Claude Julien has some serious work to do. The Bruins dominated against their former coach and the Montreal Canadiens by a 4-1 score at TD Garden on Wednesday, sending the Habs into an even deeper hole than they were already in. The Bruins (10-0-4 in their last 14) earned at least one point for the 14th straight game, while the Canadiens fell to 18-21-6 on the season.
Jakub Jerabek drew first blood for the Canadiens just 31 seconds into regulation with a shot that bounced off of Zdeno Chara, but it was all Bruins from there. David Pastrnak tied it 1-1 when he hammered home a one-timer from Patrice Bergeron.
Brad Marchand got the play started with a nifty feed from his knees:
Ryan Spooner scored the de facto game-winner just 2:37 into the second period, dangling around a defender and tucking it through a forest of skates to put the Bruins up 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
Spooner is now up to six, goals, eight assists, and a plus-9 rating in his last 16 games. Considering his often tenuous relationship with Julien during his Bruins tenure, he probably felt a little extra satisfaction to score on his former coach’s team.
Pastrnak’s goal, his 18th of the season, briefly tied Marchand for the team lead. But the latter regained the top spot with his 19th of the season on the power play early in the third. With the two-point night, Marchand is up to 43 points in just 35 games on the season.
The Bruins honored Julien with a brief tribute video during the game, which followed with a loud ovation for the ex-Bruins coach, who won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2011. They also honored Willie O’Ree before the game to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his first game in the NHL, which broke the league’s color barrier on Jan. 18, 1968.
Trouble In Montreal
Since going 16-7-1 in their first 24 regular season games under Julien, things have really gone south in Montreal. The Canadiens have now lost seven of their last 10, including a shootout loss to the Bruins last Saturday.
Barring a massive turnaround, the Canadiens’ season is toast. They’re now 16 points behind the Bruins (25-10-3) and have the fourth-fewest points in the NHL with 42. They’re 28th in the league with just 116 goals on the season.
The Canadiens don’t have the deepest roster in the league right now, but their top-end talent isn’t performing either. Alex Galchenyuk leads the Habs with just 26 in 44 games, practically cancelling it out with an ugly minus-20 rating along the way. Jonathan Drouin, whom the Canadiens traded highly touted defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to acquire, has scored just 21 points in 39 games. Sergachev, meanwhile, has 26 points with a plus-13 rating for the league-best Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Habs committed to Julien with a five-year deal shortly after signing him to replace Michel Therrien last February. It’s unlikely they’re even considering a coaching change this early into his deal, so GM Marc Bergevin will have to make more major moves on the roster to even have a chance of fixing the team’s woes. Not that those have worked out for him, either.
What’s Next For The Bruins?
The Bruins have a quick turnaround, as they’ll play the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Thursday. Then they will head back to Montreal on Saturday for a third matchup with the Canadiens in eight days. It’s safe to say that the Habs will not turn their season around by then.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.