Game 3 is in the books, and the Bruins just destroyed the Canucks. Boston came out with an 8-1 win, scoring 4 goals in the 2nd and 3rd period. Boston just dominated every facet of the game. Thomas was nearly perfect in net, allowing the only goal of the game off a perfect shot in the 3rd period. The defense for Boston pounded away on the Vancouver offense, and clearly got under their skin with how physical they were playing. Kessler, Burrows, and Daniel Sedin each took awful misconduct penalties in the game. The offense for Boston was very apparent. Boston scored 8 goals tonight, easily the most goals scored by any team this postseason. They had some dirty goals, and some pretty goals. It was a nice mix for Boston, and I think that is a good sign for them. They just beat Luongo in every way, and you have to wonder if that will get in his head a little bit. Coach Julien made a change last night, scratching Tyler Seguin and putting in Shawn Thornton. It paid off big, as Thornton brought a lot of energy to the Bruins tonight and made his presences felt throughout the game. Great game by Boston, and I wish I could relive this every day.
The game is on, and the Bruins are offsides. Boychuk sent a puck around the ne from the red line, but Marchand touched the puck offsides.The Bruins are playing very physical, and Alex Burrows is public enemy #1. Recchi and Thornton hammered Burrows along the sideboards. The Bruins were entering the Canuck zone, and Nathan Horton made a pass to Lucic on the far side. Horton was hammered by Aaron Rome well after his pass, and Horton’s head hit the ice hard. He lay motionless on the ice for a moment, but was able to move soon after. The stretcher was even brought out to carry him off. Aaron Rome was issued a 5 minute major for interference, and a 10 minute game misconduct and ejection at 5:07. The Bruins now had a 5 minute powerplay to work with, and a huge chance to take the lead. Recchi had 2 great chances for Boston, once on a tip-in and once jamming the net off a Chara shot. On the later play, Recchi was cleared out by 2 Canucks. Vancouver was playing dirty hockey, and it was frustrating to watch them get away with everything. Boston had a chance off the rush, with Lucic and Kreci in a 2-on-1 situation. Lucic had the puck in the center slot, and passed to the far slot to Kreci. But the puck was deflected by a Vancouver skate, and went in on the now sprawling Luongo. The puck skidded to his chest, and Kreci tried to jam at it, but it was covered up. Seidenberg had 2 great chances in the near slot all alone, but Luongo was terrific in net. The Bruins had tremendous movement, and were getting great shots off. But the powerplay ended without a goal again for the Bruins. Vancouver took the puck into the Boston zone, and the puck was sent out of play in the Boston zone. McQuaid was called for delay of game at 11:41, so Boston now had to kill off an important penalty. Vancouver had a couple quick chances, but the Bruins pk tightened up. Boston killed off the penalty, allowing just 1 shot on net by Vancouver. The 2 teams fought up-and-down the ice. This game had an incredible tempo. The Canucks broke into the Boston zone, with Mason Raymond taking the puck in the slot. He deked right around Siedenberg, and was 1-on-1 with Thomas. He took a quick shot at the Boston netminder, but it hit him right in the chest. The rebound came back to Raymond, who got a second shot off. But Thomas made a terrific save with his left pad or glove, and kept the puck out of the net. That was the last good shot of the night, as the period would come to a close scoreless.
The 2nd period started with a win off the opening face-off by Vancouver. The puck was taken by Edler, who tried to make a pass up ice. He broke his stick on the pass though, and Kreci picked up the loose puck at the point. He had a huge chance in the far circle, but Luongo turned him away. The puck went up the near boards to Peverley, who chipped it to Ference at the point. Ference fired a knuckleball shot off, and into the back of the net. Luongo never saw the shot with Kreci screening in-front, and Boston had a 1-0 lead just 11 seconds into the game. Boston kept the tempo up, and had a scoring chance from Thornton. Thornton skated into the far slot, but had his stick lifted and was hooked by Tambellini. Boston would go back on the powerplay at 2:42 for hooking. The powerplay of Boston remained relatively ineffective. Vancouver was clearing the puck, and Boston couldn’t get any offense going. But with seconds remaining, the Bruins set up a play in the slot. Ryder passed to Recchi in the far slot, and he centered a pass for Peverley. The puck was deflected by the stick of Ryan Kessler, and went right through the 5-hole of Luongo. Boston was now up 2-0 just 4:22 into the period. Vancouver entered the Boston zone, and Burrows skated towards the corner. He skated right towards Ference, who bumped him with his shoulder. Burrows hit the ice, and drew a tripping call at 6:22. The Canucks had a few great chances on Thomas early, but Thomas stood tall in net. The Bruins created their own chances on the pk, with Paille getting a shot off that Luongo turned away. The Bruins seemed to create more chances than the Canucks did on the penalty. The powerplay ended without a goal for the Canucks, so Boston kept their 2-0 lead. Boston would go back on the penalty kill minutes later, as Lucic was called for slashing at 10:30. The Bruins kept the tempo up though, and Marchand just took the puck away from Daniel Sedin at the Boston point. He skated through the neutral zone, and chipped the puck ahead and skated right by 3 Vancouver defenders to get into the slot. He skated right through the slot, and Luongo tried to make a poke check going spread eagle. Marchand dragged the puck by Luongo, and roofed it into the net. Boston was now up 3-0 at 11:30 off a shorthanded goal. The Canucks powerplay ended without a shot on net, and they were back to 5-on-5. The Bruins were playing with tremendous energy, and had total control of this game. Boston was controlling the puck in the offensive zone for a good 2 or 3 minutes before Vancouver cleared the puck. Boston came back with a 3-on-3 rush attempt, and Michael Ryder took a shot from the high slot that Luongo blocked down. The rebound came right to Kreci in the near slot, and he got a one-timer off that beat Luongo high glove side. Boston was now up 4-0 at 15:47. Vancouver took the puck back into the Boston zone, and had the puck in the slot. A shot taken rebounded out, and was knocked away by Seidenberg. Johnny Boychuk tried to knock the puck away, and nailed Victor Oreskovich in the face. Boychuk received a 4 minute double minor for high-sticking at 17:36. Boston had the 1st chance though, with Bergeron taking the puck away at center ice. He skated into the slot and took a shot near post, but Luongo made a blocker save. Vancouver picked the puck back up, but didn’t get any good scoring chances. The period ended without a powerplay goal by the Canucks, so there would be carryover time into the 3rd. Boston exited the 2nd period with a 4-0 lead, and complete control of the game.
