Habs tops in the East
BOSTON—David Desharnais and the Montreal Canadiens saw an opening when Zdeno Chara went to the penalty box—and they certainly made the most of it.
Max Pacioretty scored the tying goal in the third period and Desharnais put Montreal ahead to stay, leading the Canadiens to a 4-3 comeback win over the Boston Bruins yesterday in a match-up of the Eastern Conference’s top teams.
“It’s big,” said Desharnais, who also scored in the first period.
“He’s a key player for them,” he added. “For him [Chara] to not be on the ice is good for us, and we took advantage of it.”
Tomas Plekanec had the other goal for the Canadiens, who jumped two points ahead of Boston for first overall in the conference.
Last season, Montreal finished out of the playoffs—28th in the 30-team league. This year, the Canadiens are off to a 14-4-4 start.
“We’re coming from a long way,” said Canadiens’ coach Michel Therrien.
“Everyone knows if we stick to our plan, we’ve got a chance to win every game,” he noted.
The longtime rivals played an up-and-down clean first period before some bad feelings surfaced late in the second.
Alexei Emelin appeared to cross-check young Bruins’ star Tyler Seguin on the right hip, sending him to the ice in pain.
Chara then raced in, nailed Emelin, and the pair squared off to the left of Montreal’s net, with the Boston captain throwing most of the punches.
Seguin headed down the ramp toward the dressing room, but came back to the bench a few minutes later.
Chara collected an instigating penalty, fighting major, and 10-minute misconduct—leaving Boston short-handed on defence for a good portion of the third.
“The guy just broke his stick cross-checking Tyler and went down,” Chara noted. “I was just reacting to it.
“He’s one of our best players and I’m not going to just watch him getting crushed like that.”
That’s when the Canadiens made their push, grabbing the lead.
“We were able to capitalize off the loss of Chara,” Therrien said. “Everyone knows he’s one of the best defencemen in the league.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Minnesota beat Edmonton 4-2, Calgary doubled Vancouver 4-2, the N.Y. Islanders edged Ottawa 3-2 (SO), Chicago nipped Detroit 2-1 (SO), and Columbus shaded Colorado 2-1.
Dallas beat St. Louis 4-1, Carolina trimmed Florida 3-2, and the N.Y. Rangers edged Buffalo 3-2 (SO).