The Bear Cave

September 25, 2009 7:13 AM

Bruins Enjoy the Shootout on This Night

Two nights after a disappointing shootout loss in Columbus, the Boston Bruins found themselves in a similar boat against the Montreal Canadiens. Tied at one after regulation and overtime, the Bruins and Canadiens needed a shootout to decide a winner. Unlike the other night, this game went to Boston, as Patrice Bergeron's goal and Tim Thomas' three saves during the shootout were good enough to secure the 2-1 win.

This was not your typical battle between Boston and Montreal, as scoring and over the top physical play were on the shelf for most of the evening. Midway through the opening stanza, a pair of players looked to add some intensity to the contest, as Guillaume Lefebvre and Gregory Stewart met in search of a fight. The two dropped their gloves, but it was too late, as the linesmen had already stepped in after an offsides call.

However, just a few minutes later, the fight was on. Lefebvre got the upper hand early, as he connected with a flurry of punches. One of his punches gave Stewart a cut above his right eye, ultimately forcing the Montreal forward to skate off for repairs after the fight. With blood dripping, Stewart did respond during the second half of tussle, landing some of his own shots. Neither skater was able to land a takedown in a pretty even fight, so you make the call on who gets the win.

The remaining seven minutes of the first period went by without any goals or penalties, leading to a scoreless draw, as the teams skated to the dressing rooms. Shots on goal favored the Canadiens, by a margin of 10-6.

The scoreless tie came to an end less than one minute into the second period. Zach Hamill and Tomas Plekanec battled for possession of the puck in the right circle of Montreal's defensive end, with Plekanec ultimately gaining control of the puck. The Canadiens' forward was already low in the zone, allowing him to put a shot on goal. Tim Thomas made the save, but had a hard time controlling the puck in his crease. Sergei Kostitsyn took a whack at the loose puck, knocking it through Thomas' legs for the game's first goal.

After Kostitsyn's tally, the play slowed down yet again. However, the middle frame had more action, as the shots increased, and each team was given at least one opportunity with the man advantage. The two best chances of the period went to the Bruins. Trent Whitfield had the first close call, as he rang a shot off of the crossbar. Later in the period, Dennis Wideman thought he had evened the score on the power play. However, Jaroslav Halak had other ideas, snagging the puck out of the air with his catching glove.

Early in the third period, Boston finally got the equalizer. The Bruins cycled the puck around to the back of the Montreal net, where Michael Ryder went to work, facing the boards. Ryder spun around, and immediately spotted Mark Stuart cheating in from the point. Stuart took Ryder's pass on his backhand, before sliding a shot just inside of the post on Halak's glove side.

With less than two minutes left in regulation, the Bruins were given a golden opportunity to take the lead. Andrei Kostitsyn was whistled for hooking at the 18:05 mark of the third, putting Boston on the power play. The B's came up empty, sending the game into overtime.

Penalties were also the story of the extra session. 1:53 into overtime, Matt D'Agostini found himself in the penalty box for tripping. Less than two minutes later, Boston was caught with too many men on the ice. Both power plays were unsuccessful on the night, meaning that a shootout would ultimately decide the winner.

With home ice in their favor, the Canadiens opted to shoot first with Matt D'Agostini. D'Agostini elected to shoot, but was turned away by Thomas' pad. For the second straight shootout, Blake Wheeler went first for the Bruins. Wheeler stickhandled his way into the zone, and tried to get Halak to open up his legs. Halak's pads weren't completely tight, but the puck stayed out. Montreal's second choice was Tomas Plekanec. Plekanec started by drifting out to the left. As he skated in, he slowly moved to his right, before going against the grain on Thomas' stick side. The Boston netminder read it the whole way. Once again, it was Patrice Bergeron who shot second for the Bruins. Bergeron skated in slightly off to the right, got Halak to commit, and beat him five-hole. That left the Canadiens' hopes in the hands of the newly acquired Scott Gomez. Gomez deked to the left, but Thomas held his post, giving the home team an 0-for-3 mark in the shootout.

After struggling in his first appearance of the preseason, Tim Thomas returned to the form that earned him a Vezina Trophy last season. The Boston backstop made 33 saves on 34 shots during the game, before a 3-for-3 performance in the shootout. For the second straight time, Jaroslav Halak played well in the Montreal crease. He stopped 26 out of 27 shots during the game, but allowed the one goal on two shootout attempts. After seeing Carey Price struggle last season against the Bruins, it wouldn't be a huge shock to see Halak play in a few games during the 2009-10 season series. Game one of six between the Bruins and Canadiens takes place in Boston on November 5th.

At the AHL level, the Providence Bruins were also on the right side of a shootout, as they defeated the Lowell Devils 2-1 at Iorio Arena in Walpole, MA. Stephen Gionta put the Devils ahead with a shorthanded goal in the second period, only to have Adam Pineault record his second goal in as many nights to tie the game at one during the third. Jamie Arniel opened the shootout with a goal for the P-Bruins, before nine consecutive scorers came up empty. Matt Dalton was the winning goaltender for Providence, making 28 saves on 29 shots during the game, before denying all five Lowell shootout attempts. Mike McKenna was between the pipes for the Devils. The former Tampa Bay Lightning backstop turned aside 29 of the 30 shots he faced during the game, before making four saves on five shots during the shootout.

The Boston Bruins continue their stretch of three games in as many nights on Friday, as they visit the Ottawa Senators at 7:30. The Providence Bruins have one more preseason game remaining. That will be Saturday night, when they meet up with the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center.

Scoring Summary:
2. MON S. Kostitsyn (1) (Plekanec) 0:59
3. BOS Stuart (1) (Ryder) 1:37

BOS Blake Wheeler- S
BOS Patrice Bergeron- G

MON Matt D'Agostini- S
MON Tomas Plekanec- S
MON Scott Gomez- S

Penalty Summary:
1. BOS Lefebvre- Fighting 12:44
1. MON Stewart- Fighting 12:44
2. MON Weber- Holding the Stick 11:02
2. MON Latendresse- Hooking 17:17
2. BOS Stuart- Tripping 18:21
3. MON A. Kostitsyn- Hooking 18:05
4. MON D'Agostini- Tripping 1:53
4. BOS Bench- Too Many Men on the Ice 3:50

BOS Tim Thomas (1-1-0): 34 shots, 33 saves
MON Jaroslav Halak (0-1-1): 27 shots, 26 saves

Shots on Goal:
BOS 6-9-8-4-1=28
MON 10-11-7-6-0=34

Power Plays:
BOS 0-for-4
MON 0-for-2

Three Stars of the Game:
1- MON Sergei Kostitsyn
2- MON Ryan O'Byrne
3- BOS Tim Thomas

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