Your Montreal Canadiens have taken the series lead 1-0 over the not-so-big, not-so-bad Boston Bruins. A very convincing win for the Habs, who played a perfect road game. Carey Price was sensational – though Tim Thomas was hardly terrible. Although every player in a red-white-and-blue jersey pitched in, there were a few who really raised it a level or three.
Both teams started the first period with some fast, hard skating. But an excellent play by Scott Gomez to set up Brian Gionta to the left of Thomas made the difference. The captain sailed his shot past Thomas and it was game over for the Bruins. Penalties were even in the first, and while both teams had good chances, there were no goals scored on the PP throughout the entire game. Andrei Kostitsyn very courageously blocked a Zdeno Chara rocket and promptly retired to the locker room for the rest of the first. He was back to start the second, to the relief of many.
There was no scoring in the second, but after a strong first period by the Habs, Boston came out and tried to regain control. They outshot Montreal 18-6 but due to the amazing goaltending of Carey Price, were unable to tie the game. Price made some brilliant saves and his defencemen blocked some difficult shots – namely, Brent Sopel during a tough Bruins rally in front of Price.
In the third, things looked dicey for a while. A one-goal lead is no sure thing, and Boston was liable to tie it up – except the brilliant play of Price and every single member of the team would not allow that. They blocked shots, they pressured the Boston D, they created turnovers, they cleared the zone – and with sheer willpower did not allow Boston to even it up. And then Scott Gomez went and forced Milan Lucic, who was carelessly handling the puck, to turn it over. Gomez fed it to Gionta, who snapped his shot right between the legs of Tim Thomas. So now with under four minutes to go, all the Habs had to do was keep Boston from getting too close.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
First Star – Brian Gionta: What a night for the captain – two goals, true leadership by example and a brilliant night. Gionta was in the right time at the right place tonight and is off to a great start in the playoffs.
Second Star – Carey Price: Great shut-down game for Price, very few rebounds or second chances – and excellent puck-handling behind the net. A shutout to boot but most importantly a supremely confident performance. One game does not a playoff make, but Price looked more confident than
Halak – he never once looked behind him.
Third Star – Scott Gomez: Well, I guess it is true – he really does play better in the playoffs. If only he could play this well for even half of the regular-season games… No matter, let’s focus on the present and the good: Fantastic game for Gomez, who was aggressive and truly earned his two assists. They were beautiful passes to Gionta, and they basically won Montreal the game. What an elevation of play for Gomez – not just one notch, but six.
Honourable Mention: – Brent Sopel: Great game for Sopel, a performance that really exemplified how Stanley Cups are won. Tonight really validated his acquisition.
Honourable Mention: – Ryan White: Nobody accomplished as much as White did in his 7:51 minutes of ice time. He was hitting everything that moved and was so visible – he really set the tone of the game. Even Don Cherry, of all people, said that Ryan White “was out-Brooning the Bruins” which I found hysterical. Who would’ve thought it possible??
Notes: Honestly, everyone was chipping in tonight – Plekanec had a spectacular game, getting breakaways and open-net chance, playing hard … Nobody looked out of place or useless … Pyatt had a rare good game, but like I’ve said before, he was good in last year’s playoffs too … Subban was steady in a team-high 27:07 and seemed to thrive in all the hate he was getting in Boston … excellent win. On to Saturday and Game 2 of the series.