The Bruins have regained control of the Eastern Conference Finals, now up 3 games to 2. This following their 3-1 win in game 5 at the TD Garden. The Bruins didn’t play a great game at all. The team as a whole was terrible in the 1st period. The defense stepped up in the 2nd and 3rd period, and the offense was opportunistic. Mike Smith was in net for the Lightning, after he had stopped all 21 shots in game 4. I was very surprised, since Roloson is part of the reason they made it into the Eastern Conference Finals. Smith has looked good in his limited time in the postseason, but he had never started a game until last night. So how did the Bruins pull this one off?
The game is underway, and Marchand took a huge hit from Mattiaus Ohlund at center ice. Marchand went right back after him at the boards, but nothing illegal happening. The Bruins had possession in the attacking zone, when Kreci lost control of the puck after a big hit into the boards. Ference pinched in to stop the puck, but slipped down to the ice. Stamkos picked up the puck, and him and Gange had a 2-on-1 up ice now. Stamkos centered a pass from the far circle for Gange, who got a shot off through the legs of Johnny Boychuck, and into the net. Tampa had another quick lead, up 1-0 at 1:09 in the game. Tampa was 8-0 when scoring first, until the Bruins beat them in game 2 when they scored first. So this will be a tough game for the Bruins to come back in. Boston calmed the game down a bit, but looked very weak in the neutral zone. Tampa was much more physical early in the game. Boston was fighting for the puck in the attacking zone, when Lecavalier hooked down Bergeron for a penalty at 5:13. The powerplay now had a very important chance to get right back in this game. The powerplay was awful, and it ended early. Seguin would be called for tripping at . It was a dive, but also an unnecessary penalty taken by Seguin, as he smacked the skates of well after the puck was gone. So after 38 seconds of 4-on-4, the Lightning went on the powerplay. The penalty kill for Boston was great, easily killing off the remainder of the Seguin penalty. Midway through the game, the Bruins were being outshot 6-2. Boston looked like they were going to have a good scoring chance, as Marchand tried to get a pass across ice in the attacking zone. The pass was picked off, and chipped out by Tampa. Marchand skated lazily to the puck, while Stamkos came flying down the ice after the puck. Stamkos picked the puck up, deked, and then was hammered by Ference to deny his scoring chance. He went tumbling into the net, and the play was whistled dead. Ference would receive a minor for cross-checking, and Tampa was back on the powerplay at 12:17. Tampa had control of the puck for the entire penalty, getting great chances on Thomas. Thomas was solid in net, and his defense did a good job keeping pucks away from him. Finally, with 12 seconds left in the penalty, the Bruins cleared the puck. The penalty ended, and the game was still 1-0. The Bruins had a 3-on-2 up ice with the 1st line, and Horton finally got ar Bruin shot off blocked by Smith. That was just their 3rd shot in over 15 minutes of play. The 1st line of Boston started to get them some momentum back, but it was all Lightning this period. As the Lighting were coming up ice, Nathan Horton would be called for interference at 19:09. The period ended without a goal by the Lightning, so they would have 1:09 remaining on the penalty to start the 2nd. Tampa Bay dominated the 1st period of play, getting 14 shots on net, while the Bruins only had 4. It was a slow start by the Bruins, and the will have to play much better in the 2nd and 3rd to get themselves back in this game.
