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Bruins win in Shootout 3-2

The Bruins edged out a win in Chicago against the Blackhawks, winning in a shootout 3-2. Tyler Seguin continues to show the brilliance that made him the #2 overall pick last year, as he now leads the team with 5 points on the season. Tim Thomas was great again for the Bruins, and is showing no signs of a setback like he experienced in 2009-2010. That was a year removed from winning the Vezina trophy, and leading the Bruins to the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins were again without David Kreci, as well as Adam McQuaid, who was out with a head injury suffered in Carolina. McQuaid was replaced by Matt Bartowski. Bartowski was actually traded to the Bruins along with Dennis Seidenberg from the Florida Panthers in 2009-2010. In his first season in the AHL, Bartowski had 23 points in 69 games and was -18 on the year. Not very impressive stats, and I don’t look for him to be a long-term replacement for McQuaid. Expect Steven Kampfer to play for McQuaid if he’s out for significant time, as soon as Kampfer is off the Injured Reserved though. The Bruins are off until Tuesday night, and they have a much-needed win as they head home to face the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tim Thomas leads the Bruins to a Shootout win in Chicago, 3-2

1st Period

The Bruins came out hot, with Tyler Seguin creating chances again on the 1st line. He made a cross ice pass to a wide open Lucic in the near circle. Lucic had Crawford lunging from post-to-post, but missed his shot high. The 1st line for Chicago brought the pressure right back though, forcing the Bruins back on their heels. Patrick Kane worked a give-and-go with Stalberg, and got behind the Bruins defense. He entered the slot, deked to the backhand, but Thomas made a spectacular glove save. Off a face-off in the offensive zone, Gregory Campbell and Jamal Mayers decided to go at it right after the puck was dropped. It was nothing spectacular, but Campbell was hoping to create a spark for this Bruins team. Both players received 5 minute majors for fighting at 7:48. Johnny Boychuk started a breakout for the Bruins. He sent the puck up ice to Lucic, who found Seguin skating through the center slot. Seguin veered off to the far circle to draw the defenders attention, and centered a pass for an open Nathan Horton right on the doorstep. Patrick Sharp just tipped the puck, and did not allow a proper tip for Nathan Horton as the puck skipped wide. Chicago brought the puck back into the Bruins zone. Johnny Boychuk went down to the near corner to get a loose puck, and would be tripped up by Stalberg. The Bruins had a powerplay at 9:17 to try to take the lead now. Boston was able to get 3 shots on goal, with great chances coming from Patrice Bergeron. But again no goal to speak of from the Bruins powerplay. They had good puck movement, and looked better to start then they had all night against Carolina. The Blackhawks would come back with another chance by Patrick Kane. A long pass through center ice set Kane up 1-on-1 with Joe Corvo. He had outside position on Corvo, stopped and spun around to get himself all alone in the center slot and launched a backhand. Tim Thomas showed his quickness, getting himself right in front of Kane as his shot went into Thomas’s gut. The Bruins were attempting to come up ice, but the Blackhawks did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone. Ference tried making a pass across ice, but it was tipped and picked off by Bryan Bickell. Bickel now had a breakaway, and beat Thomas. Chicago had a 1-0 lead 16:21 into the 1st period. Another great chance for the Blackhawks just seconds later with a 2-on-1. A cross-ice pass had Kane set up with an open net on the near side. But Tim Thomas made a ridiculous left-to-right pad save. The period would end with the Bruins down 1-0

2nd Period

The 2nd period started with a Boston penalty. Nathan Horton was called for goaltender interference 24 seconds into the period. Brent Seabrook took a bad angle shot that missed the net, and took a funny bounce off the sideboards. Rich Peverley picked the puck up, and the Bruins had a 2-on-1 up ice. Peverley held the puck into the far circle, drew the defender, passed across ice to Chris Kelly who buried it in the back of the net. Boston had tied the game on a shorthanded goal at 1:33. The powerplay ended for the Blackhawks with the game now tied at 1, but the Blackhawks kept the pressure on the Bruins. Great puck movement by the Blackhawks had the Boston defense reeling. Kane found himself all alone in the far circle, and beat Thomas 5-hole. Just as quickly as Boston had tied the game, the Blackhawks had taken the lead back 2-1 at 2:51. Chris Kelly created another chance for Boston. He took a shot from the near boards, beat Crawford low to the blocker side, but the puck hit the post and stayed out. Patrick Sharp came into the Bruins zone with speed, and ripped a one-timer to the glove of Tim Thomas. Thomas just got his glove there in time, as the puck deflected up and over the goal. Chris Kelly was trying to create more opportunities for the Bruins when he went into the near corner in the attacking zone. He was leveled from behind though by Michael Frolik, and he remained on the ice for a moment but was able to skate back to the bench under his own power. The Bruins would have a powerplay to work with now, as Frolik was called for boarding at 14:29. A very important powerplay now for the Bruins, as they had a chance to tie the game and get their powerplay out of this funk. In the closing seconds of the powerplay, Peverley found Bergeron across ice in the near slot with a wide open net to shoot at. But Brent Seabrook hit the ice to block the shot, and the Bruins powerplay was over without a goal. The Bruins kept the pressure on with the 1st line getting plenty of shots towards goal. The 2nd period would come to a close though, with the Blackhawks up 2-1.

