The blood between the Bruins and Canadiens runs bad. That was why the position that some of the Canadiens found themselves in Saturday night was so odd. They were, strange to say, actually rooting for their rivals. They wanted them to win their 12th straight.
“We were checking the score the other night against Phoenix, Phoenix is up going into the third period. We were kind of hoping Boston would come back to win so we would get the chance to knock them off,” the Canadiens’ Dale Wiese said.
“Boston-Montreal is a big rivalry, and for us this is a potential playoff matchup down the road, so we want to put a little doubt in their mind that we’re a hard team to play against.”
And that was exactly what they did, knocking off the Bruins in a shootout to end their winning streak at 12 games Monday night at the TD Garden. The two points for Montreal came courtesy of a fourth-round shootout goal by Alex Galchenyuk, but the anger came courtesy of plays by both sides.
It’s safe to say Saturday was the last time the Canadiens will be hoping for a Bruins win for quite a while.
“I think we outplayed them tonight by far,” the Bruins’ Brad Marchand said. “It was definitely disappointing to see it end in a shootout like that, have our streak ended. I don’t think we deserve that outcome. But on the other side of it, we’ve won games we probably shouldn’t have. That’s hockey.”
It was an end to a streak that stood as the third-longest in Bruins history, the longest since a 13-game streak in 1971. But it wasn’t a game that was going to bother the Bruins too much, at least not in terms of the final outcome.
“We played hard. We kept with it, and we kept ourselves in the game, and again managed to tie it,” coach Claude Julien said. “You can’t win 12 in a row and lose one in a shootout and say I’m really disappointed in my team. I don’t think so. I think our team is OK.”
What bothered the Bruins more was the tendency to lose their heads at times, letting emotion (and the Canadiens) get the better of them, although that wasn’t the reason they lost. But, still, it left Julien admonishing his team between the first and second periods, and again between the second and third.
“We were a little undisciplined,” Marchand said. “We took some penalties we probably shouldn’t have and got a little emotional. After we stayed out of the box, I think we played much better hockey. We had a lot of opportunities, some really good ones that their goalie made good saves on.
“It’s an emotional game any time we play them. They know that, and they poke at us a bit, try to get us to take penalties and push them back. It worked a little bit tonight, so we’ve got to make sure we have a little more discipline next time.”
The Bruins were able, in fact, to come back in the third period, a hallmark of a team that has dominated other clubs in the final period. Though the first three periods their power play had betrayed them, they finally came through on their sixth chance of the night and fourth chance of the third period.
It had looked as if that opportunity was going to end without a goal, too, as the seconds ticked down. But Dougie Hamilton put the puck on net and, with just three seconds left on the man advantage, Patrice Bergeron redirected it past Peter Budaj, who played a fantastic game in net. The score was tied with 5:26 left.
That led to the shootout, and the lackluster end to the run of wins that had dated to March 2.
The bad feelings between the teams were certainly evident by the end of a spirited first period that featured a big-time bout between Kevan Miller and Travis Moen, a goal by Alexei Emelin, and enough bad blood to convince the most skeptical observer that this wasn’t just “a different sweater,” as Julien had said before the game.
Weise took the hit that started the fight, a cross-check from Miller that resulted in Moen dropping the gloves with the defenseman. The fight, which included two knockdowns by Miller, left Moen being helped off the ice, clearly woozy, at 4:50 of the first.
Neither Weise nor Moen returned to the game.
“To be honest with you about the hit, I felt bad about it,” Miller said. “I just kind of bumped into him. I think he was a little off-balance. I stood there just trying to make sure he was OK for a second and Moen asked if I wanted to go. I just hope they’re both OK.”
With the Canadiens on the power play, Emelin let loose a shot from just inside the blue line. The puck hit the blade of Chris Kelly’s stick, changed direction, and made it past Tuukka Rask at 6:39.
That was all, at least in regulation and overtime. Two goals, one on each side. Twelve power plays, six on each side. And enough resentment to last well into the playoffs, should the teams happen to meet again this season.