Bruins 1
The Bruins and Habs wish this game could be known as just a night that featured Lars Eller scoring two goals and the Bruins producing one of their worst 60-minute outings of the season. Instead, it will always be known as the night Chara’s check planted Pacioretty into the stanchion between the benches – inciting not just a call for a suspension for the Bruins’ captain, but suggestions by Air Canada it might want to rethink its sponsorship of the NHL and, of course, calls to 911.Those calls have resulted in a criminal investigation of Chara, who famously wasn’t punished for what the NHL deemed a “hockey play.”
Pacioretty suffered a fractured vertebrae and severe concussion. A shaken Habs team did the best it could to get through the third period with the victory, but Lucic still didn’t let things lie as he tried to challenge Pouliot to a fight in the closing seconds.
March 24 at Boston
Bruins 7, Canadiens 0
Despite all the rhetoric in the aftermath of the Chara/Pacioretty incident and Mark Recchi’s comments about Montreal potentially exaggerating the extent of Pacioretty’s injuries throwing fuel on the fire, there was just one first in this Boston rout – between Paul Mara and Campbell. Johnny Boychuk’s goal just 61 seconds into the game got Boston off and running and the Bruins won their second straight at home after a disappointing road trip. Campbell and Horton scored two goals apiece and Price was yanked in favor of back-up Alex Auld in the third after surrendering five goals on 33 shots.
There you have it, the 2010-11 six-part miniseries between the Bruins and Habs in a nutshell. Chapters seven through 10, at least, are on the way coming up later this week.