3rd Period

The 3rd period started with another penalty for the Bruins, as Patrice Bergeron nailed Frolik from behind into the curved glass at the Blackhawks bench. Bergeron would receive a boarding call 9 seconds into the period. Kane was again creating trouble, making a cross ice pass to Patrick Sharp for a one-timer from the near slot. Tim Thomas made a terrific save though to keep Chicago off the board. Boston created chances again on the penalty kill, with Marchand, Ference, and Paille getting a 3-on-2 up ice. Marchand held far side, passed across ice to Paille, but his shot was blocked into the crowd by Crawford. The Blackhawks powerplay was ineffective, as the game stayed at 2-1. Boston had a great chance to get on the board, with Bergeron setting up Tyler Seguin from behind the net to the slot. Seguin made a nice backhand shot, but Crawford made the save, and was able to cover up even with Lucic jamming in front. The Bruins kept the pressure on, with Johnny Boychuk all the way down to the near corner and behind the net to get the puck. Boychuk found Horton in the near slot, and he buried the puck in the back of the net. Horton had his 1st goal of the year, and it tied the game 2-2 at 7:56. The Bruins had new life, and this offense started to get pressure on the Chicago defense. Benoit Puliout and Brent Seabrook went down to the near corner in the offensive zone. The puck rode up the sideboards, and Puliout turned around to get it, but his stick inadvertently whacked Seabrook in the back of his helmet. The Bruins would have a crucial penalty to kill of now, as Puliout was in the box for high-sticking at 16:25. The Bruins did a good job clearing the puck, and did not allow any shots on goal when Patrick Sharp would be called for holding the stick at 17:33. They skated 4-on-4 for 52 seconds before the Bruins would have a powerplay to work with. Andrew Ference lost his stick right as the 4-on-4 started, and the Blackhawks offense took advantage. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes created gerat scoring chanced, but the Blackhawks could not get shots on Thomas. Puliout would come out of the box, and it was a shortened powerplay for the Bruins. Seidenberg would beat Crawford cleanly over the glove side, but he rang the post. The powerplay would come to an end, as would the period. The Bruins were headed to overtime tied at 2 in Chicago.

OT

Seguin created a chance for Horton in overtime, centering a pass from the near corner. Horton had to fight through the Chicago defense, shielding the puck, but could not get a shot on net. Milan Lucic forced a turnover on the near boards in Bruins defensive zone. He passed the puck ahead for Rich Peverely, who had a clean breakaway now. Peverley had the entire rink to himself, as he skated through center ice. He came into the slot, deked to the backhand, got Crawford down spread-eagle, but his shot went wide. With under a minute left, Brent Seabrook took a slap-shot from the far slot that deflected off of Thomas and through the crease. Chicago would get one last point shot by Seabrook, but it would not go. Still tied after OT, this game would be decided in a shootout.

Shootout

Jonathan Towes was 1st up for the Blackhawks. He deked to the forehand, got Thomas down on his belly, but the spread-eagle by Thomas allowed him to make a right pad save. Tyler Seguin led off for the Bruins. He came in with a burst of speed, and whipped a shot right by Crawford 5-hole. Boston was up 1-0 in the Shootout. Patrick Kane came up next, skating methodically in. He just fired a shot 5-hole, but Thomas stopped him, and then stopped the rebound attempt with his left pad (even though you’re only allowed 1 shot in a shootout). Patrice Bergeron was up 2nd for the Bruins. He skated in with speed, deked, but lost the puck off his stick and never made a shot. It was all up to Patrick Sharp now, with the Bruins up 1-0 in the Shootout. Sharp skated in, fired a shot from the high slot, and Tim Thomas made the left pad save. Thomas was perfect in the Shootout, and the Bruins had an important 2 points to end their mini losing streak.