The period started with a shortened powerplay for the Lightning. A good pk by Boston though denied any good scoring chances by Tampa. So back to 5-on-5 they went. Tampa had a great chance after the penalty though, when Malone found Downie in the far slot for a one-time. Thomas made a great move though to stop the puck. During the next shift by the 1st line, Nathan Horton would again be called again for interference at 2:07. The Boston pk was good again, denying the Lightning any good scoring chances. The penalty ended with the game still 1-0. After the penalty ended, Boston would force a face-off in the Lightning zone. Kreci won the face-off back, and the puck was sent down the sideboards. Lucic dug the puck out, and made a terrific backhand pass to Horton in the near circle. He got a rocket of a one-timer off, and put the puck in the back of the net. Boston had tied the game 1-1 at 4:24. That was the first goal given up by Mike Smith in this series. Both teams now had the offenses rolling, and were trading chances back and forth. Down in the Boston zone, Ryan Malone would be called for interference at 6:42. But Marchand would receive a matching minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. They skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes now. Early into the 4-on-4, Tampa would be called for hooking at 7:05. Peverley was skating into the slot, and towards the far post. He was hooked by Ohlund, which denied him a chance to shot. Boston had a 4-on-3 for 1:36. Another huge powerplay for the Bruins, and one they need to score on. The 4-on-3 ended without a goal, and it became a 5-on-4 for 24 seconds. Still nothing for the Bruins, and the game remained tied at 1. Seguin almost had a chance, as a pass went just past his reach. Smith came out to play the puck, and knocked it out of Seguin’s reach. Later in the shift, Seguin flattened Stamkos in front of the net. The kid was playing with a hop in his step, and the Bruins responded with some aggressive play. Boston had the puck in the attacking zone, and Chara went behind the net to get the puck. He was hooked down by Brewer, and Boston was yet again on the powerplay at 11:40. The powerplay was stifled yet again, and that makes them 0-3 on the night. The tempo had slowed down, as we were now under 5 minutes to play. Chara came up with a takeaway in the neutral zone. He sent the puck in deep, and chased after it. Marchand grabbed the puck on the far boards, and passed up to Chara. He shuffled a pass to the far circle to Bergeron. Bergeron sent a slap pass across ice to the near slot for Marchand. He tipped the puck in off the pass, and Boston had taken the lead 2-1 at 15:56. The Lighting were playing with desperation now, just attacking Thomas relentlessly. Tampa was stacking the crease with bodies, but Thomas was solid in net to deny any scoring chances. The period would come to a close, with the Bruins surprisingly up 2-1. Boston played much better defensively, allowing just 9 shots on net by Tampa to Boston’s 8. The Bruins now just need to hold onto this game, and they would take a 3-2 series lead.
The 3rd period started with a good shift from the Bergeron line. But the ever quick Lightning came back with a chance off the rush. Blaire Jones received a pass in the near slot behind the Bruins defenders, and he deked to the forehand and got a shot off. The puck bounced off Thomas’s left shoulder, and hit the far post to stay out. Jones had raised his hands up as he had thought he scored, but on they played. Boston got the skates moving off a big check at the near boards by Marchand on Lecavalier. Marchand picked up the puck, and Boston had a 4-on-2 now up ice. Marchand passed from the near circle to Bergeron in the slot, and he passed to Chara at the far slot. Chara held the puck, and went around the net to try to get a scoring chance. Tampa was able to regroup though, and denied the Bruins a scoring chance. Tampa was out shooting the Bruins 7-0, 7 minutes into the 3rd period. Finally Kaberle got a shot off just past the 8 minute mark. He hit the mask of Smith, and the puck stayed out. Boston had finally enter the shot column. Tampa brought the puck up ice, and crowded the Boston net with bodies. Brewer took a shot intentionally wide to create an open chance at the near post. Steve Downie went in for the puck, caught it off the rebound from the end boards, and had a wide open net to shoot at now. Thomas though made a dive from the top of his crease to the near post, and with the toe of his paddle, stopped the puck from going in. That was the best save of the season, and possibly the most important save in the Bruins 2010-2011 season. Boston now had numbers up ice, and Chara had the puck skating into the slot. He hid the puck with his stick, and went for a backhand shot under the bar. But Smith made a fantastic glove save of his own. Back-to-back amazing saves by each goaltender kept the game 2-1 midway through the 3rd. The 1st line of Boston followed that up with more pressure, and Kreci had a great chance in the near circle. Smith made the save though, and he would cover up the puck. Tampa won the ensuing face-off back, and brought the puck up ice. Tampa dumped the puck in, and it