For the second straight game, the Habs had a two goal lead in the third
period. For the second straight game, they blew that lead. Unlike
Game 1 though, they were unable to recover from it as a 4-goal burst from Boston
in the final frame earned them a 5-3 victory on Saturday afternoon, squaring the
series at one win apiece.
Both teams made personnel changes for this one. Michael Bournival
re-entered the lineup for Montreal, replacing Travis Moen, essentially flipping
the swap they made for the prior game although Bournival spent the better part
of the game on the second line instead of in Moen’s fourth line role. The
Bruins made two moves, as Andrej Meszaros came in for Matt Bartkowski on the
blueline while Jordan Caron replaced rookie Justin Florek.
It didn’t take long for Boston to show that they intended for this game to be
even more physical than the first one. In fact, they made it known before
the opening faceoff as Brad Marchand and Brendan Gallagher got into a shoving
match. The Bruins spent the first few minutes trying to intimidate the
Canadiens and get the crowd going and it seemed to work as the fans were loud
and Montreal was on its heels early.
Francis Bouillon scored a key goal for the Habs in Game 1.
Unfortunately for them, his ‘goal scoring prowess’ worked in the Bruins’ favour
in this one as a Dan Paille shot deflected off the blueliner past Carey Price to
open the scoring. Montreal didn’t respond particularly well as they were
quiet for most of the period and went into the room trailing 1-0.
Things were better in the second stanza, however, as Mike Weaver opened up
the scoring just over a minute in on a feed from Tomas Plekanec to tie it.
The play and chances were relatively even for most of the period before things
got strange. Lars Eller was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for
spraying Tuukka Rask but it wasn’t called right away. The Bruins reacted
and earned themselves a roughing minor, creating a 4-on-4 situation.
Seconds later, Meszaros took a roughing penalty, give Montreal a powerplay.
The Habs took advantage of the 4-on-3 situation as Thomas Vanek tipped home a
P.K. Subban shot to give the Canadiens their first lead of the game. Prior
to the faceoff at centre after the goal, Jarome Iginla and Gallagher got into a
shoving match. Out of nowhere, the Bruins were assessed an
unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the bench. The Canadiens didn’t
capitalize on that man advantage but it was certainly an odd final few minutes
of the period.
Vanek scored his second of the afternoon, another powerplay goal on a
redirected Subban shot to give Montreal a two goal lead at the 6:30 mark of the
third. The Canadiens carried the play for the better part of the first
half of the period; the Bruins were unable to muster a single shot towards Price
until 8:29 had elapsed. It was after that where things went downhill,
The Bruins were the top scoring team in the third period in the regular
season. By the time the final minutes played out, they were the top
scoring third period team in the playoffs as well. Dougie Hamilton got
things going as he snapped one past Price with roughly nine minutes left.
Patrice Bergeron tied it a few minutes later from a tough angle; the puck
changed direction right in front of Price who had little to no chance of
stopping it. Barely two minutes after that, Reilly Smith gave the Bruins
the lead and there was no comeback to be had as Milan Lucic sealed it with an
empty netter. In total, they tallied four goals in just 7:58 to quash any
hopes of Montreal coming home with a 2-0 series lead.
Rask made 25 saves on 28 shots for the win while Price turned aside 30 of 34
in the loss. Special teams were a positive for the Canadiens for the
second straight game as they held the Bruins off the scoresheet in their three
chances (including a one minute two-man advantage) while scoring twice with the
powerplay for the second time in a row.
HW 3 Stars of the Afternoon
1st Star: Thomas Vanek – Although he didn’t play as well as
we’ve seen him play since he joined the team, his Game 2 effort was much better.
He was well positioned for both of his goals which should help his confidence as
the series progresses; the top line will need to be a factor before the series
ends. He now has an eight game point streak in Game 2’s, dating back to
his rookie season.
Stats: 2 goals, even rating, 3 shots, 16:57 TOI
2nd Star: Carey Price – It’s not often that a goalie allows
four goals and winds up getting a star but this game wasn’t on him. A
couple of the goals he allowed were on late redirections while he didn’t have
much of a chance on the winner. He also made several key saves, especially
when they were scuffling in the first half of the game. He wasn’t the
reason they lost this one.
Stats: 4 GA on 34 shots, 4.05 GAA, .882 SV%
3rd Star: Mike Weaver – For some reason, he has found his
offensive form since joining the Habs; his goal today gives him nine points in
just 23 games with the team. The goal isn’t what put him here though.
He was simply fantastic on the penalty kill, especially in the 3-on-5 situation.
He didn’t see a ton of action as Michel Therrien went primarily with four
blueliners in the second half of the game but he was effective for the most part
when he was out there.
Stats: 1 goal, even rating, 2 shots, 4 blocks, 13:08 TOI
Honourable Mention: Josh Gorges – Like Weaver, his defensive
presence earns him the nod. Gorges’ reputation is that of a fearless shot
blocker and he lived up to that mantra in Game 2, blocking what would have been
several quality scoring chances from the Bruins.
Stats: 0 points, -1 rating, 1 hit, 6 blocks, 21:10 TOI
Stat of the Afternoon: There have been 52 playoff games
played so far this postseason. Teams have blown 2-goal leads in 20 of
those contests. Suffice it to say, these late collapses are not unique to