Post-Game Breakdown

A good win for the Bruins, after suffering 2 tough losses to Colorado and Carolina. Boston’s offense had been struggling, but was able to come up with key goals when they needed them. The Bruins never led in this game, but they kept working hard all night. Nathan Horton grabbed his 1st goal of the year to tie things in the 3rd period, and hopefully that can get him going offensively. Seguin continues to impress early in this season. He has a goal and 4 assists after this game, and is now leading the team with 5 points. The Bruins haven’t lost a step with Seguin replacing Kreci on the 1st line. Lucic and Horton have been given plenty of chances to score, but just have not finished. Horton finally did, but Lucic is having a very hard time finding the back of the net. He’s a guy the Bruins need to get going if they want to win these close games. Johnny Boychuk had a tremendous performance in this game as well, both offensively and defensively. In 5 games against the Blackhawks, Boychuk has 2 goals and 2 assists, and is +5. Very impressive stats in limited action against 1 team. Boychuk is helping to solidify the Bruins defense, by pairing up with Chara. This allows Claude Julien to separate his 2 best defenders in Chara and Seidenberg, thus providing a stiff defense no matter what line he rolls out. The Bruins won’t play again until Tuesday night, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. I see the Bruins winning this rematch from a few nights ago, and after that it’s 4 straight games of rivalry. The Bruins will play the Maple Leafs, Sharks, and then a home-and-home with the Canadians in the upcoming week and a half. Boston has to win at least 2 of those games to stay afloat early in this season.

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Celtics drop game 4 in OT, face daunting 3-1 hole

James tears up the Celtics for 35 in overtime win

1st Half

The game is on, and yes, Rondo is in the game. Rajon Rondo dislocated his left elbow in game 3, and also tore 2 ligaments in his arm. He’s wearing a brace to prevent any more damage, but he’s in the game. The game started with a Chris Bosh miss, and then Garnett getting fouled. He hit both free-throws, and Boston had the 1st points of the game. Rondo gets a transition lay-up. Reassuring the team and the crowd that he can play tonight. Boston went on a 7-0 run just 2 minutes into the game. The Heat come back, off a flagrant foul by Jermaine O’Neal on James. He hits the 1st free-throw, and Bosh scored a jumper off the 2nd miss. A 5 point swing for the Heat, and they tie the game up. Bosh looks real bad early. Just midway through the 1st quarter, Bosh is a mere 1-5 with 1 rebound. If he doesn’t play better, the Celtics could be looking at a game similar to game 3. And that would most likely result in a win. Miami has missed 5 straight shots, and the Celtics lead 18-11. Rondo makes a crazy behind the head pass to Garnett with his left hand, and Garnett picks up the foul. He hit 1 free-throw, and Boston takes a 8 point lead. But a big 3 hit by Chalmers, then a steal by Chalmers leads to an easy dunk for James. Rondo brought the ball up court, and Chalmers just runs him down, bumping him to the ground. He landed right on his left arm, but he’s back up. Such a classless move by Chalmers, intentionally taking out Rondo. James just runs over Rondo, knocking him square in the chest onto the court. James picked up his 1st foul, and the Heat are just showing a carelessness about attacking Rondo. Pierce made a very nice cut to get in-between the 3 Heat defenders, and hits a lay-up. That gives him 14 points already, leading all scorers. Boston takes a 31-28 lead into the 2nd quarter. The 2nd started with a Jermaine O’Neal bucket off a West feed. Then West stole a pass on the ensuing play, and hit a jumper. James followed that up with a 3, to keep the Heat in this game. Jeff Green hits his own 3, and Boston takes a 7 point lead. Delonte West was very hot in the 2nd, and Boston had the lead out to 11. Bosh finally comes through with a big bucket and 1. Miami had closed the lead to just 3, going on a 9-1 run. LeBron James gets a steal, and slams down a dunk. That would give the Heat their 1st lead of the game, up 46-45. Pierce hits a lay-up with just seconds remaining. Wade brings the ball up court for a long 3 attempt, but it did not fall. Boston took a 53-50 lead into the 3rd quarter. Boston has well outplayed the Heat. James was the only guy scoring for Miami in the 1st half, with 20 points. Wade came alive in the 2nd, scoring 10 of his 14 points. Bosh was invisible again, going 2-8 for just 5 points. Miami’s bench provided just 7 points. Pierce was the leading scorer for the Celtics, with 19 points. 4 other players had at least 5 points. Another team effort by the C’s, and a superstar show by the Heat. The Celtics should be able to pull this game out. They just have to keep up the teamwork, and make sure that LeBron is the only Heat player to hurt them.

