By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
After being shut out by Montreal in Game 1 of the ECQF, the Bruins looked to bounce back in Game 2 and tie the series. It’s not that the Bruins did horrible in Game 1, they just ran into a hot goaltender in Carey Price, and Montreal converted on its chances. So, the gameplan for this game, convert convert convert, and don’t let Montreal control the pace of the game. If Boston could not win game 2, the numbers would not be in Boston’s favor. Not only would they fall in a 0-2 hole, but when the Bruins lose the first two games in a series, they are 0-26. Not a pleasing sight for the Bruins and their fans. The lineup would stay the same for the Canadiens; however, for the Bruins, they would be without captain Zdeno Chara who was out due to dehydration. Thomas and Price would get the start in net, and the Bruins looked to bounce back at the most important time of the year.
Canadiens get on the Board Early
The game was on, and right out of the gates, Montreal continued to pounce on opportunities. Just 43 seconds into the game, Michael Cammalleri potted the rebound and gave Montreal an early 1-0 lead. Not a good start for Boston. Game two for Boston kept getting worse as the period went on, as just a minute later, Dennis Seidenberg was whistled off for interference. Montreal was on the powerplay and looked to really put the pressure on Boston. Six seconds into the Montreal powerplay, Mathieu Darche got one past Thomas, and Montreal had really put the pressure on Boston now. TD Garden was silent, and the fans were in awe of the collapse happening in front of their eyes. The Bruins needed to wake up and start playing playoff hockey. It looked like that would happen as just seconds later, Milan Lucic was set up with a wide-open shot at Carey Price, but Price was able to make the save of the series up to this point.
Seconds after the halfway point of the period, Roman Hamrlik was sent to the box, and Boston was on its first powerplay of the night. This was a golden opportunity for Boston to get back in this game. Boston’s powerplay was shortly put to rest as Nathan Horton was called for roughing, and it was going to be 4-on-4 for 1:45. As the period was coming to a close, Hal Gill was called for cross-checking, and Boston would be on the powerplay for the last 33 seconds of the period. Although Boston outshot Montreal 15-8, Montreal converted on chances once again while Boston could not. The Bruins would have 1:28 of powerplay time at the start of the second period.
Bruins Finally Solve Price
Boston’s powerplay was unable to get anything going, and the second period progressed. Three minutes later, Milan Lucic was sent to the box, and Montreal looked to really blow this game out of proportion. During Montreal’s powerplay, Tomas Plekanec had a breakaway against Tim Thomas, but Thomas stuffed Plekanec’s slapshot and kept the Bruins in the game. At 7:38 of the second, the Bruins finally solved Carey Price. Brad Marchand received a pass from Mark Recchi at the left circle, Marchand found Bergeron in front of the net, and Bergeron put the puck past Price. It was now just a 2-1 Montreal lead. Krejci almost scored a wraparound goal seconds later, but Price stopped it. Boston had all the momentum now.
Five minutes later, a late hit from James Wisniewski on Rich Peverly would give the Bruins a powerplay opportunity. Shane Hnidy didn’t like the late hit and dropped the gloves with Wisniewski. Both were sent to the box, but Boston was still going to be on the powerplay. During the powerplay and the next few minutes, the Bruins had some unbelievable chances to tie the game, but Price was a brick wall in the net, and it was still 2-1 Montreal. With just under three minutes left in the period, Montreal made it a 3-1 game, all of Boston’s momentum was put to a halt. Yannick Weber was able to pot a rebound from Lars Eller’s initial wrist shot. The period quickly came to a close, and Montreal had a 3-1 lead going into the third. Boston’s gameplay going into the third was to continue firing shots on Price, obviously, but you had to convert on your chances. If they couldn’t, Montreal would be taking a 2-0 series lead back home at the Bell Centre.
Montreal wins; Lead series 2-0
Three minutes into the third, P.K Subban was whistled for tripping, and Boston would have another powerplay opportunity. This was a crucial time for Boston to convert and make it a one-goal deficit. However, Boston’s trend of not converting continued, and it was still a 3-1 Montreal lead. The next 15 minutes featured endless “Let’s go Bruins” chants from the crowd and missed opportunities for Boston. With 1:26 remaining in the game, Claude Julien called a timeout and tried to strategize to maybe miraculously score two goals in under two minutes. The Bruins were unable to do so, and that was it; Montreal won and had a 2-0 stranglehold on the Bruins.
The series would now shift up to Montreal, and the Canadiens would have home-ice advantage. What looked like the Bruins series to win now looked like Montreal’s series to win. The Bruins would be facing an immaculate mountain to climb, and if they could win both games in Montreal, it would be a miracle. The three stars of the game were Patrice Bergeron (one goal), Carey Price (34 saves, one goal allowed), and Michael Cammalleri (one goal, one assist). The series would resume on April 18th at the Bell Centre.