The Canucks began the 3rd period with 1:36 remaining in penalty time. But the Bruins pk was too strong, and denied the Canucks a goal. But Boston would go back on the pk, after Ryder checked Tambollieni hard into the boards. He would receive a roughing call at 2:50. Vancouver had some great chances early, but Thomas was just too good on this night. During a face-off, Zdeno Chara and Alex Burrows would give each other a whack with their sticks. The refs decided to defuse the situation, and sent both players to the box with offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at 3:33. It remained 5-on-4 for just over a minute now. The Canucks had more good scoring chances, but Thomas stopped them all. The powerplay ended without a goal, and Boston remained up 4-0. Vancouver was out shooting Boston 7-0 within the first 5 minutes, but Thomas was just standing on his head all night. After turnover in the Boston zone in which Henrik Sedin knocked the puck up in the air, he gloved down the puck right in front of Thomas. Thomas just plowed into Sedin, knocking him down so he couldn’t shoot and the puck trickled by the near post and was cleared out by Boston. As Vancouver picked the puck back up in their own zone, they sent the puck down for an icing call. Ference touched the puck up with Daniel Sedin chasing him, and then bumped him shoulder-to-shoulder. Sedin proceeded to fall to the ice, and grabbed his face. Just disgraceful, as he was trying to milk a call from the refs. I don’t know what happened on the ice between those two, but as Ference skated off Sedin grabbed him from behind. He was using his stick to put him in a chokehold of sorts, before the refs finally broke them up. Both players would receive a 10 minute misconduct penalty at 6:59. Vancouver had a great scoring chance after McQuaid made a blind pass to the slot, but Thomas again made a terrific save and froze the puck. After the play, Kessler skated into the crease and tried to clear out McQuaid. Thornton didn’t like that, and got right in Kessler’s face. Thornton dragged Kessler to the endboards, and the two started jawing at each other, stuffing hands in each others face. For some reason, the refs decided to toss Thornton from the game, as he received a 10 minute misconduct and an extra roughing call at 7:58. So the Canucks were now on the powerplay, with a chance to make a dent into the Boston lead. But Vancouver would cancel their own penalty, after Kessler hit an unsuspecting Paille into the boards at 9:11 for a boarding call. It was now 4-on-4 for 47 seconds. Boston had the puck in the attacking zone, but the puck was taken away and passed ahead by Vancouver. Higgins now had a clean breakaway, and deked to the backhand. But Thomas just made the save with his stick covering up the 5-hole. One of his biggest saves of the night, and of the season for Boston. The 4-on-4 ended, and Boston now was on the powerplay for 1:13. The powerplay would end without any good chances by Boston. The Canucks sent the puck in on Thomas right after the penalty ended, and he covered up the puck. As Burrows went by him, he took a slash at Thomas. Lucic didn’t like that, so he slashed at Burrows, and jabbed him right in the head. Burrows got up and smacked Lucic around, and the 2 got into an altercation. Lucic ended up throwing his glove off, and sticking his finger right into Burrows’s face. After their altercation, Seidenberg and Kessler got into their own fight. They both dropped the gloves, and Seidenberg took down Kessler quickly. Kessler turned over and got on top of Seidenberg, and then proceeded to punch at his head. The refs finally broke them up, but that was just a despicable move by Kessler. I hope the entire nation can now see how classless these Canucks are, and just how dirty they play. Now I don’t condone Lucic hitting Burrows either, but that is the only thing I can say I didn’t agree with by the Bruins. Cheap shots by Kessler, and an attempted chokehold by Sedin is just pathetic and classless. The penalties, all at 11:16, shook out like this. Burrows received a minor for slashing, and a 10 minute misconduct. Lucic received a 2 minute roughing, and 10 minute misconduct. He also received a 2 minute minor for slashing, served by Michael Ryder. Kessler and Seidenberg each received a 5 minute major for fighting, and a 10 minute misconduct. The Bruins would come up with a scoring chance though, as Paille took the puck and skated into the high slot. He skated right through a Canuck defender, just outmuscling him. He took a shot that hit Luongo underneath his glove. The puck deflected off and went into the net. Boston was now up 5-0 at 11:38, scoring their 2nd shorthanded goal. The penalty was dominated by the Bruins pk unit, and ended without a Canuck goal. But Vancouver would capitalize soon afterwards, as Kessler had the puck in the far slot. Kessler passed across ice to Hansen, who put it by the diving Thomas. Boston had its lead cut into, now up 5-1 at 13:53. Boston took control of this game though, and Vancouver wouldn’t do anything in the last 5 minutes of the game. In the last 3 minutes, Boston had a 2-on-1 coming up ice with Kreci and Marchand. Kreci passed across ice to Marchand, but the puck bounced off his stick and behind the net. Marchand picked up the puck, and passed to the slot to Recchi. He got a one-timer off and into the net at 17:39. Boston was now up 6-1. Shortly after the goal, there was an altercation between Andrew Ference and Kevin Bieksa. The 2 would each receive a 10 minute misconduct at 17:51. Boston wasn’t done yet though, as Chara sent the puck into the corner boards in the attacking zone. The puck was picked up by Paille, who passed back into the far slot to Kelly. Kelly put it right through Luongo’s 5-hole. It was now 7-1 Bruins at 18:06. The game was virtually over now, as the Canucks sent the puck into the Boston zone. Johnny Boychuk picked the puck up behind the net. He made a pass around the net, and was hit by a charging Torres. He received a charging call at 18:53, so the Bruins now had a powerplay for the last-minute of the night. Boston would make it count, as Michael Ryder would put a shot into the back of the net skating through the far circle. Boston took an 8-1 lead now at 19:29. That’s 3 goals for the Bruins in just 1:50. That would be the last play of the game, and the Bruins would exit with an 8-1 win in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
What a great game by the Bruins. Boston absolutely destroyed the Canucks last night, controlling every facet of the game. The offense was very apparent, scoring 8 goals. We saw contributions from guys like Marchand and Ryder, guys who have been non-existent since the Philly series. The defense clamped down on Vancouver all night. Boston was physical, and chippy all night. They clearly got under the skin of Vancouver’s top guys. Tim Thomas even got in on the action, taking out Henrik Sedin on a play. Thomas was fantastic in net. He stopped 40 of 41 shots, and stifled the Canucks offense all night lone. Vancouver was also 0-6 on the powerplay again. Boston beat them up-and-down the ice with their pk unit. The Canucks couldn’t compete with Boston, and they resorted to dirty tactics throughout the game. Kessler took some cheap shots at Seidenberg when he was on the ice, Daniel Sedin attempted to put Ference in a chokehold. Just a couple of the classless things I saw all game. To describe this as a huge win for the Bruins is understating it. This is the 1st 1st home playoff win since 1978 for Boston. It is also the 1st time since 1991 that 2 shorthanded goals were scored in the same game. It was quite a historic night at the TD Garden. In game 4, I look for the Canucks to come out with a vengeance. They were embarrassed on national TV, and can’t let that happen again. Look for some chippy play, and late hits to try to get underneath the Bruins skin. If the Bruins have any hope of winning the Stanley Cup, they must win game 4 to tie the series at 2. And I do expect the Bruins to win. Look for them to win in a low scoring affair, and head back to Vancouver tied at 2. With Horton out, it will be tough. But I hope the Bruins play for their fallen teammate, and beat up on the Canucks.
Speaking of Horton, their has been an official release on him from the Bruins. Horton left game 3 after being blindsided by Aaron Rome, almost a full second after he released the puck. He was taken to Mass General Hospital, with movement in all his extremities. TSN, Canada’s sports network, released this information, that the hit was 28 frames after he released the puck. TSN measures a full second as 30 frames. So it was a late hit, as well as a blindsided hit. Look for Rome to be suspended at least 2 games, but Nathan Horton will miss the remainder of these playoffs with a severe concussion. This is a huge loss for the Bruins already weak offense, and now Nathan Horton faces a tough return to get back to his normal way of living. We all hope for the best, and wish him a speedy recovery.