2nd Half

The 3rd quarter started out with a jumper by Ray Allen, who’s been very quite in this game. That gives him just 6 points so far in the game. But, he then misses a wide open 3, and Miami came back with a floater from Wade to tie the game. Bosh followed that up with a tip-in, and Miami had their biggest lead of the night, up 59-57. Ray Allen came back with a dunk in the face of Bosh to tie the game. He gave some life to the Celtics faithful, but Bosh hit another jumper. Bosh was hot to start the 3rd, which is not good for the Celtics. Boston all around looks slow, and they were not hitting any shots. Miami went on a 10-2 run to take a 4 point lead in the 3rd. James has yet to score midway through the 3rd, but Wade has added 4 to his total, and Bosh has added 6. Allen hits a huge 3, and that ties the game at 65. Off a Biby 3-point miss, Garnett comes up with the rebound. He passed up to Big Baby Davis, how tried to make a dunk. Biby on the back pressure, gave him a bear-hug, and took down Davis. No flagrant foul though, as his was in the motion of shooting according to the officials, which took his lane away. Boston had the lead back 69-65, with 2 minutes left in the 3rd. The bench gave Boston some life, as they went on a 11-0 run. James scored his first 2 points of the 3rd, by driving in a lay-up with under 30 seconds left. Pierce just missed a 3 as the buzzer sounded, but the Celtics closed the 3rd on a 14-6 run. It was now 73-69 Boston, headed into the 4th and final quarter. The 4th started with an offensive foul by James. Boston followed that up with a bad lay-up by Davis, trying to avoid a shot-clock violation. Rondo gets into double-digits, hitting an uncontested lay-up to give Boston a 4 point lead. Boston missed back-to-back 3’s, and are now a miserable 3-9 from 3-point range. Midway through the 4th, Boston had just a 1 point lead. Miami had come back to take an 81-78 lead. West nailed a huge 3 though, and the game was now tied. And then a huge rebound by Garnett, and Allen hits a 3. The crowd came alive, and Boston had taken the lead back. LeBron hits his own 3 to tie the game, and he quieted the house. The game is under a minute to play, tied at 84. James hits a lay-up with 48 seconds left, and Miami goes up by 2. Pierce splits James and Bosh, and hits a tough lay-up to tie the game. LeBron had the ball entering the paint, and he just lost control of the ball. Ray Allen picked it up, and was immediately fouled by James Jones. Boston called the time-out with 19.5 seconds remaining. The game was tied at 86, so this would potentially be the last possession of the game. Rondo inbounded the ball to Allen. He dumped off to Pierce, who just held the ball. With under 3 seconds, he made a quick drive to the paint, and got off a fadeaway shot. But it hit the rim, and did not go in. Looked like a broken down play by the Celtics, and a very unfortunate result. So we headed to overtime, 86-86.

OT

Garnett won the opening tip-off, but Rondo missed a pass in the paint. So Miami came back with a jumper by James. That gives him 35 on the night. Allen missed another 3-pointer, and Bosh came back with a dunk. Quickly, Miami had a 4 point lead in OT. West missed an open 3, but Wade just missed a lay-up. Pierce would run into James coming up-court, receiving a charging penalty. James had a 3 go in and out, but Boston turned the ball right back over. Wade drains a jumper, and Miami was now up by 6 points in overtime. Finally Boston got on the board, as Garnett hit 2 free-throws. Chalmers kicked the ball out-of-bounds, giving Boston a chance to get back into this game. But Garnett missed an easy basket over Wade, making him now 1-10 on the night. Garnett then picked up a foul as he denied Wade a dunk. He only hit 1 free-throw, and Pierce ran down the court and hit a tough lay-up. James hit the rim on a jumper, but Bosh got the tip-in. The game was now virtually over, as the Heat led 95-90 with under 30 seconds to play. Another miss by Boston, and Wade came up with the ball. He was fouled, but hit both free-throws. Then Delonte West just lost control of the ball, and Bosh would come up with the ball. He was fouled, hit 1 free-throw, and that would end the game. Miami had stolen game 4 in overtime, 98-90

Post-Game Breakdown

This was a tough one to swallow for Boston. They led virtually the entire game, and had the lead at the end of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarter. James took apart Boston, scoring 35, and getting 14 boards. Wade had 28, with 4 assists and 4 boards. What killed them was that Bosh started scoring. He ended the night with 20 points, and 12 rebounds. Through it all, the game fell right into Boston’s lap with 19.5 to play. James just lost control of the ball in the paint, and Allen picked it up. Boston called a time-out, came up with a play, and it stunk. Whatever play Doc had, was a bad one, or it was poorly executed. Pierce just held the ball for about 10 seconds, and then threw up a duck! The Celtics completely fell apart in overtime. Rondo missed a pass on the opening play, and Miami capitalized. Bosh made the biggest play of the night though, hitting the tip-in off the James miss. If he doesn’t make that play, Boston is only down by 3 bringing the ball up court. Although, nothing would make me think that they would hit a 3, as Allen was just 2-5 from 3-point range. Boston as a whole was 5-16 from beyond the yard.

