There was a time when Bruins-Canadiens was always a heated, close rivalry that had fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
Wednesday night was not that time.
The Bruins disposed of the Canadiens rather easily, 5-1. While a 3-0 Boston lead after one period had most fans thinking a seven- or eight-goal win, the Bruins still outplayed the Habs in every aspect, outshooting them, 41-25.
Here are three big takeaways from the Bruins’ sixth win in their last seven games.
Brad Marchand continued his hot streak
It didn’t seem to matter that Bruins winger Brad Marchand almost had his nose chopped off last game in Washington. On Wednesday night, Marchand was everywhere in the offensive zone, eventually potting two before the end of the first 20 minutes.
It looked as if Brad Marchand might have a hat trick by the end of the first period. Nevertheless, his hat trick eventually did come and it came in the most Marchand-way possible: shorthanded.
A few minutes before the halfway point of the second, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Bruins defenseman John Moore and Marchand created a 3-on-1 while killing a penalty. Moore’s shot was stopped by Canadiens goalie Sam Montembeault, but Marchand drove the net and slapped home the rebound, ensuring he got his hat trick.
Brad Marchand completes the hat trick with a shorthanded goal.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 13, 2022
Marchand has been on fire lately, scoring a goal in each of his last four games and scoring at least two in the past three. For those counting, that’s eight goals in four games.
We’ll get to how Marchand’s success is impacting everything else in a little while.
The Canadiens are really bad this season
It’s hard to imagine the team that faced the Bruins on Wednesday night was in the Stanley Cup Final this past summer. Yes, the Canadiens are down stars Carey Price and Shea Weber, but the drop off Montreal has suffered this season goes far beyond missing those two.
The Canadiens are the worst team in the Eastern Conference and second-worst to the Arizona Coyotes for worst in the league.
They have the worst goal differential in the Eastern Conference at Negative-54. They simply don’t score goals (only 74 goals for) and they don’t do a very good job of preventing them either (128 goals against).
Montreal entered Wednesday night having not won in regulation in 10 of their 11 games. In fairness to the Habs though, their last four games were postponed and they hadn’t played since Jan. 1.
Still, that doesn’t change the fact they’ve been dreadful this season.
The Bruins are on a roll
This takeaway comes at a weird time after I basically just said the Canadiens were a terrible opponent, but the Bruins are on another level right now. It doesn’t really matter that the Canadiens are one of the worst teams in hockey because this is becoming a trend.
The Bruins are winners of six of their last seven games. Along with top players like Marchand and Bruins forward David Pastrnak putting up big numbers, the secondary scoring has finally stepped up.
Yes, you read that right — the secondary scoring has finally come through for Boston.
Curtis Lazar pots one from a Jake DeBrusk shot.
3-0 Bruins: pic.twitter.com/yWD44U71Og
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) January 13, 2022
Here are some of the best secondary scorers since the COVID-19 pause (seven games).
- Taylor Hall: 2 goals, 6 assists
- Curtis Lazar: 3 goals, 3 assists
- Erik Haula: 2 goals, 3 assists
- Craig Smith: 2 goals, 2 assists
- Tomas Nosek (4 games): 1 goal, 3 assists
- Anton Blidh (4 games): 1 goal, 3 assists
- Oskar Steen: 1 goal, 2 assists
- Trent Frederic: 2 goals
That was secondary scoring the Bruins previously didn’t have and it’s been a huge reason as to why they’ve been so dominant over their past seven games.
As a whole, the bottom six is starting to take shape. Steen is working great with Bruins center Charlie Coyle, who had the OT-winner in the first game back from the COVID pause.
On Line 4, Nosek, Blidh and Lazar have begun to form a really solid trio. While they bruise opponents and forecheck hard, they’ve been posting points of late.
So long as the Bruins continue to get production from those guys, they’ll keep on winning.
And a Marchand hat trick on occasion might help too.