OK, take a deep breath and remember whom they were playing.
There’s nothing quite like the Boston Bruins to snap your Montreal Canadiens out of their lethargy.
But it wasn’t easy. After a miserable second period reminiscent of their meltdown against Nashville and their no-show against Detroit, Canadiens dominated the final 20 minutes against a Boston team playing its third game in four nights.
Guy Carbonneau said his guys "stopped skating, it was that simple" during the second period. For the final 20 minutes, Carbo used three lines and the Canadiens fired 17 shots at Tuukka Rask to bag a much-needed W.
The coach shortened his bench of necessity: Bryan Smolinski and Steve Bégin were hurt. But maybe more ice time for the big guns is an idea whose time has come.
So are the Canadiens back on track?
We’ll be able to gauge that better tomorrow night when Carolina is at the Bell Centre. Canadiens, you will recalll, beat the Bruins 7-4 on Nov. 17, lost to Ottawa two nights later and then dropped five of their next seven.
For now, however, there is much to celebrate:
• Ryan O’Byrne was excellent. He had two assists and two thundering checks on Milan Lucic. O’Byrne is a terrific skater for a guy his size and looked very comfortable with Roman Hamrlik. The Canadiens may finally have another Top Four defenceman.
• Maxim Lapierre got toasted on RDS and 110% for not dropping his gloves when challenged by Jeremy Reich. I don’t agree. The Bruins goon was looking to stir things up and got a 10-minute misconduct for his trouble after Francis Bouillon cleaned his clock. Lapierre wears a visor and won’t be the first NHL agitator who’s a non-pugilist. He brought speed, energy and attitude to the fourth line last night, and it was good to see.
• Faceoffs: Captain K won 13 of 18, Tomas Plekanec 14 of 21, Kyle Chipchura 8 of 13.
• Andrei Markov is back. Reunited with his road trip roomie, Mike Komisarek, Markov was plus-2 and played like the All-Star that he is. He also keyed a resurgent power play.
• Carey Price gained confidence as the game wore on. His positioning was consistently good, his puckhandling launched transition a few times and Price made big stops when he had to. All part of the learning process.
• Alex Kovalev played 20-plus minutes and had five shots. His line buzzed the Boston end (but their D makes me nervous).
• Bryan Smolinski may be out for a while with a knee knack. I wonder if Kostitsyn the Younger will get a call-up. Off last night’s effort, I gotta love the Canadiens’ youth movement.