(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau NHLI)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

Game seven is here, and the tension couldn’t be any higher. The winner would move on, while the loser would watch the rest of the playoffs from home. Boston had the home-ice advantage, and you know that T.D Garden would be packed, and the atmosphere would be electric. The winner of this game would face the Philadelphia Flyers in the next round. But first, we had to get through tonight. Boston’s biggest struggle in this series has been their powerplay, they are 0-19, and they looked to change that tonight. Along with Boston’s powerplay struggles, they had to keep their attitude at a standstill and stay out of the box.

Much of the reason they lost Game six was their ability to not stay out of the penalty box, which included Milan Lucic getting a Game Misconduct and thrown out of the game. Starting goaltenders would be Tim Thomas and Carey Price, who have been nothing but spectacular in this series. Healthy scratches for Boston were Shane Hnidy and Tyler Seguin. Montreal was without David Desharnais, Paul Mara, Alexandre Picard, and Benoit Pouliot. Buckle up, folks, Game seven is here.  

Bruins Start Hot

Game seven was underway, and the Garden was deafening. You could hear every one of the 17,565 fans in the Garden. Right away, Boston was getting shots on Carey Price and making him feel the pressure. Just 3:31 into the game, Boston was on the board. A crisp pass from Brad Marchand found Johnny Boychuk, and Boychuk fired a Johnny Rochet to make it 1-0 Boston. What a start for Boston. 2:02 later, veteran Mark Recchi scored again for Boston, and it was now 2-0 Boston.

The B’s were buzzing, and as a Bruins fan, you couldn’t have asked for a better start. However, at the 8:22 mark, Michael Ryder was whistled for hooking, and Montreal had the first powerplay of the night. A great opportunity for Montreal to come back in this game. The Canadiens made sure to take advantage of the powerplay and make it a 2-1 deficit. Yannick Weber beat Thomas over the glove on a shot from the right side. 

With just under four minutes remaining in the period, Shawn Thornton was called for elbowing, and Montreal had another powerplay. It seemed as if all the momentum that the Bruins had in the first half of the penalty had now gone away. As Montreal’s powerplay approached its final seconds, Andre Kostitsyn was called for high-sticking. It would be four-on-four for three seconds with a Bruins powerplay following to close out the first. The Bruins looked to break its 0-19 powerplay skid. Once again, the Bruins didn’t convert and were now 0-20 on powerplays in this series. The period ended one second later. With one period in the books of Game seven, Boston led Montreal 2-1.  

Montreal Claws Back

Second-period action was underway, and right away, Boston had a powerplay opportunity to make it a 3-1 lead. Lars Eller was sent to the box for cross-checking at the 4:41 mark of the period. Maybe this is the one that ends the protracted drought. It was not; in fact, the powerplay for Boston resulted in a shorthanded goal for Montreal to make it a 2-2 tie. With 51 seconds left on Boston’s powerplay, Tomas Plekanec took advantage of a Bruins turnover at the redline. Plekanec had an open breakaway and beat Tim Thomas on a forehand shot from the slot. Boston’s stellar start to this game was now not present, and Montreal was riding momentum.

Throughout the second period, Boston couldn’t get the offense going, and Montreal’s defense was playing well, keeping the opportunities short. With 1:48 left in the second, Johnny Boychuk was called for boarding, and Montreal would be on a powerplay for the rest of the period. Montreal couldn’t get anything to go, and the second period was in the books. When the third period starts, Montreal will be on the powerplay for 12 seconds.  

Game Seven Sudden Death Coming Up

The third period started, and Boston killed off the last 12 seconds of the remaining Montreal powerplay. 8:30 into the third period, an awkward hit by Andrew Ference left Jeff Halpern knocked out on the ice. No penalty was assessed, but Halpern was sent to the dressing room. 1:14 later, Chris Kelly scored and put Boston back on top 3-2. Chris Kelly opened the play by smashing Roman Hamrlik along the right-side boards, and he finished the play by beating Carey Price on a backhand rebound shot from outside the right post. With Boston back on top, they looked to ride the momentum to the end of the period and send Montreal packing their bags.

 6:40 left in regulation, Claude Julien called a timeout to reassure his guys to stay calm and play smart. With the final minutes approaching in the period and Boston still on top, it looked like Boston was going to coast to a 3-2 win. However, with 2:37 remaining in regulation, Bergeron was called for high-sticking. This was a huge opportunity for Montreal to tie the game late in regulation. 40 seconds into the Montreal powerplay, Tomas Plekanec passed the puck to P.K Subban, who was able to one-time it past Tim Thomas for the equalizer. T.D Garden was stunned. The remaining 1:57 of regulation went by, and this game was going to sudden death. Given the way this series has gone, did you expect anything less? 

Nathan Horton Becomes Boston Sports Hero

Sudden death was upon us. One team would move on in the playoffs, and the other would be sent home. A lot of back skating resulted from many chances that came for both teams. Both Carey Price and Tim Thomas were playing incredible, trying to keep their team’s chances of winning alive. 5:43 into overtime Nathan Horton became a hero in Boston. A pass from Milan Lucic found Nathan Horton with a clear shot at Carey Price, Horton lasered it past Price, and that was it.

The Garden’s roof was unglued, and the crowd was as happy as can be. Handshakes followed after the game, and Boston sent Montreal home to watch the rest of the playoffs from their couch. The three stars of the game were Mark Recchi (one goal), Chris Kelly (one goal), and Nathan Horton (Overtime game-winner). Awaiting Boston was the first place Philadelphia Flyers. Game one of that series would be on April 30th at the Wells Fargo Center.