BOSTON (CBS) — By the time a 15-round heavyweight bout finally comes to an end, it’s almost impossible to recollect all of the ebbs and flows, all of the dramatic moments and all of the individual efforts that brought the fight to its thrilling conclusion, and it usually ends up only being remembered for the final punch.
And after the second and final meeting of the shortened season between the Bruins and Canadiens in Boston, hockey fans can surely relate.
By the time Brendan Gallagher beat Tuukka Rask through the five-hole for the game-winning goal in the sixth round of the shootout — which had been scoreless to that point — much of what got the game to the shootout had already become fuzzy. There was Michael Ryder’s goal in the opening minutes, before the Bruins had even registered a shot on net. There was a cross-checking battle between David Krejci and Andrei Markov, which immediately preceded a Gregory Campbell-Travis Moen fight at center ice. There was P.K. Subban getting under the skin of Brad Marchand and all 17,000-plus fans in attendance for grabbing Marchand’s stick and falling to the ice to draw a penalty and later scoring on a one-time bomb to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.
Then, there was the Bruins comeback, fueled by four straight goals from Dougie Hamilton, Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton. The lead eventually became 5-3 in Boston’s favor before Gallagher’s shot hit Dennis Seidenberg’s face, with the puck ending up right back on Gallagher’s stick for an easy goal with Rask well out of position. And then there was an unfortunate bounce off Aaron Johnson’s stick and over the glass, giving the Canadiens a 6-on-4 opportunity to close out regulation. A Markov shot deflected off an extended Zdeno Chara stick and past Rask with 8.2 seconds left on the clock, sending the game to overtime.
And all of this took place while Boston fans and media alike scrambled to put the pieces together on what sounded like an inevitable trade for Jarome Iginla. Torey Krug had been called up from Providence just hours before the game, Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch in Boston and then Alex Kokhlachev was scratched late for Providence. Then out in Calgary, Iginla — who hasn’t missed a game since the 2006-07 season, mind you — was a healthy scratch for the Flames, forcing everyone in Boston to keep one eye on the game and one eye on the latest reports all night long.
And when it was all finally done, and the TD Garden bull gang began the unenviable chore of turning the rink into a basketball court, it simply looked like this: Canadiens 6, Bruins 5 (shootout).
“It sucks,” Tyler Seguin, who had a goal and two assists, summarized succinctly. “It’s a tough one to swallow. I thought that we earned the most portion of that game and deserved to walk away with two points.”
Frustration was the word of the night in Bruins locker room that was very quiet, save for the occasional banging of a door or equipment.
“It is frustrating when you’re up by two goals in the third. It happened last time,” said Bergeron, who had a goal and three assists. “We thought we were in control, playing a good game. But, yeah, very frustrating.”
It’s a loss that no doubt stings in Boston but, with a late-night/early-morning surprise announcement that Iginla was actually traded to Pittsburgh, will likely be mostly forgotten by morning.