The B’s are 3-for-3 under new head coach Bruce Cassidy, with Sunday night’s 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens by far the most emphatic and impressive victory of the week.
The Bruins had four different players score goals – including two on special teams – and ten skaters earned at least one point on Sunday night, which was the final regular season meeting between two of hockey’s most heated rivals.
The hatred spilled over just 58 seconds into the contest, as Torey Krug and Montreal’s Andrew Shaw wasted little time throwing the gloves down, as Shaw apparently remembered Krug’s big hit on him during the two teams’ last meeting back in mid-December.
The B’s dominated on both ends of the ice, with Tuukka Rask picking up his sixth shutout of the season and second win in a row over the Canadiens. The victory was Rask’s first on home ice while facing Montreal, as he was winless in his previous 12 encounters at TD Garden with the Canadiens (0-9-3).
Adam McQuaid kicked off the scoring with his second goal of the season with 8:57 gone in the first period. David Krejci won a faceoff in the Montreal end, and sent the puck back to Krug at the blue line. Krug hit Peter Cehlarik along the boards, and the rookie hit McQuaid with a beautiful cross-ice pass that led to an easy goal past Montreal goalie Carey Price. McQuaid’s play exhibited the more aggressive style of hockey that the B’s have played under Cassidy, as he jumped into the offense and broke towards the net through the backdoor instead of just parking himself at the point.
Boston added to their lead with an unconventional shorthanded goal with five minutes elapsed in the second period. The B’s broke into the offensive zone just as a 4-on-4 ended, with the Canadiens’ gaining a man for a shortened power play. Ryan Spooner found a breaking Zdeno Chara, who demonstrated some nifty moves to maneuver past the defense before getting into close range on Price. Chara lifted a shot up over the shoulder of Price for his fifth goal of the season, which was followed by an emphatic scream.
The Bruins’ power play notched a goal in their eighth straight game with 4:55 left in the second period to pad their advantage, with Krejci scoring one of Boston’s prettiest goals of the year. Cehlarik got in on the action again, as he took a pass from Frank Vatrano at the dot and one-touched it to David Backes at the crease. Backes one-timed a pass across the front of the net to Krejci, who buried it into the open net for his 14th goal of the year.
Boston capped the scoring with exactly five minutes gone in the final period, with Vatrano using a weird bounce off the boards to easily beat Price. Krejci started the play by breaking down ice, and sent a crisp backhand pass to David Pastrnak, whose one-time bid missed the entire net and hit the back boards. The puck ricocheted right to the stick of Vatrano, who fired it past the stick of a sprawling Price for his eighth tally of the year.
The win makes Boston a perfect 3-0-0 under Cassidy heading into their “bye week”. They will have five days off without hitting the ice, as mandated by the NHL, and will then head out west for a four-game road trip. They kick off the trip on Sunday night, which is “National Hockey Day in America”, as they will face the San Jose Sharks at 8:30pm on NBCSN. The B’s began their current three-game winning streak with a 6-3 victory at home over the Sharks on Thursday night.
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