Boston should have won this game, and they now face the daunting task of coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Not only that, but they must win 2 of the 3 possible remaining games in Miami. If there was anything I was sure of, it was that Boston would win the games at home. Now, I don’t see how they can come back and win this series. Miami should win game 5, and close out the Celtics. If not, then they will most likely do it in 7. I just don’t see the Celtics winning 2 games in Miami. This team looks old, tired, and unable to keep up with the Heat. The Heat will win this series, and it’s a shame, cause Boston had the chance to tie it right in Paul Pierce’s hands.

Bruins win game 2 in OT, following delayed goal call

The Bruins stole a game in Philadelphia on Monday night, winning 3-2 in overtime. The game was stolen by Tim Thomas, who made 52 saves on the night. It was capped of by David Kreci, who, after review, had scored the game winning goal at 14:00 in OT. The Bruins were very fortunate to win this game, and are going to have to improve their play in order to win game 3. Chris Pronger was out with an undisclosed injury, taking away a huge presence on the ice for the Flyers. Philadelphia missed his play, as their defense allowed the Bruins to have more scoring chances, even though they outshot Boston 54-41. It was a very thrilling game, so lets see how we got there.

Bruins win game 2 in OT in Philly

picture courtesy bruins.nhl.com

1st Period

The game is on, and Philly scored. Philly had a 2-on-1 after a bad pinch by the Boston defense. Claude Giroux passed across the ice for van Riemsdyk who just got it into the net off the post. It was 1-0 Philadelphia, 29 seconds into the game. Another quick goal allowed by the Bruins. This is not going to bode well. Seconds later, Thomas would make a save, and he batted the puck out of the air. The puck went over the glass though, and it was a delay of game call at 0:48. The Flyers didn’t get a lot of chances, and Boston killed the penalty off. Philly dumped the puck into the Boston zone, when McQuaid was setting up in the corner boards. He stopped, anticipating pressure from Jordan Shelly. He hit him a little too hard into the boards, and Boston was now on the powerplay at 3:37 for boarding. Another powerplay without a goal for Boston. the number is now 0-27 for Boston. Boston was sustaining pressure though, and Kelly just missed a chance in the near slot. Boucher made the save with his glove and pad, and found the rebound right in front of his left pad. Boston would go back on the pk at 8:49, after Campbell was called for holding. Philly did a much better job controlling the puck this time around, and got pucks to Thomas. After a point shot by Timonen, there was a scramble at the net, and van Riemsdyk put the puck in the net again. It appeared to go in off the shin pads of Chara. A bad break early for Boston, but it was caused by relentless pressure by Philly. The Flyers had a 2-0 lead 9:31 into the 1st. Boston wasn’t playing great, but they were getting chances. The 3rd line of Kelly-Peverley-Ryder was getting plenty of chances. Peverley was coming through the Flyers zone, and Ryder had stationed himself right in front of Boucher. Peverley took a shot, and Boucher just got a right pad save. Ryder tried to jam the puck, and the puck trickled out into the crease. A charging Kelly tipped in the puck for a goal. Boston had closed the lead to 2-1 at 12:50. And another quick rush by the Bruins and Bergerons line created more trouble. Bergeron was set up in the low near circle, and he passed to Marchand high in the center slot. Marchand got a wrist shot off, and beat Boucher low glove side. Suddenly, Boston had tied the game at 2, just 1:25 in between both goals. Philly decided to shake things up. As Kreci and Versteeg were heading to their benches, Versteeg grabbed a hold of Kreci as he tried to get into the Boston bench. Versteeg proceeded to pull Kreci into the Philly bench, so Kreci took a few jabs at him trying to get him to let go. The refs would break it up, and both players would receive offsetting minors. It was now 4-on-4 for 2 minutes, at 15:04. Both teams had great chances late in the 4-on-4. The Bruins were caught in the middle of a change, and Timonen got a shot off in the slot. Thomas came out to attack the puck, and made a great save. The puck rebounded all the way to the blue line, and was picked up by Paille. He now had a breakaway, but Boucher made a kick pad save with his right pad. Philly brought the puck back into the Bruins zone. Adam McQuaid attempted to make a hit on Mike Richards at the near post. Richards sidestepped the hit, and McQuaid fell very awkwardly, face first into the boards. He laid on the ice for several minutes, but he would stand up, and skate off with some help. He would not return to the game. There was still 2:30 to play in the 1st, so on the game went. Philly was getting pressure back on the Bruins net. It was a very physical 1st, and the game was tied at 2 heading into the 2nd period.

