The Boston Bruins scored power play goals 32 seconds apart early in the second period and rode that to a 4-2 win over the Canadiens in the fifth game of their Eastern Conference Semi-final at Boston Saturday night. With the Bruins leading 1-0, Tomas Plekanec picked up back to back penalties and the Bruins got goals from Reilly Smith and Jarome Iginla to take a 3-0 lead. Brendan Gallagher made it 3-1 on a kCanadiens power play later in the second but Loui Ericsson all-but-clinched-it with the Bruins fourth goal with just under six minutes left. P.K. Subban scored on a late power play to finish the scoring. Shots on goal were 31-30 in favour of the Canadiens. The Bruins lead the series 3-2 with Game Seven back at the Bell Centre Monday night.
Adding It Up –
Shut Down – For the first time in the series, the Bruins looked like a team that was capable of reaching the Stanley Cup final a the third time in the last four years. The Bruins got their lead and then had the Canadiens pretty much at their mercy the rest of the night.
The Goat Horns – This may have been Tomas Plekanec’s worst night ever in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The last thing any coach would want is to lose his best penalty killer and Plekanec went to the penalty box three times in a 13:32 span. They were all what can only be termed “bad” penalties. The Canadiens killed the first for interference in the neutral zone, but late in the first, Plekanec took a bad goaltender interference call. The Bruins made it 2-0. Twenty six seconds later, Plekanec highsticked Johnny Boychuk, also in the neutral zone. It took six seconds for Iginla to make it 3-0.
Invisible – The combination of Desharnais and Pacioretty took a total of nine shots on goal, none of which would have caused Tuukka Rask to lose any sleep. Brendan Gallagher supplies some energy on the line, as he always does, but for the ninth consecutive playoff game there was little consistency in their attack against the defense pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton who were on the ice against them most of the night.
Just Wondering? – When Thomas Vanek played with Desharnais and Pacioretty through the final twenty games of the regular season, the line was one of the best in the NHL. It had size on the wings and there was some cohesive puck movement. Starting with the second shift of Game Two of this series it was broken up and outside of those two power play goals by Vanek in Game Two, all three of them have been invisible. Apparently, there is no inclination by the Habs coaching staff to reunite the group which, from an outsiders vantage point, is puzzling.
Nothing Worked – Therrien took playoff specialist Daniel Briere out of the lineup for Brandon Prust who is suspected to be playing with a bad shoulder. Prust got eight minutes of ice time, produced zero shot attempts and recorded one hit. Briere’s three assists in this year’s playoffs have all been on game winning goals.
Time & Space – The best way to deal with a superstar performance is pressure. Boston adjusted to the domination of P.K. Subban by attacking the points and shutting down his shooting lanes. His puck possession figures were way down from the opening two games of the series. Still, Rask had to stop six of the fourteen shots he attempted in the game and he got that late, and also meaningless power play goal.
Right On …As Usual – P.K. Subban on being squirted on the visor with water from the bench by Shawn Thornton, something more than a few thought was an egregious act. “I don’t think you guys need to make a big deal out of it. It’s one of those irritating things when you’re down 4-2. Listen they beat us. That’s not the reason we lost.”
Also Worth Mentioning – …..Thomas Vanek has disappeared. One shot on goal in this game to go with none in Game Four. Not only that, he has only two shot attempts in the last two games. …..Brendan Gallagher won’t quit. Ever. With five minutes left in the second period he took a Matt Bartkowski hit from behind that planted his face against the glass. He quickly got up and went straight to the crease in time to deflect Plekanec’s shot for the Canadiens first goal. …..No miracles from Carey Price in a game that needed miracles. He let in four of thirty shots. Nothing for which you that you could really fault him, but more was needed in a game like this. ….Gallagher ended a 120 minute-plus shutout streak Rask and the Bruins defense had put up against the Canadiens. ….Subban led all players with 27:42 ice time including more than half of the third period (11:29 and 12 of his 18 shifts in the game). ……The only late-game adjustments by Michel Therrien were to shuffle the second and third lines, moving Rene Bourque up to play with Vanek and Plekanec. ….From the Scoresheet – Shots on Goals – Pacioretty & Subban (6); Hits – Subban (4); Blocked Shots – Gorges (4).
Moving It Along – Most thought this was going to be a seven game series and nothing has changed my own mind in that department. Each game has taken on it’s own persona. Adjustments will be made and Game Six is back in the Bell Centre pressure-cooker. Gametime Monday night 7:35.