The best rivalry in hockey never ceases to disappoint.
The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens required a shootout to settle Saturday’s game at the Bell Centre, with Brad Marchand tallying the winner in the fourth round to seal the Bruins’ 4-3 win in the first matchup this season between the Original Six teams.
The game never lacked scoring, intensity nor physicality, and certainly felt like a battle between pair of rivals who had been waiting all bye week — and all season — to play one another.
Six different scorers accounted for the six regulation goals, while Tuukka Rask turned away 28 shots for the Bruins and Carey Price stopped 30 shots for the Habs.
The Bruins climb to 24-10-7 with the win, while the Canadiens fall to 18-21-4.
Here’s how it all went down:
HABS SCORE EARLY, BRUINS ANSWER LATE
Just over three minutes in Victor Mete wristed a puck from the blue line, which was received by Max Pacioretty right on the doorstep after Rask made the pad save and gave up a rebound. The winger pushed it past Rask, who kicked the puck in with his skate, giving the Habs an early 1-0 lead.
The Bruins pieced multiple quality chances together throughout the period, and after Phillip Danault got whistled with a slashing penalty, the Bruins cashed in at 17:40. Paul Byron was caught watching Patrice Bergeron control the puck on the right wing, which allowed Brad Marchand to get behind him. Bergeron sent a laser of a pass to the winger, who lifted it over Price.
SCORING FRENZY IN THE SECOND
It took the Bruins less than three minutes into the second period to take their first lead of the game. The Habs again got busted puck watching, and Charlie McAvoy made them pay, hitting Jake DeBrusk with a cross-ice pass. The rookie winger potted a composed finish top shelf past Price in the one-on-one.
Nicolas Deslauriers answered with an equalizer for Montreal just 2:50 later. The 26-year-old gathered the puck at center ice after forcing a turnover on a Zdeno Chara pass, skated up ice and wristed an unassisted tally past Rask.
The Canadiens took the lead at 8:51 after David Pastrnak got whistled for interference. After a stunning no-look pass cross-ice from Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk scored his 11th tally of the season on a wrister.
The period ended 1:37 early, after Danault had to be stretchered off the ice from taking a nasty slap shot to the head from Chara. Neither team scored in that stretch upon returning to the ice.
SCORELESS THIRD FORCES OT
The third period had no shortage of potential possibilities for a team to score a winner, including a 4-on-4 when Torey Krug and Jeff Petry each got minors at 7:04. Montreal had a chance on the man-advantage after McAvoy got whistled for tripping at 14:58, but the Bruins actually had the more productive two minutes, wreaking havoc offensively while shorthanded.
HECTIC OVERTIME YIELDS NO GOALS
As 3-on-3 hockey usually does, there was a slew of chances for each team, but neither could cash in, forcing a shootout. The Bruins at one point held possession in their offensive zone for nearly 45 seconds, while the Habs had a frantic scrum in front of the net, but couldn’t get it past Rask.
MARCHAND NETS THE SHOOTOUT WINNER
Marchand sent the Bruins back to Boston happy, scoring the decisive shootout goal in the fourth round after Galchenyuk couldn’t convert for Montreal.
Byron and DeBrusk both converted in the first round, but neither Drouin nor Pastrnak could score in the second round. The failure continued into the third Both Pacioretty and McAvoy failed in the third round, paving the way for Marchand’s heroics.
The Bruins will head back to TD Garden for a matinee Monday against the Dallas Stars. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST.
Thumbnail photo via Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports Images.