2nd Period

The 2nd period started with pressure from Boston’s 1st line. Kreci missed a shot high glove side, and Boucher made a great glove save off a near circle shot by Seidenberg. The Bruins had a much better start to this period, controlling the puck in the Flyers zone. It was all Boston in the first 5 minutes, with the Bruins getting 5 shots on goal to Philly’s 1. But the Flyers were ever opportunistic, and created another 2-on-1 chance. This time though, a diving Boychuck stopped the puck during a centering attempt. Thomas jumped on the puck, and covered up. van Riemsdyk had a chance off the rush, trying to stuff the puck near post. Thomas tried to cover up, but the puck bounced into the crease. Andrew Ference acted as a second goaltender, taking up space in the crease. Zherdev had a chance on the rebounding puck, but Ference stopped the puck from going in. Boston’s 1st line brought the puck up ice, and got a shot on Boucher. Philly would get the puck back, and brought it into the Boston zone. There was a battle behind the Boston net against the boards, and the play would be whistled dead. Boucher apparently hurt himself on that last Boston chance, and would skate to the bench. Bobrovsky would come in at 11:01 in the 2nd, to replace an injured Boucher. Andrew Ference brought the puck into the Flyers zone, and went behind the net. He tried to get a centering pass out, but it would be turned over to Philly. Philly had a 2-on-2 up ice, and van Riemsdyk had another chance, centering a pass to Zherdev, but Thomas made a spectacular left to right leg save. Boston had their own numbers up ice, and Horton brought the puck into the far slot. He tried to center to Kreci, but the puck bounced off of Versteeg. The puck came right to Kreci, as Versteeg had run into Bobrovsky. Kreci had a wide open net, but his spin around backhand hit the near post. A huge break for the Flyers, and depressing miss by Kreci. van Riemsdyk had a semi-breakaway chance, and deked to the forehand, but his shot went wide. The tempo was up, late in the 2nd period. The 1st line of Boston was dominating the Richards line of Philly. They controlled the puck for over 30 seconds in the Flyers zone, but Bobrovsky made some terrific saves. A terrific check by Boychuck pinching in behind the Flyers net, and Philly retaliated. Scott Hartnell would receive a slashing call at 18:27. The powerplay looked good, but it was all by the Bruins 1st line. That 1st line of Horton-Kreci-Lucic was flat-out killing the Flyers. The period ended, and the Bruins had not scored. They would have 27 seconds of powerplay left when the 3rd started. We entered the 3rd, tied at 2.

3rd Period

Boucher was back in the game to start the 3rd, and the Bruins powerplay was up. Philadelphia came out firing, getting plenty of chances on Thomas early. Philly had a 3-on-2 coming through the neutral zone. As they entered the Boston zone, Giroux skated outside, and passed back inside to van Riemsdyk. It was now a 1-on-1 against Thomas, and Thomas closed up the 5-hole to make the save, and Seidenberg swept the puck away. Philly was setting up the puck behind Thomas. Marchand would hit Versteeg, and get called for cross-checking at 3:21. Philadelphia now had an early chance to take the lead with the man advantage. The Bruins pk was solid, not allowing any good scoring chances. But, right as the penalty was about to end, Claude Giroux took away a Boston pass. He passed behind the Boston defense to Briere, who had a breakaway. He made a head fake to the backhand, and tried to get a forehand shot off, but Thomas stuffed him to make a spectacular save. The Bruins were just able to avoid another powerplay goal. Philadelphia was maintaing puck control midway through the 3rd. van Riemsdyk was getting a ton of chances on Thomas, just tearing up the Bruins D. Philly almost had a goal on a wraparound chance. Thomas was looking one way, and the puck came the other. It was centered in the crease, but stayed out of the net. Some great pressure by Lucic though, and he poked the puck away from Zherdev. Lucic slowly skated into the far circle, and centered to Horton. But a spectacular right to left leg save by Boucher kept the Bruins off the board. That seemed to spark some life in the Bruins, and they sustained some pressure in the Flyers zone off the face-off. Chara had a one-timer opportunity, but he broke his stick on the shot attempt. Philly dumped the puck into the Bruins zone. Boychuck went behind the Boston net, and the puck bounced off of his skates right into the slot. Mike Richards was right there, and got a shot off, but Thomas made a great save and paddled the puck away. Then, as Philly was trying to bring the puck into the Bruins zone, Briere took a forearm shiver from Chara to the face. He would receive a roughing call at 17:19, and the Flyers had a big chance late on the powerplay. Tim Thomas was spectacular in net, and the Flyers were kept off the board. Boston would ice the puck with :04.2 remaning in the 3rd, forcing a key face-off in their own zone. It was a stalemate at center ice, when van Riemsdyk came in and wheeled around a shot on net. The puck bounced off of Thomas, and came right to Briere in the slot. He had a wide open net to shoot at, but just fanned on the shot. He had a follow-up shot, but it went right into the now prone Seidenberg. Boston escaped the 3rd period, still tied at 2. And boy, did they escape. Besides that last second chance, Thomas had made 22 saves in the 3rd period alone, for a total of 41 through the first 3 periods. Boston meanwhile, had just 7 shots on Boucher in the period. It was on to another overtime game for the Bruins.

