By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
We’ve got a series on our hand’s folks; after the Bruins lost the opening two games at home, they bounced back by stunning the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre and evening up the series 2-2. This was the fifth time in Bruin’s history that they tied the series after trailing 0-2. The Bruins would look to win the first home-ice game of this series. One of the big storylines coming into this game was Boston’s powerplay struggles. In this series, they were 0-12 on powerplays. Healthy scratches for Boston were Tyler Seguin and Shane Hnidy, while Montreal was without Yannick Weber, Paul Mara, and Benoit Pouliot. Tim Thomas and Carey Price would both get the start between the pipes once again.
Scoreless after One
Game 5 was underway, and T.D Garden was electric. After watching the last two games from home, Bruin’s fans were ecstatic to see their team back at the Garden with the series tied. The Bruins came out the gates with energy and quick shots on Carey Price, but Price continued his stellar goaltending. As every time Zdeno Chara touched the puck and got booed in the Bell Centre, P.K Subban would get the same treatment at T.D garden.
Just two minutes before the halfway mark of the period, Michael Ryder made arguably the best play of the series. As Mike Cammalleri was coming on a breakaway, he fired a quick wrist shot that Thomas was able to save, Plekanec picked up the rebound, and since Thomas was out of the crease, Ryder was in front of the net and made a miraculous glove save. The crowd was on their feet and loving it.
With just under six minutes remaining in the period, Andrew Ference was whistled for holding, and Montreal would get the first powerplay of the night. With Montreal’s powerplay having 30 seconds left, David Desharnais was called for interference. So, it would be 4-on-4 hockey for 30 seconds; then the Bruins would be on the powerplay for 1:30.
As the Bruins powerplay was able to generate some quality chances, with 36 seconds left, Rich Peverly was called for Goaltender Interference. Once again, it would be 4-on-4 hockey, then a Montreal powerplay for 1:24. Boston made the penalty kill, and after one, it was 0-0. Boston was able to outshoot Montreal 12-10 in the period; however, Boston was now 0-13 on powerplays in the series.
Still Scoreless after Two
2nd-period action was underway, and right away, Boston had a great chance to take a 1-0 lead. 1:53 into the period, Travis Moen was called for holding, and Boston looked to break its cold spell of failed powerplays. That wouldn’t happen, and Boston was now 0-14 on powerplays in the series. The halfway mark passed, and it was still a scoreless game. Boston was leading the shot total 18-12. With 9:01 left in the period, it looked like Montreal would be the first on the scoreboard.
Tomas Plekanec skated on a 2-on-1 breakaway, but Thomas made the pad save, and the period continued. With the period ending and the scoreboard showing a 0-0 tie, both teams’ patience was boiling over. A stoppage in front of Carey Price led to Brad Marchand and Tomas Plekanec’s receiving roughing penalties. It would be 4-on-4 hockey for the last 52 seconds of the period and then the first 1:08 of the third period. The shot totals after the 2nd period were, Boston-21, Montreal-16.
The last 20 minutes of regulation were underway, and both teams looked to break the scoreless tie. The first 1:08 featured 4-on-4 hockey and then even strength after that. Finally, at 4:33 into the period, the scoreless tie was broken by Brad Marchand. A pass in front of the net from Patrice Bergeron found a wide-open Brad Marchand, and Marchand was able to bury it. The garden was rocking, and Boston had all the momentum.
As the chances for Boston were adding up, the Garden attendance made sure Carey Price heard them chanting “Caaaarey, Caaaaarey.” At 13:04 of the third period, Claude Julien called a timeout to reassure their guys to not give in to Montreal’s antics and maintain a calm stature. Coming out of the timeout, it seemed as if Montreal had found something to build off of, and they were firing away shots on Tim Thomas.
Four minutes past the halfway mark of the period, Montreal tied the game up. After turning the puck over against the end board, Lars Eller found a wide-open Jeff Halpern in front of the net, and Halpern buried it. This was shaping up to be a Game 5 Classic for the ages. As the last six minutes of regulation winded down, both teams had their chances, but Tim Thomas and Carey Price held their ground, and for the second game in a row, we were going to Overtime.
2nd Overtime on its way
Sudden death play was underway, and both teams were skating back–and–forth trading chances. As both goaltenders were dominating between the pipes, it seemed that the only way you were going to get a puck past one of them was an unlucky bounce or a perfectly sequenced one-timer. With much of the overtime played and just under four minutes left to play, Brent Sopel was whistled for tripping, and Boston looked to finally converting on a powerplay at the most crucial moment of this series.
As the penalty was called, NESN play-by-play announced Jack Edwards was fuming as he thought it should’ve been a penalty shot for Bergeron instead of a powerplay. The call was confirmed as just a minor penalty for Brent Sopel. Boston’s trend of powerplay struggles continued as they were unable to convert once again, and they were now 0-14 on powerplays in the series. Neither team scored in the last 1:40 of overtime, and we were going to a second overtime. Shot totals up to this point were 44-Boston, 39 Montreal.
Nathan Horton becomes a Boston Hero
The second overtime was upon us, and the Boston faithful were eager for a Bruins goal to take a 3-2 series lead. Once again, both teams traded respective chances, and the action was entertaining, to say the least. As the overtime progressed, Bruins fans became tenser and tenser, not knowing the end result of this game. As the 14-minute mark was approaching, Tim Thomas made the save of the series. A 2-on-1 breakaway for Montreal left Tim Thomas stranded, forcing him to make a huge save, and he did just that.
The Boston crowd gave Thomas a standing ovation, and sudden death continued. Finally, at 9:03 into the second period, Nathan Horton was able to net the winning goal. A shot from Andrew Ference that was tipped on its way to net found Nathan Horton, and Horton buried it. It was the first time Boston led in the series and the first time a home team won a game in this series. The Boston crowd could finally breathe as this series was heading back to Montreal with Boston up 3-2. The series would resume on April 26th at the Bell Centre, with Boston having a chance to win the series.