Alex Kovalev had 2 highlight-reel goals and a highlight-reel assist as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Bruins for the 4th time in Boston this season by a 4-2 scoreline.
Montreal's victory is their 7th of 7 this season vs. Boston, and their 10th straight against the Bruins, equalling a record for consecutive wins against the Bruins which was set in the 1944-45 season.
With the win, Montreal (41-24-10) re-gained sole possession of top spot in the Eastern Conference, leapfrogging idle New Jersey by one point with a total of 92, although Montreal have played 2 more games than New Jersey at this point in the season with 75 as opposed to 73. The Senators also won their contest tonight, as they came away with a 3-2 win on home ice vs. the lowly St. Louis Blues.
Kovalev has the game's first two goals, and the second was nicer than an already gorgeous first.
Alex Kovalev came in one-on-one with big Zdeno Chara. He executed a spin move (similar to the one was saw Brian Campbell of San Jose execute en route to his backhand goal a couple of weeks ago in SJ) and released a backhander that partly fooled and handcuffed goaltender Tim Thomas, allowing the puck to squeak through the gear and cross the line.
4 minutes and 2 seconds later, Kovy was at it again.
Lugging the puck out of his own zone, Kovalev gathered speed, broke through the neutral zone, entered Boston's zone with AK 46 acting as a possible pass recipient, burst through Chara and Wideman while executing a toe-drag of the puck, stickhandling to his backhand, and sliding the puck (kind of awkwardly, but still) through a sprawling Thomas' legs, much to the delight and euphoria of RDS commentator Pierre Houde. A great goal indeed!
Despite the great goal, Boston had the answer, and that buzzkill came a mere 27 seconds later, as defenseman Mark Stuart converted a blue-line slapper into a goal on a great effort from partner Shane Hnidy to keep the puck in-zone. The shot beat a screened Price 5-hole.
The Habs would put the game out of reach in the third, as Michael Ryder scored his 14th of the season capping a pretty feed from Saku Koivu, and Andrei Kostitsyn notched his 22nd capping a sublime pass from Kovalev, who dropped the puck before wrapping around the net, leaving Thomas completely fooled. AK 46 actually missed the initial chance, but powered through Thomas pads to jar the puck loose and passed the goal line.
The Bruins got one back late to make it 4-2 Montreal on Dennis Wideman's 12th, but that was as close as the B's would come on this night.
Boston has one chance left to attempt avoiding the 8-game season series sweep, and that chance comes Saturday evening in Montreal to cap the home-and-home series.
Carey Price stopped 34 of 36, while Tim Thomas kicked aside 26 of 30.
Mike Komisarek had 4 shifts and logged 2:45 of ice time in the 1st period before leaving the game with what has been described as a lower-body injury. On the play where we assume he was injured, Komisarek was crunched into the boards on two separate occasions by energy-forward Shawn Thornton. Mark Streit converted to defense for the game, and Alex Kovalev saw some added ice-time as he double-shifted often in Mike's absence.