was picked up by Boychuck behind the net. Boychuck passed up the far boards, and Downie came in from the near side. He absolutely blindsided Boychuck, sending his head into the boards as a result of whiplash. Boychuck immediately went to the dressing room, holding his head. Downie would be called for boarding, but only received a 2 minute minor at 10:54. That was complete bush league, and hopefully the league takes a look at this. The Bruins had control of the puck for most of the powerplay, but were unable to get any pucks in the back of then net. Chara finally was placed in front of the Lightning net, and the Bruins had a couple of close tip-in opportunities. They looked much better, even if they didn’t score. Hopefully Julien realizes that works, and goes to it again next powerplay. Tampa came back with tremendous pressure of their own. Thomas almost made another huge mistake behind the Boston net, similar to the 1st goal he allowed in game 4. He stopped the puck in the trapezoid, with a Bruin and Lightning player coming from each side. He looked confused on what to do, so he sent it to the closest Bruin to him. He scurried back to the net, as a Lightning player picked off the pass. Ference tripped Steve Downie behind him, as the Lightning had a quick chance in the slot. Thomas stuffed the puck, and grabbed it with his glove. Boston brought the puck back up ice, and almost scored a funny goal. A shot from the near circle hit the top of Smith’s glove, and then the top of the net. Then Horton dumped the puck into the Lightning zone as the Bruins went for a change. Smith went behind the net to play the puck, but it caromed off the endboards and went right through the crease. Another close call for Tampa, very lucky that the Bruins were making a change. Just after the 2 minute mark, Claude Julien called his time-out to talk last second strategy with his team. As Tampa was coming up ice, the puck bounced off the line judges skate. Tampa would be called for offsides, and Guy Boucher decided to take his timeout now, 18:51 into the game. Lecavalier won the puck back, but it was knocked away by Recchi. The Bruins plugged up the neutral zone, denying any clear path for the Lightning to breakout, and keeping Smith in the Tampa net. Finally the Lighting were able to settle the puck in their own zone, and came up ice as they emptied the net at the 19:15 mark. The Lightning entered the zone, but Kelly knocked down a pass at the point. It was gloved down by Peverley, who skated into the neutral zone. Peverly tried to get a shot off from center ice, but it was blocked down by Marc-Andre Bergeron. Peverley picked the puck right back up though, skated into the slot, and easily put the puck in the net for the empty net goal. Boston was up 3-1 at the 19:47 mark. The game was all but over, but Tampa kept the goalie pulled. The Lightning sent the puck in deep, and McQuaid pinned the puck against the boards. He bled the clock down, and the game would come to a close. A huge scrum ensued after the buzzer sounded, with the Lightning obviously frustrated by the outcome of the game. The Bruins held their ground though, and had won game 5, 3-1.
This was a huge win for the Bruins. Boston came out slow, and allowed an early 1st period goal for the 2nd straight game at the Garden. The 1st period was an awful performance by the Bruins. The offense was invisible, getting just 4 shots on net the whole period. Boston went over a 13 minute span without a shot. The defense made just 1 crucial mistake, which resulted in the early goal. The Bruins were outshot 34-20 in the game, but still came away with the win. This shows how great Tim Thomas was, and how mediocre Mike Smith was. Smith was virtually untested all night. He faced 4 shots in the 1st, 8 shots in the 2nd (which he allowed 2 goals), and 8 shots in the 3rd. The Bruins should not have won this game, and Guy Boucher should have started Dwayne Roloson. I think Roloson would have had a better game, and the Lightning would have had a better chance to win. The reason the Bruins won this game was quite simply, Tim Thomas. Thomas was monstrous in net. He allowed the 1st shot on goal into the back of the net, and then stopped the other 33. He was virtually perfect, and his offense helped him out just enough. Thomas has now stopped 30+ pucks in every game thus far. The Lightning played a great game, had solid defense, and plenty of chances on offense. They just ran into a red-hot Tim Thomas.
On a more serious note, Johnny Boychuck exited game 5 after a blindsided hit by Steve Downie, in which Boychuck’s head whiplashed into the end glass. Boychuck hit the ice, and stayed down for a moment. Boychuck was wobbly when he stood up, and was aided by Bergeron and Ference off the ice, where he went immediately to the dressing room. He did not return. He said he was fine as he left the arena with Tomas Kaberle, and coach Julien said about the hit, “I haven’t had an opportunity to look at it, I haven’t watched the video yet. I know some people have. From what I hear, it’s not a great hit. I’ll maybe reserve my comments a bit more until after I see it.” I certainly hope the league looks at this hit, and suspends Steve Downie for 1 or 2 games.
