The Montreal Canadiens had a special visitor in their dressing room before their tight 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night — golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
The Golden Bear was invited to address the team and announce their starting lineup. He obliged with a pep talk about being prepared and playing within themselves.
The Canadiens did not look all-that prepared as they were outshot 43-23 by the Bruins, but versatile winger Paul Byron managed to get the game winner when he performed the hockey equivalent of sinking a six-footer into an open net with 1:02 left in the third period.
Therrien said he got a call before the game from a friend who said that Nicklaus was in town and wanted to visit the Bell Centre.
“He asked if (Nicklaus) could visit the dressing room,” said Therrien. “I thought about it and we came up with the idea of having Jack talk to the players and give them the starting lineup.
“He was amazing. It took the players a few seconds to realize who he was. It was a nice moment.”
Shea Weber and Alex Galchenyuk also scored for Montreal (11-1-1), which posted a second straight win since a 10-0 defeat in Columbus on Friday night.
Colin Miller and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins (7-6-0), who still had legs in the third period despite playing a second game in as many nights after their 4-0 victory Monday night over Buffalo.
It was the third time in five games the Canadiens have allowed 40 or more shots. The Bruins had the edge in play most of the night, but once again, goalie Carey Price kept them in it with a near-flawless performance.
“We’re getting into trouble lately with the quality of our play with the puck,” said Therrien. “It’s a counter-attacking game and teams try to force the other side into mistakes.
“We need to win battles for the puck and the protect the puck and that’s what we’re having trouble with right now.”
Therrien’s best move may have been putting the speedy Byron onto the top attacking line with Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov. The unit combined for two goals.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with two super-talented guys like that,” said Byron, who has been used mostly on the third line and for penalty killing. “You have to seize the opportunity when you can because it’s not often I get to play on the first line with those guys.”
Byron poked in a loose puck from a scramble after Radulov passed it into the crease. The goal stood up to video review.
The Bruins gave rookie Zane McIntyre his second career start in goal. He didn’t think there was interference from Galchenyuk on the play.
“There are always highs and lows to a game, so it’s about managing the momentum shifts,” he said. “I think this building does a good job of magnifying that, too.
“I just made sure I stayed calm and composed as much as I could and tried to make the saves and give our team a chance to win.”
Boston had a 14-5 shot edge in the first period and kept up the pressure in the second, but it was Weber who got the first goal on a power play 3:58 into the second period. That started a run of three goals in a span of 70 seconds.
Andrei Markov slipped the puck to Weber on the left point for a blast inside the post for his fifth goal of the second and fourth with the man advantage.
Miller got his first of the season at 4:48 when his shot went off the end boards, off Carey Price’s stick and in the net.
Only 20 seconds later, Byron launched a Montreal counterattack and Radulov flipped a pass that Galchenyuk controlled for a backhanded goal, his fifth of the campaign.
Boston tied it 2-2 with one second left in a power play at 6:38 of the third when Pastrnak took a feed from John-Michael Liles and drilled a shot to the top corner from the left circle. It was the seventh power-play goal allowed by Montreal in its last three games.
Both teams are in the midst of busy weeks. The Bruins string of five games in seven days concludes with games against Columbus, Arizona and Colorado. Montreal began a run of four games in six nights that sees them play host to Los Angeles on Thursday and Detroit on Saturday before moving to Chicago on Sunday.Report Typo/Error