OT

The overtime started with some safe play by both teams, not wanting to allow any funny goals. The 1st line of the Bruins started getting pressure in the Flyers zone. Then the 1st line of Philly got pressure of their own. Giroux had a couple good opportunities, but Thomas made the saves. You could feel the momentum shifting towards Philly. Shawn O’Donnell took a shot from the point, that was knocked down by some bodies. Richards found the puck in the low circle, and got a backhand off. It hit the skates of Chara, and hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net. After getting off the ice, Chara headed down the tunnel. He would return momentarily though, which was a big sigh of relief for the Bruins. They could not afford to lose another defenceman, especially one that takes up as much space and minutes as Chara. Midway through the OT, the Flyers had 9 shots on goal, and Boston had just 2. Peverley stole a puck in the neutral zone, and skated right into the high slot. He got a wrist shot off, and hit the near post. The Flyers now caught a break in this OT, and the game remained tied. Philly took the puck right back into the Boston zone. The game narrowly ended off a deflection by Leino from a point shot, but the puck hit the side of the net. Boston would send the puck up ice, and on Boucher from their defensive zone. Boucher paddled the puck to the near side to Coburn. He passed around the boards, but the puck skipped by to Horton at the point. Horton skated to the far circle, and passed to David Kreci in the near slot. He got a wrist shot off, and beat Boucher for the game-winning goal. Or did he? The puck bounced back into play, and the referee signaled no goal. Now me, sitting in my chair in front of my computer, watching the game live, could tell that it was a goal. Play went on, but nothing serious happened. After the play was whistled dead, the refs reviewed Kreci’s shot. It became official, at 14:00 into overtime, the Boston Bruins had stolen one in Philadelphia, 3-2. (I saw a similar play live as well. On December 7, 2010, the Bruins beat the Sabers off a tip in by Recchi from a Seidenberg point shot. The goal hit the same exact spot, and bounced out of the goal. The refs looked at it, and finally called it a goal.) Anyways, the game was now over, and the Bruins now had a 2-0 lead in the series.

Post-Game Breakdown

What a crazy game for the Bruins. This was a straight steal, they should not have won this game. The Bruins defense made turnovers constantly throughout the game. Most of them came after McQuaid was injured, which tells me that they were exhausted as the night wore on. The Bruins offense was only provided by the 1st line. A big change from what we saw against the Canadians. The Bergeron and Peverley line had some good chances, and the Campbell line provided little. It was the domination by the bruins 1st line that helped them win this game. But, above and beyond everyone else, Tim Thomas was the best player on the ice. Thomas stopped 52 of 54 shots, with 46 shots in a row including 22 in the 3rd period alone. He made one spectacular save after another, due to the bad turnovers by the Boston defense late in the game. And obviously, the Bruins powerplay needs to be fixed. 0-28, and counting. The Bruins have shown that they can win without the powerplay, so the real question is, how good would they be if the powerplay was working? I think they would be quite scary if they could get that man advantage going.

The Flyers played a great game offensively, but had another shotty game on defense. Boston controlled the 2nd period, and didn’t get a lot of chances in the 3rd or overtime. Even though, they had more scoring chances then the Flyers. That just shows how poor the Flyers D played. Philadelphia had plenty of scoring chances, but Thomas was just a brick wall. Going into game 3, the Bruins obviously have an advantage. They are up 2 games to none, and are heading back to Boston. The Bruins don’t play well on home ice, but they have they advantage of winning both games in Philly. I expect the Flyers to come out with a lot of energy in game 3, and be very physical like they were in game 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if Philly came out and won game 3 in Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston wins game 3 either. After stealing game 2, Boston should be flying high. They are playing great, and Thomas is playing out of this world. With the struggles in Philly’s net, Boston could come out with the win if they are prepared. Philly just as easily could win this game. They lost the first 2 games on their own home ice. If Philly goes down 3-0 in this series, I don’t think they will make another miraculous comeback. Thomas is playing too good to allow that type of collapse. So it is significant that Philly wins game 3. If Philly splits in Boston, they can’t feel too confident going home, where the Bruins already won 2. So the Flyers desperately need to sweep in Boston to have a good chance to come back in this series. I said that the Bruins would win this series in 6, and I still see that happening. Of course though, I would love to see a sweep this year.