Boston has struck again, winning game 3, 2-0. Tim Thomas picked up just his 2nd shutout in his postseason career in a very good performance. While he wasn’t great, the Boston defense was. And the offense gave Thomas an early lead to work with, scoring just 1:09 into the game. Patrice Bergeron was back for game 3, but that meant someone had to sit in his place. Shawn Thornton drew the short straw, and was a healthy scratch in the game. But having Bergeron on the ice was a huge boost for the team. The looked very solid defensively, and dominated all aspects of the game tonight. The Lightning put out a very poor performance, and the Bruins came away with a great win in Tampa.
The game started with Bergeron getting right on the ice, centering the 2nd line. But it was the 1st line of Boston that struck. Boychuck sent the puck down the far sideboards to Lucic. He dug the puck out from the corner, and centered a pass for Kreci in front of Roloson. The puck bounced off his stick a little, but he settled it quickly. He was 1-on-1 against Roloson in the crease, and deked to sneak his backhand shot into the back of the net. Boston scored quickly, up 1-0 at 1:09. The Lightning followed that up with a great chance in the slot by Malone. He tried a wraparound attempt, but Thomas just held the near post. The Boston offense had pressure early, forcing the Lightning D to make bad plays. But off a Boston turnover, the Lightning had a couple great chances in a row to score. Thomas stopped a shot from the point, and then turned around to find the puck. The puck had actually bounced right in front of him, and Tampa picked it up. Purcell had a great chance to score, but Thomas spun back around, saw the shot, and made a terrific right leg save. Midway through the period, Boston almost put another puck in the net. Paille brought the puck up ice, and passed ahead to Campbell as he entered the attacking zone. Campbell took a shot from the far circle that Roloson stopped. The puck was not covered up though, and Roloson fell backwards as the puck went somewhere between his legs. Peverley was charging at then net, and then started jamming away when he saw the loose puck. A whistle would eventually be called, but a skirmish commenced. The Lightning players didn’t like Peverley attacking the net, and started roughing him up. Campbell came in to back him up, and after giving a shove to Gange, Gange started hitting him. After the dust cleared, Campbell and Gange would be sent to the box for offsetting roughing minors at 10:21. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Tampa had a 2-on-1 after Seidenberg was caught up ice. St.Louis was coming through the far side, with Lecavalier on the near side. As St.Louis made a pass across ice, Chara poked his stick out to break up the scoring chance. Back to 5-on-5 they skated. Off a face-off win by Boston in the attacking zone, Peverley had a chance in the near slot with an open net. His shot went wide though. Boston was bringing the puck up ice, and Kreci received a pass at the Boston bench. As he was turning around, Marc-Andre Bergeron blindsided him with his shoulder, and Kreci went down. The play would be whistled dead, and Bergeron was issued an elbowing penalty at 17:29. Kreci remained on one knee for some time, before finally going to the bench. The Boston powerplay was pathetic though, barely causing Roloson to sweat. The period would end with the Bruins up 1-0.
Bergeron and the 2nd line started the 2nd period, and Marchand created a chance early. He knocked the puck away from a Lightning defender, and Recchi went to the corner to get the puck. He passed back to Bergeron, who passed across ice to Marchand in the far slot. But a great move by Roloson allowed him to make the save. Kreci was back on the ice, and skating well. A very good sign for the Bruins going forward. 5:58 into the period, both teams had just 1 shot. It was a defensive period early, both teams battling hard. Boston finally got a 2nd shot off, this one from Ference at the point. Roloson made the save easy, but it was what happened after the play that was interesting. Marchand was next to Roloson, in case of a rebound. He tripped over a Lighting stick, and made incidental contact with the face of a Lightning player. He would be called for high sticking at 5:58, giving Tampa an important powerplay now. The Boston pk was terrific, denying Tampa any good looks at Thomas. The penalty ended, and the game remained 1-0 midway through the 2nd. Boston was heading up the ice, when Tampa would be called for too-many-men at 9:51. Boston was on the powerplay for the 2nd time tonight. It was pathetic again, not able to set up anything. The penalty would be cut short, when the puck bounced off of Bergeron’s stick into the neutral zone. Bergeron was forced to bump Hall to prevent a breakaway, and he would be called for interference at 11:09. They played 4-on-4 for 35 seconds, before the Lightning went on the powerplay. Stamkos had a great chance for a tip-in in the slot, but the puck went just wide. Tampa didn’t score, but they looked much better on the shortened powerplay. Boston acted quickly once Bergeron got out of the box, with Chara finding Bergeron near the Tampa blue line. He slowly skated into the attacking zone, waiting for Peverley to get up ice for a 2-on-1 chance. He passed across ice to the near slot, but Roloson made a spectacular right-to-left pad save to keep Boston off the board. Boston had another chance, as Marchand tried to wraparound the puck near post. Bergeron was attacking far post for a rebound, and was knocked down by Eric Brewer. Brewer would be called for hooking at 16:55. The Boston powerplay was very slow to start. They weren’t able to set up the offense for a minute and a half. Finally though, Boston started moving the puck well, with Seidenberg getting 2 point shots off that Roloson stopped. Boston held the puck in the attacking zone for a good 30 seconds, even after the penalty had ended. The penalty ended without a goal, and Tampa finally iced the puck. Tampa coach Guy Boucher called a time-out, to get his players some rest. Nothing else from Boston though, and the 2 teams went to the dressing rooms to end the 2nd. Boston was still up 1-0 after 2.
The 3rd period started nice and slow. Exactly how the Bruins wanted to play the period. Tampa finally got the offense moving after the 2 minute mark, and they pressured Thomas heavily. Good defense didn’t allow Tampa to get many shots on net though. Any shots they did get off were kept out by Thomas. The Lightning weren’t taking many great shots. They were just throwing bad angle shots on net, and then jamming away in the crease. Boston came back with 2 good rush chances. Marchand had a 1-on-1 chance, getting behind the defender, and pushing to the backhand. Roloson stood tall and made the save. The Kreci line had a 3-on-2 up ice, with Kreci coming across to the near circle. He made a centering pass to Lucic, but Roloson made the save. Tampa tried to clear the puck, but Lucic just kept the puck in the attacking zone as he went for a change. He sent the puck all the way around the boards, and it was picked up by Boston. Ference had the puck at the point, and took a shot through 2 Lightning players, and Kelly screening. The puck was almost stopped by Roloson’s pads in the butterfly. The puck slowly trickled through the pads, and beyond the goal line. Boston had taken a 2-0 lead at 8:12. Boston was in prime position now to win this game, and go up 2 games to 1. Tampa came right back with pressure, and it resulted in a penalty by Boston. Chara would get called for hooking on St. Louis at 9:49, putting Boston on a critical pk. Boston won the opening face-off back. Boychuck lost the puck though to Gange, who passed to St. Louis. He had a chance right in front of Thomas now. As he went to the backhand, Thomas made a diving poke check clearing the puck off his stick, and preventing the scoring chance. The rest of the penalty was very quiet for Tampa, and the game remained 2-0. As the game went beyond the 15:00 mark, Boston started playing conservative hockey. The Bruins were just protecting the net, collapsing on the puck, and clearing it on every shift. The Tampa offense had nothing going against the Boston D. Tampa would empty their net at the 17:51 mark with a face-off in the Boston zone. Good puck control by Tampa kept Boston from getting an empty net bid, but it would be all for not. The Boston Bruins had won game 3 behind the perfect Tim Thomas, 2-0.
