The Montreal Canadiens met and beat the Boston Bruins for the 8th and last time in this regular season last night with a hard fought 3-2 victory that took a shootout to decide. Congratulations to the Bruins who, during the last meeting of the year, gave the Habs some food for thought in the event that they meet in the 2008 playoffs.
The Boston Bruins left alot to be desired in the first 6 meetings between the two, falling into penalty trouble in the early going and usually heading to the dressing room after the 1st in a 2 goal hole. You saw a hint of change during Thursdays meeting when both teams went into the midway point of the 2nd deadlocked at 0-0. The Bruins even managed to stay out of the box relatively all night. The Habs found a way to win that game thanks to a great game by Carey Price and of course, on that night, the unstoppable force called Kovalev.
Yesterday's game was no different. Yes, the Habs came out like gangbusters as Markhov scored unassisted in the first 2 minutes and change of the game, but the home team is supposed to. On this night though, it was a different Bruins team that faced the Eastern Conference leaders. Not only were they up for the challenge, but they made sure they kept up with and tried to beat the Canadiens at their own up-tempo game, coming back 6 minutes later to tie it up on a Marc Savard wrap-around goal that made Carey Price look quite out of position. The Habs took the lead back a minute and thirteen later with a nifty Andre Kostitsyn backhand and the Bell Centre went crazy. Another easy win against the lowly Bruins, right? ....Don't you believe it!
Boston scored at the midway point of the 2nd and that was enough to take it to overtime. Both goalies played true to their form, Price played good positional hockey, and Tim Thomas prayed that the puck hit him (not fair, I know, but let's face it folks, he isn't going to be selling any "how to" DVD's any time soon, now is he??)
Thomas was good enough to stop both Mark Streit and Alex Kovalev in the shootout and Carey Price was perfect against all three Boston shooters including a cannon fro m Zdeno Chara who tee'd it up off the hash-marks. In the end it was a "half" a Koivu shootout play that ended up beating Thomas. I say half because usually, Koivu swings back to his forehand after deking and faking backhand, but decided to stay backhand and put it past a surprised Thomas who might still be waiting for the rest of the move.
The Habs have surely shown they can beat the Bruins, they got over their phobia of the Devils (beating them 3 of 4 times this year). The next "must win" (are there any other kinds??) is Monday night when the Canadians HAVE to get the Senator Monkey off their backs. Expect an intense game folks !
Unsung Hero of the game?
Josh Gorges who picked up the slack replacing injured Mike Komisarek on the top D line with Markov logging a whopping 25:04 minutes and ending the evening with a +1. Looks like Josh is coming into his own here in Montreal. Not bad for a kid who couldn't buy his way onto the team at the beginning of the season.
Who's wife did Mathieu Dandenault sleep with to put him so deep in the Montreal doghouse that management has seen it best to put Bryan Smolinski on the ice instead of him after Komisarek is known to be out for at least 3 weeks?? Dandy was originally a defenseman for the Habs but has been playing forward of late, when he has played... Alas, methinks that it is more Dandenault's words than his actions that have irked coaching staff and perhaps some players to the point that it's just better for all involved if Dandeanult was to ride out the rest of the season sitting in the clubhouse.
I might want to share my views on this issue on another post, but while life is good in Habdom, no sense writing about the bad when there is too much good going on.