I look for a much better game from the Bruins in game 6. They appeared to have no energy the entire night, and were very fortunate to pick up the win. Boston needs to come out with a burning fire to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1990. I think game 6 will be a bit more high scoring, with both teams scoring 3 or 4 goals. An interesting statistic; after this win, the Bruins are now 7-0 when Nathan Horton scores, and 8-0 when Bergeron has an assist. I look for the Bruins to win game 6 Wednesday night in Tampa, and return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Wow, what a game… again! This was just a spectacular game, full of drama, and was very thrilling to watch. A shutout game into the 3rd period, and it resulted in a double overtime finish. What more could you ask for. Going into this game NESN had a very interesting stat for each goaltender. They said that Carey Price in Game 5’s, was 0-2 with a 5.00 GAA and .833 save percentage. Tim Thomas meanwhile was 2-0 with a 0.50 GAA and a .980 save percentage with 1 shutout. Well, Thomas definitely lived up to that reputation! Now on to the game that was.
Boston started the game very aggressive, but then turned the puck over. Montreal was able to get the puck on Thomas, but he made the save down-low. Boston brought the puck back into the Montreal zone, and the 1st line got good pressure on Price. An intentionally wide shot came right to Lucic, but he was clamped down on by Wisniewski. Lucic got the puck back though, and got a shot on net that was deflected in front by Kreci and bounced to the corner off the pads. Kreci picked it up and wheeled around a pass to the front of the net, and it went right by Horton. Montreal was able to clear the puck out of there zone. Marchand brought the puck up ice and tried to get a pass to Recchi on his right in the circle. The puck bounced to the corner boards, and was retrieved by Bergeron. Bergeron found Recchi right in front of Price, but the shot stopped by Price. Marchand came flying in on a rebound chance, but Price slammed the door shut making a couple impressive saves in a row. The Bruins were playing very well just 5:00 into the game. They had a lot of energy, and were very physical. Around the 6:40 mark, their was a face-off in the Boston zone. It was a stalemate and the puck trickled towards Thomas. He tried to poke check it away but missed, and it went right towards the post. He went spread-eagle, but was lucky as a Bruin picked up the puck. With 3 Canadians jamming the net, Boston now had numbers coming up ice. It was a 5-on-3, and Kreci passed from the near side to Lucic in the middle. He shot the puck, and it was slowed down by a diving Canadian. Price went to make the save, and was now in an awkward position on his behind, while Bergeron picked the puck up. Subban had back-pressure, and knocked the puck away. Boston had set up in the Montreal zone when Seidenberg attempted a dee pass to Chara. The puck was picked-off by Cammalleri, who now had a breakaway chance coming up the far side. Seidenberg was quick on his feet, and dove to close off his space. Cammalleri was forced to slow down, but he had 2 teammates coming up ice. Thomas being the aggressor, came way out of his crease. Cammalleri deked and passed through the diving Thomas to Plekanec. It looked like a sure goal, except for one thing. Coming down ice to provide back pressure was Michael Ryder. Ryder set himself up in the net when Thomas left. When the shot came in from Plekanec, he threw his right hand up and made an incredible glove save. Montreal was able to keep the puck in the zone, and attacked relentlessly. Boston was able to get the puck, and finally cleared after some great saves by Thomas (and Ryder). Around the 10:30 mark, Boston dumped the puck into the sideboards. Price caught the puck in the trapezoid, but would give it away to Horton on the pass. Horton passed to the slot to Kreci, but Carey Price made a spectacular save of his own with the pads and he covered up. Montreal came back with some tremendous pressure of their own. Plekanec got a shot off from the point, and it was redirected by Cammalleri. Thomas made a ridiculous kick with the left skate to save the goal. Both teams had tremendous energy to start this game, and both goaltenders were superb to start. You could tell from the get-go this was gonna be a good one. Gionta came up ice for Montreal, and headed down the sideboards. Ference was pressuring him, poking at the puck. Gionta decided to skate right into the stick (even though he didn’t have to) for a holding penalty at 14:16. Chris Kelly almost had a shorthanded bid at 15:15. Peverley picked off a pass in the neutral zone, and passed to Kelly coming up ice. Kelly deked out a Canadian defender, and had 3 Canadians behind him. He just couldn’t get the puck on his stick for the backhand attempt. Montreal was attempting to come up ice off the miss, and Desharnais skated right into Boychuck who wasn’t near the play. And with a little bit of acting by Boychuck, he was able to get an interference penalty at 15:47. It would be 4-on-4 for 30 seconds before Boston would go on the powerplay. Boston was able to keep the puck in Montreal’s zone for virtually the whole 30 seconds, denying the Canadians any chances. Boston was bringing the puck up ice, when Kreci found Lucic in-between 2 Canadians. Lucic had a breakaway, and shot the puck right into Prices chest. The Bruins powerplay was up to par (meaning awful), before Rich Peverley would receive a terrible interference call at 17:11. Peverley was knocked into Price by Subban, and Price hit the ice. It was now 4-on-4 for 36 seconds. The B’s were able to control the puck though, and Montreal couldn’t muster anything on the powerplay. The clock wind down, and the game was scoreless heading into the 2nd.
