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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Early in the day when the referees were revealed, everyone knew it was going to be a penalty filled match in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Fortunately for the Habs, they took advantage of their powerplay opportunities as they scored on a pair of two-man advantages. Those goals held up as Montreal forced a 7th game, doubling up the Bruins by a score of 2-1.
The Habs started the scoring just past the midway point of the 1st period. Montreal was on a lengthy two-man advantage as a result of a too-many-men penalty followed by a slash just 3 seconds later. Mike Cammalleri picked up his 3rd of the playoffs as he slapped one past Tim Thomas in his favourite place at the faceoff dot. There were a pair of last minute penalties in the frame to make it 4-on-4 to start the 2nd.
Boston took advantage of there being less skaters out as they quickly established a cycle on the Habs; Dennis Seidenberg rotated from the blueline all the way behind the net. From there, he shook off a falling Jaroslav Spacek and stuffed one past Carey Price to tie it up before the period was a minute old. Minutes later, Spacek was at the centre of another play we'll be seeing on the highlights as Milan Lucic injured the Czech defender on a boarding play that saw him get 5 minutes plus a game misconduct. Spacek did return late in the 2nd though.
As was the case in the 1st period, Boston quickly took another penalty, this time it was for delay of game, sending the Canadiens to another lengthy two-man advantage. Brian Gionta got open at the side of the net and deposited a pass from Scott Gomez to make it 2-1, which wound up being the winner. As usual, the Habs tried to protect their small lead, so they didn't generate much of an attack in the 3rd. Boston's momentum in that final frame was quashed by another penalty, which allowed the Habs to kill the majority of the final three and a half minutes off with the man advantage.
Price turned aside all but one of Boston's 32 shots for the win while Thomas made 25 saves in the loss. The Habs were 2/7 on the powerplay while the Bruins continued their 0-for-the-series run, going 0/4.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Mike Cammalleri (1 goal, 1 assist, -1 rating, 5 shots, 5/9 faceoffs, 25:13 TOI)
He has come up big before in elimination games and did so again in Game 6, factoring in on both goals while being a threat all night. He won a few key faceoffs as well; it's handy to have a winger who is generally proficient on the draw with all of the mind-numbing faceoff ejections we're seeing in this series, but that's another story.
2nd Star: Carey Price (31 saves on 32 shots, .969 SV%, 1.00 GAA)
After coughing up at least one goal that could be classified as soft in each of the two home losses, there was a lot of pressure on Price. Unfortunately for him, the one goal he did allow was also of that soft variety but to his credit, he didn't let anything else beat him. His rebound control was strong in the 3rd which certainly played a role in the Habs hanging on.
3rd Star: Brian Gionta (1 goal, even rating, 6 shots, 24:38 TOI)
Although I hate having the same 3 stars as the official ones, it's hard not to put Gionta here. He did have the game winning goal while leading both teams in shots. He also happened to have the most shots taken that didn't hit the net (3 missed while 2 others were blocked). It's best if he just keeps on firing.
Honourable Mention: Roman Hamrlik (-1 rating, 2 PIMS, 8 blocks, 22:05 TOI)
Was he the 4th best player for the Habs? Not really, but I just wanted to call attention to the 8 blocks he had. By comparison, all of Boston's forwards combined had half that many. He has (deservedly) taken some heat in this series but this was a huge bounce back game.
Stats of the Night: After being beaten badly (and I mean badly) in Games 1 through 5 on the draw, Scott Gomez had a very strong night at the faceoff dot going 9 for 15, good for 60%. His previous series high in success rate? 42%. This win snapped Carey Price's 7-game losing streak at home in the playoffs, spanning 3 different years. This is the 5th time in 5 tries that the Habs have successfully forced a Game 7 against Boston after trailing a series 3-2. Speaking of Game 7, the time is now officially set for that one, it will go at 7 PM EST tomorrow night in Boston.
- NHL Statsheet