Lars Eller recorded his first two-goal game of his young NHL career, and Travis Moen had two assists. Carey Price made 30 stops for his league-leading 32nd win of the season. Milan Lucic spoiled his shutout bid , 13:29 into the third period, with his 29th goal of the season.
There was also a good scrap as Ryan White objected to Johnny Boychuk's attempt to run down P.K. Subban, Bothcombatants took five-minute majors, with White taking an instigator call. This is where the instigator rule proves it's flaws. If a player can stand up for his teammate, the way White did and the late John Ferguson did, then players will not take open ice runs at other players. I'm not centering on Boychuk as being a dirty player, but even the Boston announcers agreed he was lining Subban up. The targets who would back off would be the deliberate headhunters such as Matt Cooke.
That aside, the Canadiens maintain a strong hold for 6th place in the Eastern Conference, and sit three back of the Bruins in the Northeast Division. The two teams meet again, for the final time in the regular season, on March 24.
The real story of the game is the incident that occurred with16 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Canadiens builton their two-goal lead in the second period with power play goals from Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski. With the home team up 4-0, fans wondered if the Bruins might resort to more physical tactics or goonery.
As the period wound down, Max Pacioretty and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara battled for the puck near the Bruins bench. The puck scooted away, but Chara maintained his grip on the Habs forward, and carried him into the turnbuckle that protects the edge of the glass between the benches. Pacioretty's head struck the turnbuckle andalso struck the ice as he hit the ground.
Pacioretty remained motionless on the ice for several minutes. Chara was chased down by Scott Gomez and several other Canadiens players before being sent off the ice. The Bruins defenceman received a five-minute interference penalty and a game misconduct. Clearly the officials felt the play was too severe, even for Chara's notable physical play. The next step will be to see if there was intent involved.
To give the medical attendants appropriate time. The players left the ice, and played out the final seconds of the period at the beginning of the third period.
The geometry of the rink comes into play. This is not the first time a player has caught this area of the boards, and it is unfortunate when it does happen. If it was up against any other area, Chara probably get away with a two minute minor.
Chara was defended by one of the between periods co-hosts, on the Bruins broadcast, that he may have been unaware as to where the two were on the boards. But looking at a reverse angle, which they showed as he was justifying his point, it clearly shows Chara looking up and straight ahead, well aware of his surroundings.
He also got support of noted sports journalist Adrian Dater on Twitter. Dater made his initial remarks based on little viewing of the video footage, putting the bulk of the blame on the turnbuckle.
The big rearguard is also not a dirty player by trade but he does have a history with Pacioretty from earlier in the season.
The NHL will certainly review the situation, but Colin Campbell will likely have to assign the task to another league rep. His son, Gregory Campbell, is a member of the Bruins.
How the league deals with it, and what disciplinary action, if any, will be issued is up to them. We are all well aware that the NHL's susoension/fine system can vary form case to case, or player to player.
The main concern right now is the well being of Max Pacioretty. He had regained consciousness once on the stretcher. By the time he reached Montreal General, he was talking and moving his arms and legs. Pacioretty was named the Third Star of the game by the fans.
Box ScoreThree Stars: 1. Lars Eller 2. Carey Price 3. Max Pacioretty
Reaction on the game from the Bruins side at Stanley Cup of Chowder