Saturday, May 03, 2014

Boston-Montreal Gam2 #2: Bruins Claw Back to Even Series

Date: 03/05/2014
Opponent: Bruins
Location: Boston

Loss: 3-5

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (W)

Habs goalscorers: Weaver, Vanek (2)
Opposition goalscorers: Paille, Hamilton, Bergeron, Smith, Lucic

Play of the game

Boston needed this win and needed the quick start. They got it (albeit in a strange way after all their pressure). The play of the game for the Canadiens was to wrest the lead back from a team that has won an astounding 44 of 52 games in which they scored first. The 4-on-3 conversation on the TV made the play seem mundane and imprecise. It was oh so patient. The passes, the wait for the opening. It was made eventually by a quick cross seam by Pacioretty to Subban. Vanek moves inches in anticipation and Subban passes at shooting speed. The goal gives Rask no chance. Opening his account Vanek. And no less important: Pacioretty. This will count for something in the coming games.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome


Thomas Vanek

If he only did two things right all night, then he only did two things right. Of course that's gross exaggeration, but the point is Vanek is valued for his scoring. He scored twice -- goals that many will never even tip out of the air in their careers. This adds vital new dimension to the team just when they needed it again.

Max Pacioretty

He's alive. After 39 goals in the season and a turn as the mainstay of the Habs offense, I was beginning to get worried. We can thank David Desharnais for waking this guy up very early in the first with a nice play to get him a free shot. I actually celebrated the play that didn't go in, because I thought I saw a monkey fly off Pacioretty's stick along with the puck. I think I was right. The team didn't win, but it got it's number one line working. Pacioretty will be absolutely vital going forward as he is the speed and much of the muscle in those attacks. To beat these Bruins always required the Desharnais line contributing, and I was happy enough with Max's performance in this one to say that I expect them back.

Brendan Gallagher

Drawing penalties and causing havoc in the offensive zone. Do no more than rewatch his effort on Weaver's goal to understand what this forward means to the team. He steals the puck, very nearly scores, never gives up on the play and then gets back into the fray to cause traffic. Because we have Gallagher's desire, this series will be a battle the whole way. One could easily harp on the fact he was on the ice for a few of the collapse goals, or that he played quite a large part in the winning goal's trajectory. I won't punish him for being a victim of circumstance.


PK Subban - Game Puck

On the way to a big review, his presence on the ice for the winning goal. Oh, and perhaps for nearly getting injured by the buffoon that is Shawn Thornton (wincing a lot for someone who needed a two minute break), which seemed to add fuel to the Bruins smouldering fire. Two more assists for Subban, tip-in set-ups, are all the more amazing considering the attention he receives from the penalty killers.He is so important to Montreal at the front, but also at the back. I can't wait to see how he makes the dome from the energized Bell Centre.

Josh Gorges

The Canadiens were in the midst of discovering some nice things when the Bruins threw a few lucky potshots to get their win. One was that Josh Gorges is capable of winning his matchups. In terms of shot/possession statistics Gorges was the only Hab to come out on top. He did this despite being the blocked shot leader of the game at the same time. When the Habs were cruising, drawing penalties and slowing Boston to a mere shot in the 3rd, Gorges was putting in wonderful shifts. Rather than dwell on the puck luck that threw the Bruins the win their shot dominance says they deserve, dwell on this.


Carey Price

Carey Price had this team looking like they would do the highly unlikely: win two in Boston while being outshot in two games and outplayed in more than one game's worth of road time. His first two periods were impeccable, and only marred by a rather innocuous shot turned unstoppable top corner marker by Bouillon's heel. Carey has work to do like the rest of the team though. He is not to blame for a collapse, but still complicit in ti with his teammates. The team needed at least one more unlikely save. Alas, he had given them all away early. This is not the impetuous boy who unseated Huet. We can see his determination now, and he has gained the understanding that one Cup run may be all anyone gets in a career, no matter who they are. He is dialled in as CBC says. Part of that will be working on things he can do to find that extra unlikely save.


There's a half pint of Molson on the table right now for the Habs. And they need to take that beer and enjoy it. The order of events in Boston may lead some to ask how Montreal would ever come back from a defeat like that. The difference between this one and the one Toronto suffered is that they have a chance to show everyone.

If anyone had said that Montreal would come away from Boston with a win, we'd all have been happy. If the suggestion that Montreal would only trail in Boston for 10:45, we'd have laughed them off. If anyone had said the team would stave off a Boston 3rd period return to win once, we'd be elated, twice, well...

Look, this team did its job in Boston. Agonizing over what could have been is not going to help.There is as much positive as negative here.  I hope the team drinks that in.

The feeling after Game #1 was that of a steal. We all saw how the team could not going on playing that way and win eve one more game. The positive then here is that the team did a credible job of making their case for the better team in this one. Had they held as they were at 51 minutes, I don't think anyone could argue otherwise. After the first, we were still riding Bourque, Eller and those we kinda always knew could burn out at any second. More to show after this one. Boston focused on the Gionta trio and the others did better with the space they got.

Make no mistake, Boston are still favourites, but their weaknesses are clearer now than when I wrote them down before the series. The rookie D are making rookie mistakes (penalties so far mostly), the 4th line is not as good as the ice time they get. Julien is rigid.

If I take one more positive, it is this. In the pitted battle of a playoff series, one wants to hold onto whatever advantages there might be, no matter how slim (Imagine Montreal never chased Martin Gerber from the net in their exuberant two-game opening in 2006). Paille scored on a bounce -- their worst player will get more ice time because of it. Focusing on Eller and Bourque more got Julien a win -- he'll be lucky if he comes off unscathed when Pacioretty gets on against Miller next game. Thornton looked injured, but wasn't -- thank goodness that buffoon will still play minutes that should go to others.

Buck up Habs fans. The glass really is half full. Home ice is in Montreal. The Bruins haven't imposed anything on anyone yet. This series is wide open and it's going to exciting all the way.



  1. I think you saw more from V and P than most of us, which is why it is always good to read your analyses. I think the fact, however, that they are in the dome speaks volumes about the team in general.

    1. Vanek did what he needs to do -- twice. Simple as that in his case. Pacioretty wasn't at his high-flying best, but he had a decent game and was improved over the 1st game and all the Tampa series (just about). It was a toss between he and Desharnais, but I had more interesting things to say about Pac.

  2. weaver should be noted: looks like he is playing for a contract and he really wants to stay. he is doing well on both ends of ice and few penalties, solid D.

  3. Since the two boston games were so close together, I think this interval will be the first oportunity for the habs to have a full practice since series began.

    They'll need to working on cutting off those vicious cross-ice passes the bruins seem to pull off so expertly.