NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Boston
(Thursday, November 8th)
Final Score: Montreal 2, Boston 1
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Tomas Plekanec tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Montreal Canadiens to 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in a tight contest between two Original Six and Northeast Division rivals at TD Banknorth Garden.
The forward line of Plekanec, Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn produced both goals for Montreal, which has won two straight and three of its last four games overall. Kovalev notched his eighth goal while Carey Price made 28 saves in the win.
"The guys played well in front of me and I had a chance to see all the shots all night," said Price. "(Boston) plays a trapping system so I knew it would be a low-scoring game."
Marco Sturm scored the lone goal for the Bruins, who are winless in their last four games (0-2-2). Tim Thomas turned aside 30 shots in the losing effort. Boston will host Buffalo and Toronto on the remainder of this brief three-game homestand before the club faces these Canadiens again in Montreal on November 17.
The Canadiens scored the game's first goal with under three minutes remaining in the first period. Montreal blueliner Francis Bouillon knocked down a Boston dump-in attempt inside his own blue line and quickly made a sharp outlet pass to Kostitsyn in the neutral zone.
Kostitsyn picked up speed, crossed the blue line and streaked down the left- wing side before he centered the puck from the outer rim of the circle. Plekanec accepted the pass in the slot and sent a wrister toward the net. Thomas made a partial save, but the puck trickled under his pads before Kovalev tapped it over the goal line at 17:05.
The Plekanec-Kovalev-Kostitsyn trio struck again near the midpoint of the middle session for a two-goal advantage. A nice backhand pass by Kostitsyn from inside the right circle eluded the stick of Boston's Zdeno Chara and was perfectly placed in the low slot for Plekanec, whose deke move forced Thomas completely off balance and Plekanec slid home a backhander near the left post with 11:13 remaining.
"We skated well and moved the puck to get our chances," said Kovalev. "Our line was able to get to the puck when we needed to and score. We still could have done a better job in many areas, but it was a good win."
At the 14:12 mark of the second, the Bruins sliced their deficit in half on Sturm's sixth goal of the season. Amid a flurry of activity in their offensive zone, the Bruins were buzzing and it was only a matter of time before it paid off. Chuck Kobasew's wrist shot from the left slot caromed off of traffic in the goal mouth before Sturm's backhander from between the circles lit the lamp.
With 22 seconds remaining before the second intermission, Price made a brilliant save to keep the Habs ahead. Boston forward P.J. Axelsson was all alone down low and had a good look with a wrist shot from near the goal line to the left of the net. However, Price's paddle deflected the puck away.
Other than a scary moment for Boston defenseman Aaron Ward, the third period was mostly uneventful. The Bruins produced 10 shots on goal, but the frame was marked by a momentarily motionless Ward, who accidentally blindly collided with Bouillon on a shift change. At first the stretcher was called for and was carted onto the ice, but Ward eventually sat up on his own power and was helped off the ice by teammates.
"When he left, he said he had a headache," said Dennis Wideman, who helped Ward off the ice. Ward is considered day-to-day and will be evaluated on Friday.
This marked the fifth consecutive victory by Montreal over Boston dating back to last season...The teams combined to go scoreless on five power-play chances, four of which were awarded to Boston...This was the second time this season that the stretcher has been wheeled onto the ice in this arena. On October 27, Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones checked Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron head-first into the glass. Bergeron was taken off on the stretcher and has not returned to the ice as of yet. Jones received a two-game suspension...Attendance was 15,183.
11/09 01:18:19 ET