This is exactly the type of game the Bruins want to play against this Lightning team. They scored a quick goal by Kreci, the defense was stellar, and Tim Thomas was perfect in net. There was nothing very eye-popping about this game. It was a very systematic victory by Claude Julien. Once the Bruins scored that 1st goal, they kept up on the Lightning. They never backed down in the attacking zone, and the defenders were very aggressive in the first 2 periods. Once the 3rd period came along, Julien was very contempt to just roll the lines out there, and chip the puck in deep. This was not a spectacular game by any means, but it was a very solid effort by the Bruins. Having Bergeron back really improved this teams defense. He was terrific on face-offs, besting Lecavalier (who has killed the Bruins in games 1 and 2 at the dot) all night. This game was the first time that we really even heard Recchi and Marchand’s names. Bergeron greatly improved the performance of those 2, by setting them up and taking away the puck from Lightning players. Thomas had a good game but not great. I know he had a shutout, but he wasn’t tested all that much until the 3rd period. Thomas had 15 of his 31 saves in the 3rd period alone. Most of those shots were not good scoring chances anyways. Tampa was just taking as many shots as they could, trying to get a cheap goal or a rebound attempt. Thomas was good, and he made some spectacular saves when he needed to, but he was by no means great.
Tampa Bay just laid an egg tonight. Their offense stunk all night. They just couldn’t break through the Boston defense for good scoring chances. The defense had a couple of breakdowns, most notably during the 1st period. Kreci’s goal was a result of the man covering him, Viktor Headman, abandoning Kreci in the slot to chase Lucic and the puck. The 2nd goal was just a result on being out-hustled, and out worked for the puck. Roloson was great in net Thursday night. The 2nd goal was a soft one, and one that he’ll have next time out. The 1st goal though, was just skill and bad defense. His defensemen left him out to dry, and Kreci is one of the most talented Bruins. You could argue Roloson had a better night than Tim Thomas, and I would listen. Tampa is now in a must-win situation. If they lose game 4, on home ice, and go down 3-1, they will not win this series. The Bruins have home-ice, (even though it probably won’t matter) and are a great road team. So even if the Bruins lost game 5 at home, I think they would go into Tampa and close the game out in 6. In fact, that’s what I think will happen. Boston is the better team, and plays better on the road than at home. Look for the Bruins to win another low scoring affair in game 4, but I think Tampa staves off elimination in game 5. I said it before the series officially started, Bruins in 6, and I’m sticking by it.
The Celtics have brought this series back to within 1, as they won game 3, 97-81. Shaquille O’Neal made his much-anticipated return, but the Celtics may have lost Rajon Rondo. Late in the 3rd quarter, Rondo suffered a dislocated elbow. He would return to the game, but his left arm hung limp for the rest of the game. The Celtics started and ended this game strong. Garnett and Pierce really dominated Miami all night, and did not allow the Big 3 of Miami to get going. D-Wade was the only 1 of the Big 3 to have a good night. LeBron was pedestrian, and Bosh was invisible. The only reason the Heat were in this game, is because their bench came alive, scoring 35 points. If the Celtics can repeat this performance on Monday night, look for the C’s to head back to Miami with the series tied at 2.
Boston started strong, showing the Heat that there was still a lot left to this series. They were really dominating early, they just need to sustain this for the entire game. Pierce was leading the C’s early, scoring 10 points midway through the 1st. Boston had the lead out to 11 at one point. The Heat fought back though. Bosh was giving the team nothing, with Wade and LeBron barely contributing. Joel Anthony was the one leading the Heat back. He was the leading scorer with 6 for the Heat. The end of the 1st quarter saw the return of Shaquille O’Neal. He was in for about 2 minutes, and looked very slow and old. Hopefully his body clogs up some space, so that the Heat can’t drive inside as hard as they would like. The Celtics lead the 1st quarter, 27-21. The Heat started the 2nd strong, going on a 5-0 run. The Heat were succeeding because of their bench. The Boston D had shut down Miami’s big 3, so the bench had to step up. Boston extended their lead momentarily, before Miami went on an 10-0 run. The bench for Miami had 21 points. Miami was now up 40-34 midway through the 2nd quarter. The Celtics scorers had gone cold, before Garnett finally hit a jump shot. That jump started something in the Celtics, as the scoring touch came back. Wade missed a 3, and Boston follows that up with a 3 by West. Boston had come right back with a 7-0 run of their own to reclaim the lead, 41-40. Pierce follows that up with a hard foul on a dunk attempt by Wade, with no extracurricular activity. That’s good basketball, and something the Celtics need to do more of to assert themselves in this series. Wade wouldn’t be discouraged though, as he hit a bad angle jumper to bet the lead back for Miami. West drives for a lay-up, and gets slammed down by James. He came up holding his left shoulder. It didn’t affect his shot though, as he hit a 3 following a Boston defensive rebound. The Celtics had the ball with under 15 seconds left, and Rondo held the ball near mid-court. He finally ran up inside the 3 point line, looking for a play. He had a wide open lane to shoot, but instead made a jump pass to no one. He was looking for Jeff Green, but he ran right by the ball. Miami would get the ball for about 5 seconds, but would not make their final shot. The 2nd quarter ended with the Heat up, 46-44.
Garnett started thing for the Celtics, hitting a jump-shot to tie the game. The Heat follow that up with an embarrassing shot by Bosh that hit the side of the backboard. Rondo again tried to get a pass to an unsuspecting O’Neal, and turned the ball over. He now has 5 turnovers in the game. Not a great game for him so far. Rondo needs to drive to the basket more, and get points. He has not scored thus far in the game. And right on cue, Rondo drives to the basket for a lay-up. Boston went on a 9-1 run to start the 3rd. Rondo drives for another lay-up, but is stuffed by James. Garnett the rebound, back to Rondo, who gets it to Pierce for the 3. I know he got stuffed, but that’s the kind of game that Rondo needs to play. The Celtics have a chance to run away with this game if Rondo could start scoring. Boston had the lead up to 10, when Miami brought the ball up court. Wade was working on Rondo, and turned his back into Rondo. Rondo poked the ball away from Wade, and Wade tangled up with Rondo. Wade grabbed onto Rondo, and took him down to the court. Rondo landed awkwardly on his arm, with his left elbow bending backwards. He had to be helped off the court. Very classless and disturbing move by Wade. Wade received a flagrant foul. Wade then received another foul by knocking down Ray Allen, who was trying to get a rebound. Wade had quickly become a villain at TD Garden. Another scare for the Celtics, as Pierce hits a lay-up, and then backs into the cameras. He came up limping, but would come back into the game. Pierce and Garnett are leading the charge for the Celtics, so they can’t afford to lose Pierce. The lead is back up to 11 for the Celtics, tying their largest of the night. Garnett hits a 2, and the lead is 15 for the C’s. That gives him 24 points, 12 in the 3rd alone. Rondo has returned, and is back on the Boston bench. Rondo suffered a dislocated left elbow, but the docs popped it back in. The 3rd quarter ended, with the Celtics up 72-61. The Celtics started the 4th with a lay-up by Jeff Green. Bosh came back by getting on the board for the 1st time since the 1st quarter. He hit 2 free-throws, giving him 6 points on the night (4-4 FT). Allen knocks down a 3, and Boston takes a 16 point lead. Rondo injects some life into the crowd, after a deflection by Green, Rondo grabbed the ball and took the ball down the court for a half-dunk. I say half-dunk, because Rondo got to the rim and just laid the ball in. The lead was now out to 18 for the Celtics. Midway through the 4th, it is all Celtics. Garnett hits his 28 point, and the Celtics are maintaining a 15 point lead. Pierce hits a 3, and that should do it for the Heat. We are now under 2 minutes to play, and the Celtics are up by 15. The Celtics are right back in this series, winning game 3, 97-81.
