When the Boston Bruins were booed off the ice after twenty minutes trailing by a game and two goals against Montreal, they knew they were in for a long night.
Zdeno Chara was sorely missed, and the Canadiens took full advantage of their chances for the second game running, while the Bruins again found it hard to solve Carey Price who made 34 massive saves.
The Bruins were feeling the pressure after losing game one, and had to do it without Chara, who missed the game through dehydration. Early strikes from Mike Cammalleri and the excellent Mathieu Darche were too much for the Bruins to recover from, giving Montreal a 2-0 series lead.
“We’re a good team when we jump out and get the lead, good starts are obviously important for us” said Price. “We’ve got to come out with the same effort at home as we did here.”
The effort shown by the entire Montreal roster will please head-coach Jacques Martin with all four lines working well together. Montreal’s commitment and quick offensive play was causing havoc with Tim Thomas called into action on several occasions during a pulsating and physical game.
Montreal wasted little time in stunning the home crowd as a bullet from James Wisniewski was saved by Thomas, but the rebound found its way to Mike Cammalleri who opened the scoring after 43 seconds.
The Bruins were lacking organization without their captain, and a bad bounce off the boards nearly allowed Tom Pyatt to double Montreal’s lead with the goal gaping. Frustrated Dennis Seidenberg took an interference penalty moments later and Mathieu Darche struck to give the home side a mountain to climb.
The Bruins did finally beat Price in the second period, when Patrice Bergeron found some space to redirect the puck past Carey Price. Boston were building some momentum as they searched for the equalizer, but a carbon copy of Montreal’s first goal allowed Yannick Weber to all but seal Montreal’s second win of the series.
Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta couldn’t match the influence they had in game one, but their commitment and the rest of their team’s passion cannot be questioned. Boston tried increasing their physical presence to jump-start a comeback back the Habs didn’t back down as they brought their own aggression to the ice, culminating in Wisniewski and Shane Hnidy dropping the gloves mid-way through the second period.
Despite going 2-0 up in the series, with two games at the Bell Centre to come, Montreal are far from home and dry.
“We’ve got to be happy with what we did but we can’t be satisfied. We’ve got to go back to Montreal and it’s just going to get tougher” said Mathieu Darche after the game. “I’m sure they’re not happy and they’re going to come out with a vengeance.”
Last year, Boston let a three-game lead slip against the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs and will need to produce something special in Montreal to turn the series around.
Boston will go to Montreal knowing they have to win at all costs, and Zdeno Chara will certainly be heavily involved in rallying the troops. The Bruins have not won in Montreal since February 2010, having failed in their last four attempts. The Bruins have also never won a playoff series after losing the first two games.
The Bruins will practice at Lake Placid before game three on Monday, the site of the ‘miracle on ice’ in 1980, knowing they need a miracle of their own to take the series back to Boston.