An impatient display from the Boston Bruins allowed Montreal to tie the series and take the game back to Boston for a deciding seventh game. In a gritty and bad-tempered match, Montreal took advantage of two 5-on-3 opportunities to tie up the series at 3-3.
The Canadiens took to the ice without David Desharnais, who has been playing out of his skin throughout the series. However, the Habs’ experienced players upped the tempo when it mattered.
Montreal thought they had taken an early lead when Tim Thomas failed to hold a Scott Gomez shot, and captain Brian Gionta was on hand to fire home the rebound. However, referee Kevin Pollock had blown his whistle prematurely – much to the anger of the Bell Centre crowd.
Boston’s penalty trouble
The home side were given a slice of luck moments later, however, when the Bruins were handed a too many men on the ice penalty. Three seconds later Dennis Seidenberg slashed Mike Cammalleri to hand Montreal a two-man advantage for almost two minutes. Patient build-up from PK Subban set up Cammalleri for the one-timer which flew past Thomas to open the scoring.
The Bruins caught the Habs napping early in the second period as Seidenberg tied up the scores with under a minute on the clock. However, a petulant and dangerous hit would swing the momentum back in favor of the Canadiens.
Milan Lucic, who has struggled during the series, hammered Jaroslav Spacek into the boards face first, with a nasty hit from behind. The Czech finally got to his feet with his head dripping with blood, but it was the end of Lucic’s game. Moments later, Patrice Bergeron was penalized for dumping the puck out of play, giving Montreal another two-man advantage.
Subban and Cammalleri connected again and although Thomas made a good stop, nobody picked up Gionta who finally scored.
Bruins’ faltering power play
The visitors had several good chances to tie the game on the power play. However, the Bruins have not scored a single power play goal during the series with the Habs. Boston made very little movement during three consecutive penalties during the second period.
In the six games played, Boston have not managed a single power play goal. Meanwhile, Montreal’s special teams took control with confident power play kills and two power play goals.
Montreal were far from dominating against the Bruins, but managed to create some impressive goal-scoring chances. Thomas once again made some inspirational stops to keep his team in the game as the Bruins’ offense struggled to adapt against a more physical Montreal mentality.
Montreal struggling defensively
Carey Price made 30 saves to take the series to game seven. Price made some magnificent stops, particularly in the third period in which Montreal’s defense fell to pieces.
James Wisniewski pulled out prior to the game, and with Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges still missing – responsibility was put on the shoulders of Roman Hamrlik. However, the Czech blue-liner struggled as he has done throughout the series and he took a needless penalty midway through the second period to shift momentum back to the Bruins.
Subban has had a relatively quiet series statistically. The youngster has one goal and two assists, but has been pivotal defensively. After playing for over 40 minutes during game five, Subban led Montreal with 27 minutes during game six.
Montreal’s blue-line was forced to scramble the puck away on several occasions due to some terrible organization. Tomas Plekanec was able to dominate defensively, including a huge hit on Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. However, the Czech was unable once again to make a difference on the score-board.
Bruins causing their own downfall
Game Six was Boston’s to win. With the Bruins’ offense starting to come together and a depleted Montreal defense, they had every chance of ending the series in Montreal. Montreal lost a lot of important face-offs throughout the game. However, on several occasions Montreal found themselves thrown out of the circle – slowing any Boston momentum.
Boston were frustrated for large periods of the game, and it showed. Chara couldn’t create anything offensively and made several errors himself. Lucic’s hit and the bad penalties taken summed up Boston’s disappointing night.
Montreal had good reason to be aggrieved following Gionta’s disallowed goal but didn’t dwell on it. Instead, the Canadiens waited for Boston to make mistakes and their experienced players took full advantage.