This was the game I was expecting from the Celtics. The fought hard, shut down Miami’s big 3, and dominated this game. Garnett was the leading scorer in the game with 28 point, and 18 rebounds. Pierce had 27 points including 5 3-pointers, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Allen quietly had a good night, scoring 15 points. Rondo had a quiet 1st half, but really energized the team late in the 3rd. Coming back after dislocating his left elbow gave the rest of the C’s lots of energy. You could see the Boston players feeding off of him. Rondo ended the night with 6 points, and 11 assists. The bench provided some help, with West getting 11, and Green getting 6. But overall, the bench was non-existent, providing 19 points. Compare that to the Heat’s bench scoring 35. Although, the reason the Heat bench scored so much, was because they had to.
The Heat starters were pathetic. LeBron had 15 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. He was only 3-7 from the free-throw line. Bosh was invisible all night. He was just 1-6 in over 30 minutes on court time. He ended the night with 6 points, and a very pathetic showing. Dwayne Wade was the best amongst the starters. He led the Heat with 23 points and 7 assists, but was just 1-5 from 3-point range. That’s where the difference was in the game. The Celtics Big 3 outperformed the Heat’s Big 3. The Celtics defense shut down Bosh and LeBron. They need to continue to play that type of defense if they want to come back in this series. I still feel good about the Celtics in this series. As I stated in my game 1 post heading into game 2, I would feel more confident if the Celtics lost game 2, but won game 3, than the other way around. I say that because the only thing the Celtics have going for them is their home court. I do not think the Heat can win a game in Boston, and I do think that the Celtics can win at least 1 game in Miami. I look for the Heat to come out strong in game 3, and push hard for a win. I just think that the Celtics know what’s at stake, and will put away the Heat in game 3.
This was a beating. The Bruins destroyed the Flyers, 5-1 in game 3. Boston even scored on the powerplay, that’s how badly they beat the Flyers. A big piece was off the ice for the Flyers, as Pronger was out again for game 3. Jeff Carter was on the ice though for the first time since April 20. He appeared to have no impact on the game whatsoever. McQuaid was out, and is listed as day-to-day with a neck sprain. Shane Hnidy played in his place. Something that people need to consider, is how important David Kreci is to this team. Last year, Boston was up 3-0 on the Flyers when Kreci got knocked out by Mike Richards. They then went on to lose the next 4. In now 12 games against the Flyers, Kreci has 18 points, and the Bruins are 11-0-1. In fact, Boston has not lost a playoff game against Philly with Kreci in the lineup. This team will go as he goes. So how did we get back to a 3-0 lead?
The game is on, and Boston scored. Feels nice to say that doesn’t it? Well, the game was started by Bergeron taking the puck into the attacking zone. He passed to the slot to Marchand, looking for a tip-in. But Boucher made a great left to right pad save. Marchand went and got the puck behind the net. He passed to the high slot to Chara, and he hammered a shot above Boucher’s glove. Boston was up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the game. The Bruins came right back on the attack. It was another great shift by the 1st line. Kreci passed down the sideboards to Lucic. Lucic turned around and found Kreci right in the slot. Kreci snuck a quick shot off, and Boston had a 2-0 lead just 1:03 into the game. Boston was controlling the first 5 minutes of the game. Philadelphia had just 2 shots on net. Lucic would block a shot, and take the puck up ice. He went to the Philly corner boards, and passed the puck to Kreci. He got the puck to Seidenberg at the point. Lucic was skating by Boucher, who was well out of his crease. Lucic tried to avoid him, but got bumped into him by the Philly D. Boucher was now knocked out of position as Seidenberg got a shot off. The puck was knocked down, and Kreci and Horton were in the crease battling to get the puck in the net. But a whistle was blown, and a penalty was coming up. A bad call by the officials, calling Lucic for goaltender interference at 9:00. There was nothing he could do about it, he was knocked into Boucher! Anyways, the Boston pk was phenomenal, getting the puck out of their zone and banging bodies. Marchand had 2 great hits to energize the crowd. Philly was abused on the powerplay, and didn’t score. A good surge by the 1st line gave Boston control. Then, as Kreci went to the Boston bench for a change, Philly took the opportunity to again, try to get under his skin. Ville Leino was the culprit this time, as he jawed with Kreci, and the 2 came eye to eye. Nothing happened, as Kreci just wanted to get to the bench. But Leino made sure to follow him and continued to yell at him for a second. It was a very physical game to start, and made for some great TV. Lucic and Horton banged into a few bodies, keeping the Flyers on their heels. Pialle knocked out Versteeg on one hit. Philadelphia had a couple of chances on Thomas, but he has been great to start. He looked very fast, and had great lateral movement. With under 30 seconds left in the 1st, Bergeron got his stick in an awkward place, between a Flyers skates. He would be called for hooking at 19:44. The period would end, so Philly will have almost the full 2 minutes on the powerplay to start the 2nd. Boston dominated the 1st period. They out-hit the Flyers, and out-skated them. But, it’s always nervous to start a period on the pk.
