For the Boston Bruins, playing the Montreal Canadiens is like playing with a double-edged sword. The Bruins are considerably stronger and more physical than the Habs. That's an advantage sometimes, a disadvantage at others. "It's one of those teams you want to hit," Brad Marchand remarked after the game. And this thirst for hitting can sometimes cause some Bruins to lose their cool and commit stupid penalties.
Such stupidity is exacerbated by inconsistent officials, like the ones who called the game Monday night. How does Thomas Vanek play with a broken stick and not get penalized?
I won't blame the refs for this loss, though. They eventually called plenty of penalties on Montreal. The Bruins only capitalized on one power play. And they failed to convert many other 5-on-5 opportunities. Give credit to Peter Budaj for a great game. The Bruins also didn't seem to receive passes very well. The closer the B's got to Montreal's net, the more jittery they seemed.
The Bruins also played into Montreal's game. When Milan Lucic gets hip-checked at the start of the game, Zdeno Chara can't go over and take a penalty just to send a message. ESPECIALLY Chara, your most important penalty killer.
The Bruins are a better 5-on-5 team than Montreal. Therefore the B's should do what they can to keep it 5-on-5.
I hate PK Subban. He is more of a late 1990s WWF heel than a 2014 NHL defenseman. His manager is Mr. Fuji, or Jim Cornette. The Undertaker challenged him to a casket match and he chickened out.
Subban would be a great hockey player if he'd just play hockey. The problem is, he can't help being himself. It's natural for him to act the way he acts with the Canadiens. His comfort zone is how he's played in Montreal for years. I hate when Boston media pundits say "You'd love to have him on your team." I would, ONLY under the condition that he just played hockey. It's one thing to be pesky, it's another thing to be a flopper who only picks on guys smaller than he is. If he continued to be the turd that he's been in Montreal, I wouldn't want him polluting the game with his WWE antics while wearing my team's colors.
In case you can't tell, I get emotional about games against the Canadiens.
That's what rivalry is all about. I love it.
This game has generated some interesting goaltending questions for both teams. If the Bruins and Habs meet in the playoffs, does Carey Price start in net for Montreal?
And for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask's record against the Canadiens remains something to worry about. He seemed to play more aggressively in this game than he normally does, venturing out of the crease more often, and moving further out than usual.
Lost in all this is that the B's still earned a point, and are now 4 away from clinching the Atlantic. They host the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night, and if the B's win and the Tampa Bay Lightning lose to the Islanders, then the Bruins will claim the division title.
Charles Krupa/Associated Press