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Marchand nets game-winner in, 3-2, overtime victory in Montréal

Brad Marchand opened the night’s scoring at Bell Centre almost midway into the first period and closed the night’s scoring less than a minute into overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the Montréal Canadiens, 3-2, Monday night.

Jeremy Swayman (18-8-3, 2.09 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 30 games played) made 26 saves on 28 shots against in the overtime win for Boston.

Montréal goaltender, Jake Allen (6-16-4, 3.09 goals-against average, .905 save percentage in 27 games played) turned aside 43 out of 46 shots faced in the overtime loss.

The Bruins improved to 39-19-5 (83 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Though the B’s are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs in points (83) overall, the Maple Leafs have 33 regulation wins to Boston’s 31– let alone the fact that Toronto has played in one fewer game, thereby currently holding the tiebreaker in standings.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, fell to 17-36-10 (44 points) overall and remain stuck in 8th place in the Atlantic Division, as well as 32nd in the entire league standings as Montréal’s 12 regulation wins trails the Seattle Kraken’s 16 regulation wins in the overall league table.

Boston won in their return to Bell Centre for the first time since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic began, having last made a trip up to Montréal on Nov. 26, 2019, in an, 8-1, victory for the Bruins.

David Pastrnak recorded a hat trick on the road that night.

Monday night’s win also gave the Bruins the decisive advantage in their regular season series with the Canadiens, having gone 3-0-0 in their three matchups so far in 2021-22, with one game remaining against one another on April 24th in Montréal.

On Saturday, Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, traded Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick and a 2024 2nd round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran.

Sweeney then signed Lindholm to an eight-year extension worth $6.500 million per season that’ll go into effect starting next season– locking up the 28-year-old top-four defender, who will likely see action with either Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing or Brandon Carlo on the second pairing in Thursday night’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Ducks, meanwhile, retained 50% ($2,602, 778) of Lindholm’s current salary on his remaining contract.

Prior to Monday night’s game in Montréal, Sweeney signed Jake DeBrusk to a two-year extension worth $4.000 million per season, which will make it easier and more attractive for potential suitors in a future DeBrusk trade as the 2022 NHL Entry Draft approaches in July, since the Bruins weren’t able to fulfill DeBrusk’s trade request prior to the 2022 trade deadline.

Sweeney told reporters in his post trade deadline press conference that Boston had received offers on DeBrusk, but none were to his liking (and probably offered less than what he was willing to move DeBrusk for in return for other players that ended up being traded to other teams by the deadline).

Prior to Monday’s trade deadline, the Bruins acquired Josh Brown from the Ottawa Senators and a conditional 2022 7th round pick in exchange for Zach Senyshyn and a 2022 5th round pick.

Senyshyn’s trade request from earlier in the season (around the time DeBrusk’s agent made his desires known) was fulfilled as Boston added a depth defender with a 6-foot-5 frame in Brown to their blue line.

If Senyshyn plays in five games with Ottawa before the end of the 2021-22 regular season, the 2022 7th round pick upgrades to a 2022 6th round pick for Boston.

Meanwhile, Lindholm and Brown had not yet joined the team in Montréal, of course, due to logistics and will join the team back in Boston later this week.

Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Patrice Bergeron (upper body) missed the night’s action against the Canadiens due to injury, while Marc McLaughlin joined Anton Blidh as the only healthy scratches for the Bruins at Bell Centre Monday night.

McLaughlin was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on an emergency basis and took part in warmup in case Jack Studnicka was not ready to go at game-time, given Studnicka’s “day-to-day” status Monday morning.

Studnicka centered the first line with Marchand and DeBrusk on his wings without issue, while Jack Ahcan was reassigned to Providence with the additions of Lindholm and Brown against Boston’s salary cap.

Less than a minute into the game, Alexander Romanov cross checked Marchand and presented the Bruins with the night’s first power play at 55 seconds of the first period.

Boston’s power play was powerless, however, as the Canadiens made the kill.

Moments later, Marchand tripped Cole Caufield and cut a rut to the penalty box at 7:08 of the first period, presenting the Habs with their first power play of the night.

Montréal could not sold the B’s penalty kill, however.