The 2nd period started with 1:45 of powerplay time for the Flyers. Philly controlled the puck in the Boston zone, but was only able to get 1 shot on Thomas. Boston cleared the puck, and Mike Richards tried to bring the puck up ice. Chara stole it away, and had a breakaway. He just took a shot from the high slot, and it went right into the gut of Boucher. The penalty ended with no goal for the Flyers. The 1st line of Boston was still destroying the Flyers. Chara had the puck at the point, and sent it around the boards. Lucic went behind the net to get the puck, but instead left it. The puck went around, and Horton had retrieved it in the corner. He picked up the puck, and got a bad angle shot off on Boucher. The puck hit his stick, and stayed out. Off a point shot, Boucher would freeze the puck. Horton was skating towards Boucher in case of a rebound. After the whistle, O’Donnell gave Horton a little poke around the groin. Horton didn’t like that, and gave him a shove. O’Donnell shoved back, and Horton had lost his footing a bit. Lucic came over to protect Horton, while he regained his footing. Horton grabbed O’Donnell, and they started fighting. O’Donnell started by getting in some shots on Horton’s head, before he got away from O’Donnell’s chest. Horton had a few jabs, before they fell to the ice. Both players would receive 5 for fighting at 3:31. Philly had the puck in the Boston zone. A shot was blocked by Thomas, and went over the net. van Riemsdyk went in to retrieve the puck, and checked a Bruin the boards. His stick rode up into the face. van Riemsdyk received a high-sticking, and Boston was on the powerplay at 7:05. Boston was ineffective, and went another powerplay without a goal. Kreci brought the puck up ice for the Bruins. He passed across ice to Horton, who passed to Ference driving to the slot. He was wide-open, and got a backhand shot off, but it went wide. Boston was all over the ice, and even though Philly was getting shots off, they weren’t very good chances. The Flyers were in the Boston zone, and Syvret tried to get a pass across ice. The puck was picked off, and sent up ice by Boychuck. Boston had a 3-on-2 up ice. Campbell and Thornton skated to the far circle, drawing both defenders. Campbell passed to the near circle to Paille, who had an open shot, and put it in the back of the net. Boston was up 3-0, 13:39 into the 2nd. Boston had another chance produced by the 1st line. Kreci brought the puck into the neutral zone, and took a hit to get it up to Horton. Horton was 1-on-1 with Timonen. Horton dragged the puck around Timonen through the high slot to the far circle. Boucher went to the butterfly, preparing for a shot attempt. He went to get back up when Horton didn’t shoot. Horton took that chance to get it through the 5-hole, and Boston was now up 4-0, 15:14 into the 2nd. And it was at that moment, that Boucher would be pulled for Sergie Bobrovsky. That marks 6 out of the 10 games a Flyer goalie has been pulled. Philly stayed resilient, and finally got on the board. They had a 3-on-2 up ice. Powe passed from the near circle to Meszaros in the far slot. Somehow, Mezsaros found space above the blocker, and scored. The game was 4-1, 16:26 into the 2nd. Boston followed that with another 3-on-2 of their own. However, Timonen hooked down a Bruin, and that would result in a penalty at 17:29. And the drought nearly ended, when Chara found Peverley in the near slot with a wide-open net. But Bobrovsky made an incredible left to right pad save, and then the puck hit the post. Then, Bergeron had a chance and hit the post. So, the Bruins are now 0-30 on the powerplay. This is just getting stupid. The period ended, and Boston was up 4-1. The Bruins played a little loose once they got the 4th goal. They had to tighten up to avoid a comeback. They should win this game no problem, and a loss would be tortures to my eyes and spirit.
The 3rd period started out with the Bruins controlling the tempo. They didn’t let Philly get any fast breaks out early. Hartnell tried mixing things up with Thornton, but he didn’t want any part of a useless fight, and the ref came in to separate them. 5 minutes were up, and it was exactly the kind of period the Bruins wanted. They were clogging up the neutral zone, getting pucks in on Bobrovsky, and keeping the puck away from Thomas. Philly had the puck for most of the period, maintaining it in the Boston zone. But the Bruins defense was poking the puck away, and taking away scoring chances. Midway through the 3rd, the Flyers had 3 shots on net, and Boston had 1. Boston was just playing very safe, conservative hockey. Their defense looked great, and Thomas had been sharp from the word go. Philly had one good rush chance, when a shot from the circle rebounded right to Hartnell in the near circle. Thomas was now out of position, but a great stick play by Paille kept Hartnell from getting a shot off. The puck was picked up by Richards, who got a shot off and scored. But, before the shot, Hartnell got turned around, and went sliding into the post and took the goal off its bearing. The goal was disallowed, and the game remained 4-1. The Flyers finally seemed to feel a sense of urgency, with just 5 minutes remaning in the game. The offense was taking every shot they could get at Thomas, but he was stopping them all. The Flyers decided to empty the net 18:00 into the game, with a face-off in the Bruins zone. The Flyers won the face-off, but Recchi picked off the puck, and brought it up ice. Boston now had a 3-on-2 up ice. He tried to get the puck to Bergeron, but Bergeron was hooked down by Richards, and could not receive the pass. It would not be a free goal though, so Boston was on the powerplay. Just into 8 seconds into the penalty, Marchand would be cross-checked by Coburn. It was now 5-on-3 for 1:52. And finally, the Bruins had scored on the powerplay! Chara passed to Seidenberg at the point. He passed to Kreci next to the net. He passed to Chara in the high slot, and he fired a bullet into the back of the net at 18:38. The seconds ticked down, and the Bruins won game 3, 5-1, and took a 3-0 lead again against the Flyers
The Bruins flat-out dominated this game. It wasn’t even close. The Flyers were lucky not to be shut-out. It took an amazing goal by Meszaros to give the Flyers their only goal of the night. The Bruins scored early, twice. They then played great defensive hockey, and Thomas was very sharp all night. The 1st line has been amazing in this series. Kreci ended the night with a goal and 2 assist, Horton had a Gordie Howe hat-trick, and Lucic had an assist. Chara was amazing in the game as well. He ended the night with 2 goals, an assist, and was at +4. He actually ended up being on the ice for all 5 of the Bruins goals. This was exactly the type of game the Bruins wanted to, and in fact need to play every night. This was their best game of the postseason. For the Flyers meanwhile, it was a train wreck of a game.
The Flyers played awful all night. They were not physical at all. The Bruins were faster, and much more physical all night. The defense allowed 2 goals in the first 1:03 of the game. Boucher was not at fault for those goals. You can argue that he should have had the other 2, but the Flyers were already out of it. Philadelphia just was not ready to play tonight. There was no way they were coming back once the Bruins scored 2 in 1:03. The offense looked terrible, the defense was full of holes, and Boucher was 50-50 when he was in net. Bobrovsky only faced 8 shots in nearly 25 minutes of ice time. Philadelphia looked flat all night, and had no urgency in their play. The Bruins are now up 3-0 for the second year in a row on the Flyers. But will this year be different?
Yes, it will. The Bruins have proved, to me at least, that they are different this year. They came back from down 0-2 to Montreal, and won in 7. They now have the 1st line clicking, and look unstoppable against this Flyers team. I said that the Bruins would win in 6, but they may even sweep this series. I thought the Flyers would win game 2 after that game 1 drumming. They didn’t. I thought the Flyers would win game 3 after a heartbreaking letdown in game 2. They didn’t. I think the Flyers will come out much stronger in game 4. I think that they will be flying on the ice, and hitting everything in sight. But will they? Well, if Philly come out and plays in game 4 like they did tonight, then the Bruins will sweep the Flyers.
There really wasn’t much to report on this game. Boston routed the Knicks in game 3, 113-96. The C’s offense was lead by Pierce, Allen, and Rondo, with the bench being ineffective. Meanwhile, the Knicks had Anthony on offense, and that was it. He was barely there once the 2nd half started. He scored just 5 points in the 2nd half. Stoudemire was active for the game, but very ineffective. He didn’t even reach double-digits in the game. Chauncey Billups remained inactive. Now, on to the game that was.
