[The image on the right has been circulating on the internet after the vicious hit by Chara on Max Pacioretty and speaks volume about what happened. The image was most likely scanned from Journal De Montreal, attributed to QMI Inc.]
The Habs returned home after a successful three game road trip for a much anticipated match up with the Boston Bruins. Before dropping the puck Carey Price was awarded the Molson trophy for the month of February. After a couple of minutes of feeling each other out, Montreal got the first shots on the net prompting Tuukka Rask to make saves on Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Mara respectively. Michael Ryder took the first Bruins shot that Price pushed aside. A few minutes later P.K. Subban decided that he would try to penetrate the Bruins zone on his own as he put on the jets. Subban was then clipped by a Bruins player and luckily avoided a knee on knee collision. Ryan White determined that this was unacceptable and went after Johnny Boychuk for an early tilt. Both men held their own in the fight but most importantly White sent the message that this game would not be a repeat of their last encounter.
Boston was awarded with a power play as White received the extra two minutes for being the instigator. Boston’s best chance on the power play came off of a Tomas Kaberle point shot that found its way behind the net. Nathan Horton found the loose puck and opted for the wrap around when he noticed that Price was tied up with a crowd of players. However, Jeff Halpern made a great play as he got his stick between the puck and the post to swat it away preventing what looked to be a sure goal. A couple of minutes later it was Montreal’s turn to go to the power play when Tyler Seguin got called for tripping. The Habs had a hard time getting organized on this power play which led to Brad Marchand getting a chance. The play occurred when Price received the puck on a clear and then decided to try and keep the play going. Price’s pass deflected on the crowd in front with Marchand lurking. Luckily for Price his defence recovered and cleared the puck out of danger.
After failing to get it together with the extra man, Montreal went back on the attack and started to apply some good forechecking. This led to Mara taking a point shot that deflected off of Travis Moen in front. Lars Eller jumped on the loose puck and beat Rask with his backhand to give the Habs a 1-0 lead. Following the goal, both teams tighten things up for a few shifts as they both failed to generate shots on net. After a good shift by Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty, Michael Cammalleri finally hit the net with a shot that Rask stopped. Boston replied when Price made three straight saves on Ryder, Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron. Price had to make two more saves on the next shift this time on Shawn Thornton and Zdeno Chara.
With the Habs now in the Bruins zone, Kostitsyn continued his recent strong play when his hard work led to a turnover that was picked up by Moen. Moen was quick to make a pass to Eller who was all alone in front of Rask. Eller proceeded to completely undress Rask when he made a pivot all while controlling the puck from his backhand to his forehand and then beat him with the shot. Montreal received another great scoring chance a few shifts later when Roman Hamrlik’ s point shot deflected to Gionta who was standing near the net. Gionta looked as if he was going to score when he had a yawning cage in front of him but Rask made a great second effort sprawling save to keep it out. The Habs controlled play for the rest of the period and went to the dressing room with a two goal lead.
The second began with the Bruins putting pressure in Montreal’s zone and the Habs trying to escape. This led to Tomas Plekanec taking a dumb penalty when he stuck his leg out causing a knee on knee collision. Montreal bailed out Plekanec on the kill when they only allowed two point shots during the entire two minutes. After the kill Montreal went back on the attack prompting Rask to make saves on Hamrlik and James Wisniewski. This was followed by good shifts from David Desharnais and Gomez’s lines to keep the pressure in Boston’s zone. At 6:41, Chris Kelly received a hooking penalty that should have been a high sticking call. Nonetheless the Habs went back to the power play and this time they took advantage. The play was started by a soft pass from Gomez to a streaking Gionta. Gionta took the shot and it trickled through Rask heading for the back of the net. Chara and company tried to stop it from going in but when Rask laid back to try and freeze the puck, he pushed it behind the goal line giving the Habs a three goal lead.
Milan Lucic tried to respond to the goal when his shot took a funny hop and almost bounced in past Price. Once again Habs' defenders did a nice job of tracking the puck and cleared it away. Hal Gill then tried to extend his goal scoring streak when he took a shot from the slot but it was not meant to be. With a faceoff in Montreal zone, the Habs attempted to spring a 2 on 1 attack but Boychuk made a nice diving play on the back check to break up the play. At 9:26, Hamrlik received a tripping penalty sending the Bruins back to the power play. Once again the Habs did a great job of killing it off but had to go right back on the kill when they got caught for too many men on the ice. The Bruins best chance on this power play came when Halpern lost his stick allowing Horton to take a quality shot. Price made the save and froze the puck but David Krejci kept taking whacks on the puck, pushing Price into the net with his stick.
After another successful kill, Desharnais and Mara skated up the ice for a 2 on 1. The Bruins broke this one up as well when Bergeron timed his dive perfectly to intercept Desharnais’s pass. A couple of shifts later the Habs went looking for another power play goal when Boychuk got called for tripping. After some gritty board play from Cammalleri, Desharnais and kostitsyn, Cammalleri got a hold of the puck and passed it to a wide open Wisniewski. Wiz wasted no time taking the shot blasting it past Rask. Montreal kept coming with Rask having to make saves on Benoit Pouliot, Kostitsyn and Gomez. A couple of shifts later Price finally got some action when he made back to back saves on Boychuk and Marchand.
After Montreal took back to back icing calls the game took a turn for the worst. With 15.8 seconds left to play in the period the puck squirted out of Montreal’s zone. Pacioretty decided that he had enough time to try and get it hoping for a breakaway. This is when Chara delivered a vicious and careless hit along the player’s bench. This caused Pacioretty to go head first along the edge of the glass and was out cold from the hit. After what felt like an eternity Pacioretty regained consciousness and was carried off on a stretcher. He was then brought to the hospital for further examination and it was later reported that his test came back negative but they were unsure of the severity of his concussion. Chara received a five minute major and a game misconduct. Because of the severity of the injury the referees decided to end the period early and sent the players back to their locker rooms.
The third started after they played out the last 15 seconds of the second. Montreal controlled the puck for the first three minutes of their power play but fell out of sync for the last two. This is when Marchand snuck behind the play and went on a breakaway. This caused Hamrlik to hook him down giving Marchand a penalty shot in the process. Marchand decided that he would try and beat Price five hole but did not get a good shot off and Price made the easy save. Price followed this up with two more saves, one on Boychuk and one on Gregory Campbell. Price kept it up shortly after when he made a great sprawling save on Mark Recchi. White then skated the other way on a partial 2 on 1 and opted to shoot the puck but was stopped by Rask.
At 13:21, Lucic spoiled Price’s shutout bid when he beat him with a quick wrist shot from the slot. At this point of the game it was apparent that the Habs were content on protecting the lead and just wanted the game to be over. This allowed the bruins to take over a bit on the offensive side but Price and company did a nice job of holding the fort. Lucic then took a roughing penalty with a little more than two minutes to play and continued to show what kind of man he is when he went after Pouliot for whatever reason. The Habs used this power play to kill off the rest of the period and secured the victory. It was now time for the three star selections which is voted by the fans. The fans showed their respect and admiration for Patches when he was selected as the third star and received a long ovation from the crowd.
The Habs will now head to St.Louis for a match up versus former playoff hero Jaroslav Halak on Thursday.
HiD Three Stars
- Lars Eller
- Carey Price
- Max Pacioretty
HiD Turning Point
Chara's Vicious hit on Pacioretty at the end of the second period completly spoiled this game.