5 things we learned as Canadiens crush Bruins in Winter Classic

DJ Bean
January 01, 2016 - 11:20 am
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FOXBORO -- If this is what life without David Krejci and Brad Marchand is like, the B'€™s should consider them lucky they call it the Winter Classic and not the Spring Classic. The Canadiens skated to an 5-1 victory over the B'€™s at the annual outdoor event Friday at Gillette Stadium as Boston failed to get into an offensive rhythm early and never caught up. The first period saw the B'€™s attempt only four shots in the first period, three of which made it to Canadiens goalie Mike Condon. In that time, the Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from David Desharnais. It was 3-0 on a Brendan Gallagher goal before Matt Beleskey finally got the Bruins on the board at 3:56 of the third period. Any momentum that Beleskey'€™s goal could have generated was negated when Max Pacioretty scored off the rush nearly five minutes later. Byron added his second of the game in the final minutes of regulation. The loss prevented the Bruins from jumping into first place in the Atlantic Division, instead letting the Habs leapfrog the Panthers for the top spot in the division. The B's and Canadiens will have their final regular-season meeting on Jan. 19 in Montreal. Here are four more things we learned at the Winter Classic: BRUINS CAN'€™T PROTECT THE HOUSE Tuukka Rask allowed more than three goals for the first time in 14 games, but it was hard to blame him given that he was under siege in the first period and the Bruins struggled to get pucks out of dangerous areas throughout the game. The Canadiens'€™ first three goals came from right in front of the net. David Desharnais knocked in a bouncing puck off a Dale Weise shot for Montreal'€™s first goal, with Montreal making it 2-0 when Paul Byron buried a rebound right in front of Rask after Adam McQuaid was unable to get the puck out. Brendan Gallagher, playing in his first game back from a hand injury, connected in mid-air on a puck that Pacioretty flung in front off the rush. BELESKEY STAYS HOT Beleskey'€™s luck over the first two and a half months was bad at best. Despite shooting just as much as he had in seasons past, few of his attempts were going in. It seems the hockey gods are repaying him now. By redirecting an Adam McQuaid shot past Condon in the opening minutes of the third period, Beleskey picked up his fourth goal in as many games to bring his season total to eight. The 27-year-old left wing extended his point streak to four games with the goal, giving him a total of five points (four goals, one assist) since teams returned from the holiday break. LINES DON'€™T STICK With Krejci and Marchand out, the Bruins'€™ top six consisted of Eriksson-Bergeron-Griffith and Beleskey-Spooner-Connolly. By the middle of the second period, Claude Julien dropped Griffith down in favor of Jimmy Hayes, who skated on Spooner'€™s line. Connolly moved up to play with Bergeron. Bergeron was given his third right wing of the day when Julien put Landon Ferraro on the top line and moved Connolly down to the fourth line. As for Boston'€™s youngsters, Julien's bench-shortening left the likes of Griffith, Frank Vatrano and Alexander Khokhlachev playing sparingly as the game went on. SPOONER WAITS TILL THE LAST SECOND The save of the game came at 19:59 of the second period, when Condon came across his net to make a glove save on Spooner just before time expired. While the save was tremendous, Condon shouldn't have had the save to even make it. Condon was still respecting the right side when Beleskey sent a pass to the opposite circle, where Spooner was waiting. With a quick shot, Spooner would have easily scored given the amount of vacant net with which he was working. Instead, Spooner held onto the puck and stepped up before releasing the puck, giving Condon time to slide over and keep the Bruins off the board.

That wasn't the only goal the Bruins should have had in the second period. A quick whistle on what didn't appear to be a covered puck during a Bruins power play negated what would have been a goal from Beleskey.
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