This was not a good game for the Knicks from the get go. It began with a shot clock violation, and then Boston went down the court to record the first basket of the game. Paul Pierce started the game with 7 of Boston’s 9 points. Boston was able to jump out to a 22-5 lead with 4:11 left in the 1st quarter. The Knicks mounted a comeback, and went on a 15-5 run to end the 1st quarter. It was 27-20 heading into the 2nd. Boston didn’t start the 2nd quarter all that well. The bench provided little support. Boston’s once 17 point lead was now just 5. The Boston offense was again only provided by three guys, Pierce, Allen, and Rondo. It’s been the same story in the first two games. Luckily, the Knicks were playing awful. Stoudemire was ineffective, and Carmelo had 10 of the 33 Knick points with 5:25 left in the 2nd. He needed to be more effective though for the Knicks to win this game. Pierce had 17 to end the 2nd, and Ray Allen had 16. If the Knicks were going to win this game, they needed somebody to back up Carmelo’s play. With Billups out, and Stoudemire ineffective, it was not looking good heading in to the 2nd half down 52-44.
The Celtics started the 2nd half with a 3-pointer from Ray Allen, and then Paul Pierce. Quickly, Boston was out to an 11 point lead. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, Rondo scored his 9th point, to go along with 13 assists and 9 rebounds. This was the Celtics show from the get-go. KG summed up the night by slamming home a dunk off a crazy pass from Rondo. They went on a 12-2 run to start the 3rd, and their 11 point lead was now a 21 point lead. Ronny Turiaf scored at the 6:52 mark, and the Knicks went over 4 minutes without another bucket. The Celtics ended the 3rd quarter with a 86-63 lead. The Knicks started the 4th quarter well, going on a 7-0 run. But the C’s did not falter in this game. Ray Allen ended up hitting eight 3-pointers in the game. That was just 1 shy of a playoff record. Anthony ended with just 15 points after scoring 10 in the 1st half. New York looked terrible, and Boston won this game easily 113-96.
This one was a laugher at MSG from the start, and Boston made sure to finish this game. I imagine that this is what game 2 would have looked like if they could have finished that game. Paul Pierce ended the night with 38 points on six 3’s, Ray Allen had 32 points on eight 3’s, and Rondo had a triple-double with 15 points 20 assists and 11 rebounds. Stoudemire had just 7 points in the game, and that about sums up how the Knicks played. Boston has weak interior presence, and with Amare in the game it felt like if the C’s were going to win it would not be such a rout. Heading into game 3, I felt that if Stoudemire was in the game the Knicks would win this game. They have controlled the inside in the first 2 games. Amare is obviously still feeling some pain in his back, and the once cool and calm Carmelo Anthony now looks very foolish. To score 42 points in game 2 and almost singlehandedly carry the Knicks to the victory, he was invisible when the going got tough Friday night. What a difference a game makes. I wonder if he’s worried now about the teams chances heading into game 4 down 3-0?
Boston still had no support from their bench. It’s getting to be a reoccurring theme, like the Bruins and their powerplay, or Crawford and his ineffectiveness. Doc has to fix it somehow, if the Celtics want to make a long playoff run. Eventually, their stars will have a bad night, and they will die when their bench doesn’t pick up the slack. As long as the Knicks give up again, Boston will easily win game 4 and advance to the Conference Semi Finals.
The crowd was deafening from the start of this game. Montreal could feel a sweep coming, but Boston wasn’t gonna let that happen. The Bruins were able to squeak out a victory 4-2 on Monday. Before the game started, the PA announcer reminded all those Habs fans that they have more Americans on their team then the Bruins. I guess maybe they should stop booing the US National Anthem (which is never done in Boston to the Canadian Anthem). It just shows how horrible, disrespectful, and hypocritical those Canadian fans truly are. Enough of my ranting, on to the game!
Just 1:08 into the game, Chara stepped onto the ice and received a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. Chara was expecting Ference to go to the bench, and it led to an early challenge for the B’s. Boston didn’t let a goal in, in the first minute, so they might as well take a penalty to even things out. The Habs almost capitalized early in the powerplay. They had multiple chances in the slot, and took lots of point shots. The B’s kept Montreal out of the net, and as the penalty expired Dennis Seidenberg sealed the puck in Montreal’s zone. He passed it down the boards to Bergeron, who found Kreci rushing up the ice and buried it in the high slot at 3:11. Boston had a 1-0 lead early in the game. The Bruins brought the puck back up ice, and Thornton threw the puck to the corner. The puck went around to Paille, who passed back to Thornton behind the net. He found Campbell in the slot 6:00 into the game. He shot it right into Price’s glove or pad, and then had a rebound that sat in the slot. The Habs cleared the puck, and Boston brought it back into the attacking zone. Horton then had a chance at 7:15 in the slot. He fanned on the initial, but got the second one off. Price made a great left pad save. Montreal tried to clear, but Boychuck found the puck. He shot from the point, and Boston was jamming at the net. The puck squirted out towards the sideboards. As the puck went up the boards Kreci would get called for hooking at 7:27 on Kostitsan. Early in the powerplay, Peverley had a takeaway, and almost had a shorthanded bid. He had to take the puck behind the net, and the B’s couldn’t develop anything. On the counter-attack, Wisnewski took an inadvertent stick to the mouth from Chara. The Bruins had a 2-on-1 chance up ice, but the refs blew it dead as Wisnewski lay on all fours on the ice. Once the whistle was blown, he stood right up and skated to the bench. The Bruins PK looked very good, and Thomas looked great to start. Around 10:50 Kostitsan skated right into the slot, but Thomas stuffed him. At 11:10, Thomas played a puck behind his net. Karble got the puck, and passed just ahead of Kelly. He raced to the puck, and poked it past a pinching Canadian. The Bruins now had a 3-on-1 up ice. Peverley took the shot, but it went wide. Scott Gomez decided to take out Kelly, who went face-first into the post.. Peverley approached him on the hit, and then Gomez grabbed his head! It was absolutely crazy, and Gomez went to the box at 11:21 for interference. :50 into the penalty, a flopping Desharnais gets Bergeron called for interference. I’ve watched this play over and over, and have no idea where this penalty is supposed to be! 4-on-4 hockey now. Hamerlik had a chance in the crease with the puck in the air, but the puck was found by Chara. He cleared the puck, and on they played. As time expired, Montreal now had 45 seconds on the powerplay. Boston controlled the puck for most of the penalty, and despite a last-minute attempt by Gionta, Boston survived. Boston set-up in the offensive zone. Chara got a point shot off that went wide. The puck hit the boards, and came to a speeding Horton. He turned, and banked the puck in the net off of Price at 14:38. Boston suddenly had a 2-0 lead. Both of these goals coming in the vulnerable minute for Montreal. Montreal quickly attacked, and Thomas made a terrific save off a tip by Pyatt. Boston took the puck back into the offensive zone, and held it there for most of the rest of the 1st period. With under 10 seconds to play, Montreal dumped the puck into the Boston zone. Boychuck chased after it, and took a hit from White. After White’s check, Pouliot came flying in and left his feet in an attempt to hit Boychuck up high. It was absolutely despicable, and a much worse hit than the Chara-Pacioretty one (except no one got hurt). Andrew Ferrence didn’t like it as well, and went right after Pouliot. They exchanged in a good bout, with Ferrence eventually getting the takedown. Pouliot got called for an extra charging at 19:57 Boston would exit the 1st, with a surprising 2-0 lead.
