One-upmanship from the Bruins
Raycroft's saves make Murray goal the winner in Montreal
MONTREAL -- In some games, you deserve more than you get. You might play well and get only a point or have nothing at all to show for it. Then there are those contests in which you don't play well and you wind up winning anyway.
The latter is what happened to the Bruins yesterday. Were it not for the sensational netminding of rookie Andrew Raycroft, there is no way Boston would've walked away with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Raycroft stopped 34 shots on the way to his third career shutout, including 15 in a gruesome third period when the Canadiens appeared to be on the power play the entire time, even though they only had three man-advantages. Coach Mike Sullivan wasn't pleased with his team's execution but he'll take the result.
"Montreal certainly put a lot of pressure on us in the third period," said Sullivan, whose team was outshot, 15-2, in the final 20 minutes. "Fortunately for us, we got great goaltending from Razor.
"I thought we had a pretty good first period. We played with energy and pursued the puck and did the things we needed to do to be successful as a group. But the second and third periods, we really got away from it. Those are probably two of the worst periods we've played in a long time. We got running around and we started to watch the puck a little too much instead of finding people away from it, and a lot of the time, those are the dangerous guys.
"Fortunately for us, Razor was there to make some timely saves for us."
The Bruins are now 5 points ahead of the Habs in the Eastern Conference race for the playoffs.
The only goal of the game came on the power play early in the second. The Bruins squandered a five-on-three opportunity in the first that lasted for 1 minute 43 seconds. However, Glen Murray, who is rounding into scoring form, cashed in on their fourth power play.
Just 57 seconds into the second period, Murray took a backhand pass from defenseman Nick Boynton and beat goalie Jose Theodore as he drove down the right circle. It was the 18th tally of the year for Murray, who extended his scoring streak to five games with five goals and one assist in that span.
"It was just a great play by Boynton," said Murray. "He was carrying the puck up and we just yelled [to] each other and just tried to get it upstairs."
Murray said he's thrilled his drought has ended after a rough stretch that started at the end of December and continued into the middle of January.
"They obviously weren't going in," he said. "It wasn't that I wasn't getting chances. I was still getting [them] but they just weren't going in. They seem to be going in a little bit now."
And at the other end, Raycroft was keeping them out.
"A lot of credit goes to our goalie," said Murray. "We didn't have a good spell in December and in early January when we weren't really getting the bounces, but [yesterday], our goaltender played great. I think if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have gotten the win. He's pulled us through the tough times. You can't say enough about him. Hopefully we can give him some help at the other end by getting a few more goals and not putting all the pressure on him."
Raycroft was especially good during the third-period barrage. Early in the period, the Canadiens were buzzing on the power play. Center Steve Begin had a strong chance in front when he redirected the puck but Raycroft blocked it. Then center Yanic Perreault had an open net but his bid hit the right post and bounced away.
Raycroft was matter-of-fact about his performance, as he is about most everything.
"If we can dodge more bullets than we take, we'll end up doing all right in the last 30 games," he said.
His coach agreed they definitely dodged one yesterday.
"Without a doubt," said Sullivan. "We got superb goaltending from Andrew, but I know we're capable of playing much better."