The Montreal Canadiens pulled out a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins to start their series in the NHL quarter finals. The Habs scored just 2:44 into the game on a Tomas Kaberle giveaway. Kaberle backhanded the puck attempting to move it out of the Bruins zone and was intercepted by Scott Gomez. Gomez preceded to center the puck to Brian Gionta to give the Habs the early lead.
The win is huge for Montreal as they now steal center ice for the series. What went right for Montreal and wrong for Boston?
Number Five- Brian Gionta’s Early Goal
The atmosphere at the TD Garden was electric as the Bruins entered the ice to start the first period, and Boston came out hitting and playing with an energy. But the errant pass by Kaberle and early score from Gionta sucked the air out of the building and set the pace for the night. Montreal settled into a deep defense-first system and stopped any good scoring chances for Boston. The Gionta goal allowed the Canadiens to sit back and gain confidence that they can beat the Bruins.
Since the Canadiens loss to Boston by the score of 7-0 on March 8th, Montreal is 4-3 and in the 11 games before that they were 7-4. In the stretch during the Boston loss they got shut out in three straight games. The Bruins had also scored a combined 15 goals in three games vs Montreal, an average of five goals a game. The goal by Gionta put some confidence back into the Canadiens that they could beat the Bruins.
Number Four- Brad Marchand’s Missed Scoring Chance
The Bruins had their best scoring chance was with 3:53 left in the second period. A pass from Kaberle left Marchand wide open to the right side of the net and an open net. As Price tried to move to the other side of the net to make the save, Marchand whiffed as the puck skirted behind him and the scoring chance was past. The play was similar to the Gionta goal except he executed compared to Marchand. Marchand also had two breakaway opportunities he could not convert on.
He also took a pretty bad penalty when he interfered with Thomas Plekanec with 1:10 left in the second. The penalty did not result in a goal but it shows the kind of game it was for Marchand.
Number Three- Bruins Defense
All six Bruins defensemen struggled last night, no exceptions. Zdeno Chara had the worst game of all, and looked lost at times. Dennis Seidenberg also had his problems, getting beat on the second Montreal goal and was on the ice for the first. Johnny Boychuk allowed several pucks under his stick on the offensive blueline and Kaberle was the reason behind the first goal.
Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid also had their struggles, and the defensive core as a whole suffered a sluggish game. The Bruins are a defensive minded team under Claude Julian, and if their defense continues to struggle they may not have the offense to bounce back.
Number Two- Carey Price
Price absolutely stood on his head. His last two games in Boston he allowed eight and then five goals, and was 1-3-1 all time vs the Bruins at the Garden in the playoffs. But in this game he played fantastic, though quite a few shots were directed right into his mid section. Nonetheless, Price made all the saves and did not allow any rebounds that resulted in scoring chances. He has had his struggles vs Boston, and no matter how many pucks he saw he made all the saves.
Number One- Bruins Mentality
Look at some of these quotes from the Bruins; “Who said it was frustrating? We just didn’t score a goal. I think we did a lot of good things. We just couldn’t score a goal.”- Zdeno Chara
Earlier in the week Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was asked what a successful playoff trip would be and he answered losing in the Eastern Conference Finals. How is that the right mentality? You have to question the motives behind this team.