The Bruins began the 2nd on the powerplay. But again, it was ineffective. They were now 0-2 without a shot on net. Just as the penalty expired, Price tried to clear the puck from the trapezoid. The puck hit Recchi though, and Peverley picked up the puck and easily put it in the net at 2:02. Boston was now up 3-0. Montreal was a bit taken aback by the goal, and at 3:04, the were called for too many men. Again, Boson’s powerplay looked pathetic. Montreal got the puck after Kostitsan tripped Horton with his skate. It was picked up by Gil, who passed to Subban. Lucic poked it away, and had a breakaway chance. But Price stuffed him 5-hole. Montreal took the puck back up ice, and Kostitsan made a great deke against Chara, and put the puck through Thomas’s legs for the goal. It was now 3-1 Boston, 7:03 into the 2nd. Boston brought a good counter-attack, and at 8:00, Ryder had a chance on a puck in the air in the crease. Price was able to find it, after Ryder took a stick to the face. Montreal was getting tons of pressure on Boston midway through the second. They really surged after their goal, putting a ton of pucks on Thomas. Off a face-off win in their own zone, the puck slid towards the Boston zone and Gionta had a great shot on Thomas. He made the save, and Darche was checked behind the net. He went down as if shot, and stayed down. When the play was whistled dead, he started yapping at the refs. But, the game continued. The B’s were able to get a good surge on Montreal, and around 12:45 Lucic passed back to Horton in the slot, but he couldn’t find the puck. A point shot by Boychuck hit a Canadian and bounced around, but Price made a spectacular save with his right pad. This became a very back-and-forth game. Each team having offensive surges off each spectacular save by Price or Thomas. The B’s brought the puck up ice, and Recchi was called for a hold at 17:55. The Habs went on their fourth powerplay of the night. Montreal attacked quick and early. They had a chance in the slot seconds into the penalty, and Camellaria fanned on a chance sprinting into the slot. The Boston PK unit though was up to the task. The best penalty killer was by far Tim Thomas. He looked sharp for the whole game. As the penalty expired, the period ended soon after. Boston took a 3-1 lead into the 3rd.
Montreal came out in the 3rd firing on all cylinders. Gionta had a chance in the slot, but Bergeron locked up with him to keep him from receiving the pass. The puck was passed behind the net by Hamerlik to Gionta, who then found Hamerlik who had a wide open net to shoot at. The puck appeared to trickle right past the post, and there was a pileup at the net. Boston grabbed the puck and had a 3-1 up ice, but Wisnewski hit the ice to block Marchands pass. Montreal got the puck back, and quickly started their counter-attack. Spacek took a shot from the circle that was tipped in front by Pyatt, But Kabrle was able to clear the net. Boston took the puck away, and Thornton headed up ice. Subban lined him up, but Thornton saw the hit coming and got his hands up to push-off the hit. Montreal would take the puck back up ice, and continue their relentless attack just 4:00 into the game. And at 4:08, Thomas Plekanec scored off a very bad-angle shot in-between the circle and the goal-line, and it got through the 5-hole of Tim Thomas. It was now 3-2, and Montreal had all the momentum in this game. Just 44 seconds later, Kostetsian took a slash at Ference’s legs, and he went down. And the very honorable Canadian fans booed. Boston went on the powerplay at 4:44. The powerplay remained pathetic, and very ineffective. The score remained 3-2. As the game approached 10:00 remaining in the 3rd, Boston started playing prevent defense. They would take the puck behind Thomas, bring it to the neutral zone, dump it in, and just try to sustain some pressure for a moment. Boston would get their third 3-on-1 chance around the 13:24 mark, as Seidenberg knocked away a Canadian pass. The puck went to Kreci, who brought it up ice with Lucic middle and Horton far left. Kreci passed to Horton who shot wide. As Montreal was starting an attack, Gill gave the puck away to Thornton in the neutral zone. He passed between the legs to Campbell, who got a shot off that was tipped by Paille. The rebound was picked up by Thornton who just missed, going wide of the post. It was a great shift by the fourth line. The Canadians started getting some pressure on Boston. Chara cleared the puck and Gionta attacked his legs. Chara felt he was intentionally trying to take him out and potentially hurt him, and asked the refs as he skated up ice. The arms stayed down. Montreal has some huge chances on the counter-attack. Plekanec passed from the sideboards to Cammalleri in the center of the slot. He had the puck knocked away by Seidenberg. Kostitsan picked the puck up, and was robbed by Thomas with the right pad save. Then Hamerlik initiated contact against Ryder as he brought the puck up ice, and went down like he was shot as Jack Edwards said. He tried to nurse it for a penalty, but no call from the refs. Then Recchi was screening in front of Carey Price, and bumped into him. Price flopped down looking for an interference call. It was a pathetic display by the Canadians. Montreal brought the puck up ice, and started peppering Thomas. Thomas came up huge. He made one incredible save after another, including jumping on a puck trickling towards the goal line. He got the whistle, and the game remained 3-2. Montreal emptied the net at 18:51. Boston plugged them up in the neutral zone though. Montreal finally got into Boston’s zone with about 40 seconds remaining. Boston pressured the puck, and took it away. Kelly got the puck to Recchi, who passed back to Kelly who scored on the empty net to all but end the game, 4-2. He also buried P.K. Subban into the back of the net as well. Ryder gets called for a trip at 19:54 on Pyatt who tumbled through the air as if trying to fly. It didn’t matter, as Boston had stolen a game in Montreal. The series was now 1-2 in favor of Montreal.
The Bruins looked very good in the game Monday night. They had some strong finishes by guys who need to finish. Kreci’s 1st period goal was huge for Boston. It gave them an early lead, which is critical to their success. It also should help spark the sagging 1st line, and especially Kreci, who missed on a similar play in game 2. Horton’s goal was lucky, but still, maybe it can get his confidence going. He did miss at an open net in the 3rd, which would have put the Habs away. Lucic has been invisible. His breakaway chance in the 2nd was pathetic. Bergeron had a very good game. He was pressuring the puck, and throwing his body around. It was a great effort by him, and we need to see more of that in the upcoming games. Just as long as Claude gives him the ice-time. The defense also looked much more improved. They weren’t making bad decisions with the puck, and chose the right times to pinch.The biggest star of the night though was Tim Thomas. He came up huge, making some incredible saves. His saves gave the B’s some momentum during the game. The two goals he let in were very soft. He should be able to take away that 5th-hole with ease. If he can take away those mistakes, Boston will be in good shape in the next game.
While this game does give me hope about the B’s, I’m still not sure about them. The Horton and Peverley goal were both very lucky. Boston only scored one true goal. Considering that, they should have lost 2-1. Their defense was much improved. They didn’t make any dumb passes like they did in the first two games, and it showed. Boston now has a considerably better chance to win game 4, but I still don’t expect a victory. Their a better road team, and have momentum, but this is the team that blew a 3-0 lead last year. Nothing surprises me anymore. The Canadians have only lost two series when up 2-0. The 1996 Rangers, and 2006 Hurricanes both beat the Canadians after losing the first 2 Both won the series 4-2. And the ’06 Hurricanes went on the win the Stanley Cup with now Bruin, Mark Recchi on the team. Maybe this Bruins team can get some magic happening.