Boston started quickly in the 2nd, getting shots on Price before a minute had passed. Marchand came behind the net, and passed to Bergeron, who sent it to Recchi right in front of the net. Price made another tremendous save to keep the game scoreless. Just 1:53 into the period, Travis Moen received a holding penalty. 10 seconds into the penalty, Kaberle couldn’t handle the puck. It was picked up, and skated up ice by Halpern. He had Plekanec on his right, and Chara in-between them. Chara hit the ice, and stopped the cross-ice pass to deny the shorthanded pass. Another powerplay, another no goal for Boston. The tempo of the game slowed down after the slow-moving powerplay by Boston, and they were suddenly half-way through the 2nd. At the 10:56 mark, and indirect pass by Subban for Kostitsan put the Canadians in a 2-on-1 situation. Kostitsan shot the puck at Thomas, and he closed up the 5-hole, burying the puck underneath him. After that play, Montreal was able to sustain some pressure for a moment, but nothing surfaced. It became a dump and chase game by both teams. 16:15 into the 2nd, Boston won a face-off in the attacking zone. The puck was sent into the corner, and picked up by Kreci. He tried a wraparound attempt, but was stuffed by Price. The puck was picked up by Wisniewski, who tried to flip it out of the zone. It was gloved down by Kreci but he was clamped down on by the Montreal defense before he could get a shot off. Just as the period was winding down, there was a bit of excitement. Peverley tapped a blocked shot to Ryder. Ryder brought it through the neutral zone, and passed back to Peverley who shot wide. Just as the 19:00 mark hit, Seidenberg picked off a Montreal pass at the point. He passed to Marchand all alone in the high slot. He tried to go to the post, but Price held it. As he went behind the net, he passed to the net to try to get some offense. But Price appeared to have covered the puck. Marchand was jamming behind Price, and got the attention of Plekanec. Plekanec took a couple of shots at Marchands face, and drove him into the post. It looked like both wanted to go. Plekanec got a punch off, and Marchand appeared to get a punch or two off before the interfering linesmen forced Marchand to fall to the ice. Recchi then tried pushing Gil away from the pile, and he caught an inadvertent elbow to the head. Recchi didn’t like that, and started swiping at Gil furiously. Bergeron broke up the fight, and then Gionta came over and got Recchi’s attention. Seidenberg grabbed a hold of Gionta, and Subban grabbed Seidenberg. Then it looked like Seidenberg asked Subban if he wanted to go, and Subban nodded. Seidenberg was about to wiggle his gloves off to fight, when Subban backed away and started yapping at him. Brad Marchand and Tomas Plekanec each received roughing penalties at 19:07. It was now 4-on-4 for the last 52 seconds of the 2nd period. The 2nd didn’t provide as much flare as the 1st period did, and the game remained scoreless. This was setting up to be a classic in Boston.