Shortly after he was freed from the box, Marchand led a rush into the attacking zone and the Bruins worked to keep the puck in the zone as Connor Clifton sent a shot with purpose towards the net.

Erik Haula dished it out and Boston tried again before Haula snagged the rebound and sauced a pass to Marchand (26) for a layup goal from close range– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 9:21 of the first period as a result.

Haula (18) and Clifton (4) tallied the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.

Late in the period, David Savard tripped Marchand to give Boston another power play that went by the wayside at 13:54 in Savard’s first game back from injury.

The Bruins led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 14-8, in shots on goal after the first period.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (5-4), takeaways (5-3), giveaways (13-8), hits (10-3) and faceoff win percentage (64-36) after 20 minutes of action.

The Canadiens were 0/1 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/2 heading into the middle frame.

Almost midway into the middle period, Savard (2) sent a puck that had eyes off of Swayman and into the twine– tying the game, 1-1, in the process at 8:49 of the second period as Montréal evened the score.

Romanov (8) and Paul Byron (2) had the assists on Savard’s goal.

Matt Grzelcyk cut a rut to the sin bin for interference at 13:59 of the second period, but the Habs were unsuccessful on the ensuing skater advantage.

In the final minute of the period, Romanov tripped McAvoy at 19:19, which gave Boston a power play that’d extend into the final frame as the Bruins couldn’t score before the second intermission started.

The two teams were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston outshooting Montréal, 28-23, overall, despite the Canadiens amassing a, 15-14, advantage in the second period alone.

The Bruins continued to dominate in just about everything else, leading in blocked shots (11-9), takeaways (8-3), giveaways (23-17), hits (17-10) and faceoff win% (63-38).

Montréal was 0/2 and Boston was 0/3 on the power play heading into the final period of regulation.

While shorthanded, Joel Armia (4) benefitted from a turnover in the neutral zone and a breakaway into Boston’s own zone– deking and scoring on the Bruins netminder to give the Canadiens their first lead of the night, 2-1, on a shorthanded goal at 1:13 of the third period.

Armia’s goal was unassisted.

Midway through the third, Caufield hooked Tomáš Nosek, but Boston’s power play wasn’t able to beat Montréal’s penalty kill at 9:59.

Late in the action, however, Clifton (2) benefitted from crashing the net and receiving a pass in the slot from Craig Smith on a catch and release goal past Allen’s glove side.

Smith (16) and Charlie Coyle (23) notched the assists on Clifton’s goal as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2, at 17:01 of the third period.

In the dying seconds of regulation, McAvoy and Jake Evans exchanged pleasantries and received roughing minors at 19:42.

The B’s outshot the Habs, 45-28, including a, 17-5, advantage in the third period alone, but overtime would be required to determine a winner Monday night.

It didn’t take long for Haula to find Marchand (27) as No. 63 in black and gold weaved his way to the net and faked a forehand shot before deking to his backhand wrapped around Allen and putting away the game with a game-winning overtime goal 43 seconds into the extra frame.

Haula (19) had the only assist on Marchand’s second goal of the night and the Bruins emerged victorious at Bell Centre, 3-2.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 46-28, including a, 1-0, advantage in overtime alone.

Montréal left their own ice leading in blocked shots (22-12), while the Bruins exited the arena with the lead in giveaways (35-27), hits (26-19) and faceoff win% (62-39).

The Canadiens went 0/2 on the power play on Monday, while the B’s went an astounding 0/4 on the skater advantage.

Boston did, however, improve to 6-3 in overtime (8-5 past regulation) this season, while Montréal dropped to 3-9 in the extra frame (5-14 past regulation) in 2021-22.

The B’s also improved to 29-7-2 (17-3-1 on the road) when scoring first, 23-2-1 (13-1-1 on the road) when leading after one and 9-4-0 (4-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.

The Habs fell to 4-29-7 (2-16-3 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-24-7 (1-12-3 at home) when trailing after the first period and 3-4-4 (2-1-2 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.

The Bruins went 3-1-0 on their four-game road trip and return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday– beginning a five-game homestand in the process to conclude March and start the month of April. 

The New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets will visit TD Garden Saturday afternoon, next Tuesday, next Thursday and on April 2nd, respectively.