Lars Eller took advantage of a Boston turnover to score at 2:11 of the first period and Carey Price did the rest as the Canadiens shutout the Boston Bruins 4-0 Monday night at the Bell Centre. Price stopped 26 shots en route to his first shutout of this playoff season and fourth in his career. Max Pacioretty snapped out of a playoff slump to make it 2-0 and then Thomas Vanek scored twice to round out the scoring. Final shots on goal were 28-26 in favour of the Canadiens. The RDS three stars were Price, Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec. Game seven will be played at Boston’s Garden on Wednesday.
Adding It Up –
Thank Gionta – The Canadiens are now 7-0 this season in the games in which they score the first goal. In his second shift of the game, Brian Gionta barreled into the Boston corner on the forecheck and forced Torey Krug to unload the puck into traffic behind the net. Kevan Miller was checked by Lars Eller who tucked the shot around Rask. The all-important first goal.
Setting the Tone – At the blueline the first period belonged to Alexei Emelin. Early in the game he flattened Brad Marchand and then during a Boston power play he leveled Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg and then Milan Lucic. The Lucic hit sent him to the dressing room but he was back without missing a shift. Four big hits and two shots on goal for Emelin in the game’s first 17-minutes.
Contributing – Brendan Gallagher didn’t make the scoresheet but he was very much in the minds of the Bruins defense. Rask was brilliant lunging back to get the paddle on Gallagher which could have made it 2-0. And Gallagher was good again early in the second during a second period power play and missed the open side. Gallagher also blocked three shots in the game.
The Turning Point – In the eighth minute of the second period near the end of a P.K. Subban penalty, the Bruins turned the pressure up. Over a 3 minute stretch, the Bruins threw four shots at Carey Price in a sequence in which the puck never left the Canadiens zone. Mike Weaver and Josh Gorges wound up on the ice for three minutes and Brian Gionta was out there for 2:32. At the end of it all, still 1-0.
Back Breaker – At 15:24 Nathan Beaulieu, playing in his first Stanley Cup playoff game, chipped the puck to centre. It bounced off Loui Ericsson and Max Pacioretty outraced Zdeno Chara and scored to make it 2-0.
Pulling Away – With Gregory Campbell in the box for high sticking, Pacioretty found the puck in his skates in front of the net and managed to kick it over to Thomas Vanek who hoisted over Rask. 3-0. Vanek also scored into an empty net although, because Rask was not yet on the bench for the extra attacker, it goes down as an even strength goal. Vanek’s team leading 5th of the playoffs.
Also Worth Mentioning – ….Tomas Plekanec was given the game’s third star for his work on Patrice Bergeron, who had been the Bruins top scorer in the series. One of those coaching changes that paid off for Michel Therrien. Prior to this game, Plekanec had been successful against the Krejci line which was looked after by David Desharnais. ……Perhaps a sign of recovery was the fact that after four games on the perimeter, Max Pacioretty went to the net three times with shots in Game Five. He was a net presence again in this game and had a goal and assist to show for it. ……At the end of the game Boston went into it’s inevitable “goon” mode. It started with Chara slashing Markov with 24 seconds left. Mike Weaver stepped in and that led to Lucic and Iginla mixing in. Chara got four minutes, Iginla roughing and a misconduct and Lucic for tripping. Weaver also got a ten minute misconduct.
Moving On – To Boston to decide it. Wednesday night.