The 3rd period started fast and quick. Dennis Seidenberg brought the puck into the attacking zone, and tried to get a bad angle shot on Price, but he hit the side of the net. The puck was picked up by Kelly, who wheeled around a pass to Peverley. Peverley couldn’t get a shot off, because he was tripped by a diving Subban. For some reason there was no penalty. Gionta took the puck into the Boston zone, and skated around the far circle, and 3 Bruins to get in Tim Thomas’s face. He got a backhand on net, but Thomas made a nice save. The puck was picked up by Boston, and they had a 3-on-2 up ice. Peverley came up the near side, and passed to Chara in the middle. He shot a bomb from the high slot, but Price made the pad save. The puck stayed in the crease, and was picked up Peverley. He shot it right into Price, and the puck trickled by the far post. Coming out of the penalty box, Marchand picked the puck up and shot on net. It was deflected by Bergeron right into Prices gut. Marchand drove hard to the net, and stirred up more trouble. Bergeron came in to help him out by taking hold of Subban, and skating back with him. The two grabbed each others collars, and started yapping back-and-forth. Bergeron was done talking, and gave a little push to the bigger and stronger Subban, who proceeded to fall to the ice. Nice dive ya baby! Anyways, the game continued with no penalties. Off a Montreal dump, Boston took control of the puck and brought it up ice. Ryder skated up the sideboards, and turned back. He dumped the puck behind the net, and it was picked up by Peverley. Peverley came out, and found Ryder in the high slot for a one timer. Price made another great blocker save to keep the game scoreless. Montreal cleared the puck into the Boston zone, and Boston came back up ice. Chara chipped it into the corner, where Marchand retrieved it. He passed back to Recchi in the slot, who tapped it just wide of the post. Recchi retrieved the puck, and got it to Chara who dumped it back in. Marchand picked it up behind the net, and passed to Bergeron in the slot. Bergeron broke his stick on the shot attempt, and it trickled through the crease. Marchand found it, and put it in the back of the net for the games first goal at 4:33. Boston was up 1-0, and with the way Tim Thomas was playing, that might have been all they needed. The intensity of this game had quickly picked up. Montreal started controlling the puck in the Boston zone, and the Bruins were forced to ice the puck twice. Claude Julien even called his time-out to give his players some rest. Montreal continued to pressure Boston, not allowing them to get the offense started. Plekanec came down the sideboards with the puck, and passed back to Subban for the one-timer. The puck hit a mass of bodies in front of Thomas, and Seidenberg made a tremendous poke check to clear the puck from the slot. Boston started playing conservative hockey, which is not smart against a fast rush Canadians team. Boston had a turnover in the center-circle, and Montreal dumped the puck in. It was sent around the boards by McQuaid, but bounced off Lucic’s skates to Darche. His snap-shot hit the post, and Montreal remained goalless. Boston started getting the offense moving, and it was started by Brad Marchand. A bad angle shot was stopped by Price. Montreal couldn’t clear the puck, and Recchi got a shot off from the far circle with Marchand deflecting the puck into Price’s gut. Montreal then came right back, and crashed the net off a shot from the near circle by Plekanec. The puck hit Thomas’s glove, and fluttered into the air. The puck came down, and Thomas hit the ice. Kostitsan got off a shot in the slot that hit Thomas on the ice. Off the ensuing face-off, the puck was pinned along the sideboards. It was chipped behind the net, where Darch passed to Eller, and the puck jumped off his stick to Halpern in the slot. Halpern put the puck over a flopping Thomas at 13:56 to tie the game. Suddenly, things looked very scary in Boston. The B’s went back onto the attack, with Kreci taking the puck around Price. He passed to Chara at the point, who passed to Lucic at the circle. Lucic got a shot through traffic, but Price made the stop. The end of the 3rd was a back-and-forth battle between the teams. The 3rd period ended, and we were headed for sudden death overtime again, this time tied at 1.
About 1:30 into the OT, Boston came up ice with the 1st line. Kreci was on the far side, and he passed to Lucic in the middle. Lucic got a great shot off, but Carey Price made a terrific save to keep the OT going. This game wouldn’t receive a quick OT goal like the last game did. Montreal started getting pressure in the Bruins zone. Subban passed from the point to Gionta at the far circle. He passed across ice to Desharnais who had an open net, but the puck bounced off his stick. He passed back to Subban, who was able to get it Gionta, but the puck exploded on him as well. He was able to pass back to Hamerlik at the point, who shot for the net, and Thomas gloved it down. That was a huge break for the Bruins. The tempo was picking up, creating a back-and-forth environment. Boston dumped the puck into the attacking zone. Price picked the puck up right to next to the post. Price attempted to make a play on the puck, but he fanned on the pass. A charging Marchand now had a play on the puck, and almost put it in the net. Price was inadvertently tripped by Marchand, and he fell on the puck to cover it up. Montreal brought the puck back up ice with numbers. Darch passed from the near side through the crease looking for a redirection, but there was no one there. These offenses just kept going back and forth midway through the OT. At the 13:40 mark, Bergeron went behind and around Price. He passed back to Recchi, who hit the far post. Montreal took the puck back up ice. Kostitsan passed from the near sideboards across ice to Plekanec. He came slowly down the far slot, and Thomas came out to meet him like always. He deked, and went to the back of the goal and passed through a diving Thomas to Cammalleri. 4 Bruins were in on the play, and 3 were in front of the net to support the diving Thomas. When Cammalleri shot at the net, it hit Bergeron’s back, and then Chara’s skate to bounce away from the goal. That was as lucky as you can get. Boston came up ice with their own counter-attack. Peverley shot the puck intentionally wide. It bounced off the boards to Ryder, who passed from behind the net to Kelly in the slot. Kelly was tripped by P.K. Subban’s skate, and couldn’t make a play. For some reason though, no penalty. Chara brought the puck back up ice, and made some swift moves to get by the Canadians defense. He threw a shot on net, and Price held the near post. The puck came back to Sopel, who through it to the sideboards. It was picked up by Eller, who had it knocked away by Marchand. The puck was picked up by Bergeron, who had a clear 1-on-1 with Price in the slot, but he was tripped by Sopel. A clear scoring chance denied, and it resulted in a tripping penalty on Sopel at 16:12. I don’t think it was worthy of a penalty shot, but I would have much rather seen that than another failed powerplay by Boston. The game remained 1-1. As the seconds waned away, it was time to head to the 2nd overtime of the night.
