Now that the gala celebration of Chris Nilan’s birthday is history, circle this date on your calendars:
Boston at the Bell Centre.
There will be blood.
By then, the trading deadline will have come and gone.
Will the Canadiens beef up before Feb. 28?
Strip away all the nonsense – and there was a lot of it in that 8-6 goon show – and the bottom line is what’s it been for a long time.
Two words: Too small.
Michel Bergeron convulsed his fellow Antichambre panelists with a length rant about Hal Gill: “Six feet-22 … and he has to go to the bench so the trainer can help him get his gloves off” when the game gets rough.
Funny stuff – but Gill wasn’t the worst of the Canadiens. That dubious honour was a three-way split among Scott Gomez and his linemates: Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn.
They were each minus-four on the game.
They played their last shift three minutes into the third period.
Gomez was 0-7 on faceoffs. How does an experienced Top Six centre – and we won’t even talk about the salary – win NOT ONE FACEOFF?
Eller played 7:21. How are you on for four goals in 11 shifts?
Well, at least the kid’s benching saved Eller from getting punched out in the waning seconds of an 8-6 game.
Tom Pyatt wasn’t as lucky.
The Canadiens’ fourth-liner was cut to ribbons in a fight with Gregory Campbell because the Bruin had an elbow pad loose. So the plastic cut into Pyatt’s face as the son of the NHL’s chief disciplinarian rained punches on him.
Tomas Plekanec managed to win 12 of 25 faceoffs. But the Canadiens’ best forward was on against Zdeno Chara more often than not, and he struggled against the Boston colossus.
Weird stat: Chara was minus-1 on a n ight his team won big.
David Krejci and Nathan Horton were plus-5 and Milan Lucic was plus-4. They are big forwards, and no one in a white jersey could handle them (at least until Benoit Pouliot KOed Krejci).
The Bruins spent the night in Carey Price’s kitchen. The Canadiens’ goaltender has had better games, but he didn’t get much help from his teammates.
James Wisniewski had two assists and brought the power play back to life. But Wiz has issues in his end of the ice, and maybe 24 minutes was a bit much for a guy who’d missed the previous two games with strep throat.
It was a stupid game, with all the goonery hugely appreciated by the crowd at TD Garden.
I bet you didn’t know The Departed was a documentary.
Not much time to lick wounds.
The Islanders are at the Bell Centre Thursday night.
More once I’ve slept on a disappointing game.