Montreal started the 2nd OT aggressive. Darche had a point shot off a face-off in the Boston zone, but Thomas made the save. Cammalleri had a good shot from the far circle, but Thomas made another great save. Off another face-off in the Bruins zone, Montreal took possession of the puck. Kelly broke his stick, and the puck went to Hamerlik at the point. He took a shot, and it was tipped by Halpern right in front of Thomas who made the save. Boston started getting its offense started. Seidenberg brought the puck behind the net, and passed to Kreci in front. His shot went wide. Later, Kaberle would dump the puck in to the near boards, and it was fetched by Peverley. He passed to Ryder at the circle who got a shot off, and Price made a tremendous save. Montreal cleared, and Boston came back up ice. Marchand took the puck to the near boards, and passed back to Boychuck at the point. His blast was saved by Price, and ricocheted out to Gionta. Gionta passed to Moen, and Montreal had a 2-on-1. Moen passed back to Gionta in the slot, and Thomas made an absolutely ridiculous save. He went right to left, and robbed Gionta with the left pad. It would prove to be his biggest save of the night. Boston was feeling it now, and they were able to control the puck for once in this overtime. Horton passed through the neutral zone to Lucic. He went down into the corner, and took a bad angle shot at Price. The puck came out, and was picked up by Horton. He went back to the point, and passed to Lucic, who passed to Ference. From the point, Ference took a shot on net, and it was tipped by Kreci. The puck hit Price, and bounced right to Nathan Horton in the crease. And at 9:03, Horton buried the puck in the back of the net, and the Boston Bruins won game 5 in double overtime 2-1.
Whew, I am sweating. Sometimes, things are just too close for comfort. With the way that this Bruins team plays, I was wondering if they were going to blow it at some point. But, they played great hockey, and Thomas was spectacular. For once, there isn’t much to criticizes about this team. They played great, hung in there when things got tough, and pulled out a huge win. Going into game 6, I feel very confident about this team. I want to think that they’ve flipped the switch, so-to-speak, and have figured out how to finish. This is a very different team than played in games 1 and 2. This is a much better road than home team. So, even though the Bell Center is a tough place to play, I give the Bruins a big chance to come out on top in game 6. If the Bruins lose game 6, I wouldn’t be surprised either. Montreal certainly doesn’t want to lose to their most hated rival, in their own arena. If the Bruins do lose, it would depend on how they lost on the chances they have going into game 7. If it’s another game like this, then I’d say they have a great chance to win. Both goaltenders were outstanding, and sometimes you just can’t beat a hot goalie. So if the offense can get 2 or even 3 goals, and they lose, I wouldn’t be as worried if they lose 1-0. One things for sure, the B’s man-advantage sucks. They are 0-fer in the series, and need to fix that. Even if they do win this series without scoring a powerplay goal, they won’t fair well in the next round playing that way. Changes have to be made, and I don’t care if it’s moving players around, or changing up the approach. Something just has to change, because they are not going to score the way their powerplay is trying to score! Heading into game 6, I feel good though. It’s a toss-up game, as both teams have reasons why they could or should win. But, I do feel a lot better now that Boston is up 3-2 heading to Montreal, instead of down 3-2.