Bruins win game 7 in thrilling OT. Advance to Eastern Conference Semi’s to face Flyers again.

Wow, I can’t say it enough times, what a game. This was a great game to watch, providing great, although sometimes unnecessary drama. But, the Bruins came out on top, winning the third OT game of this series, 4-3. Nathan Horton scored 2 of those 3 game-winning goals, and Boston was 3-0 in OT in this series. Going into this game, the Bruins had not won a Game 7 since April 29 1994. And that game was against the Montreal Canadians. To make matters worse, Tim Thomas was 0-2 career in game 7’s, with a 3.45 GAA and a .889 save percentage. All time in game 7’s Montreal 13-8, and Boston was 9-10. Nothing was on the Bruins side, except that they had home ice. But even still, this is a team that plays terrible at home, losing the first 2 games of this series at home in fact. But through it all, the Bruins showed that they are a very resilient team. So, let’s see how we got here.

Boston vs Montreal Game 7

Picture courtesy of bruins.nhl.com

1st Period

The game started with Montreal getting the first shot on net. Boston brought the puck into the attacking zone, and Seidenberg got a point shot off for an easy glove save by Price. Boston controlled the tempo of the game early, which was a good sign. If the Bruins want any chance of winning this game, than they need to control the tempo. The B’s can not play a fast paced Canadian type game. Off a face-off win by the Bruins, the puck was brought around the net by Marchand, and passed to Boychuck at the point. He got a slapshot off that gets by Price on the glove side. Boston had a quick 1-0 lead, just 3:31 into the game. Boston was out shooting the Canadians 6-3, just 5 minutes into the game. Montreal won a face-off in their own zone, but pressure from Recchi forced a turnover. Marchand would pick the puck up, and send it around the boards. There it was picked up by Recchi, who passed towards Ference in the near circle. The puck was lost amongst a few bodies, before Ference finally found it. He passed the puck back to Recchi, who got a pea off from the high slot to beat Price high blocker side. Boston had a quick 2-0 lead against Montreal, just 5:33 into the game. Montreal took a time-out, to try to calm things down. This was exactly the type of start the Bruins needed, now they just had to break Montreal’s back with another goal. Montreal seemed to find themselves little by little as the period went on. And at 8:22, we would have our first penalty of the game. Off a dump in by Boychuck, Michael Ryder and Plecanek went into the corner for the puck. Plekanec had his stick lifted, and he fell down. Well, that was enough in the eyes of the officials to warrant a hooking call. The very dangerous Montreal powerplay now had a chance to get right back into this game. Boston did a great job on the penalty kill, quickly eliminating 1:20 of the penalty. But then, Daniel Pallie would lose his stick. Montreal took advantage of this, and set up a man on his side in the slot. Yannick Webber made a tremendous shot, just beating Tim Thomas high glove side. The game was now 2-1, 9:49 into the first. Both teams would start dumping the puck in, not being able to set up any offense. Both defenses stepped up their play, and their was no space for either team to operate. Boston had a chance, as Bergeron brought the puck into the attacking zone. He passed to Marchand, who took a shot from the near circle. The puck was deflected down, and went wide. Recchi would recover the puck on the far boards, and passed around the net to Marchand. Marchand skated to the near circle, and passed down to Bergeron. Bergeron passed back to Marchand at the top of the circle, and he passed to Recchi in the slot. He couldn’t get a shot off though, as he appeared to be hooked by Hamerlik. No call from the officials though. Boston dumped the puck into the corner boards, and Pialle and Sopel went to retrieve it. Thornton hit Sopel from the opposite side, and apparently lead with his elbow. He would go to the box at 16:02 for elbowing. The Montreal powerplay wasn’t doing anything this time around. Boston dumped the puck in, and Subban and Campbell went into the boards for the puck. Subban was pinned against the boards by Gregory Campbell, and he took an absolute dive. When Campbell went to skate away, Subban held onto his hand and fell down. It was just pathetic! The refs need to be looking for these kind of plays, and call a blatant dive when they see one. On they played, with no call to either team. With under 20 seconds remaining in the penalty, Montreal dumped the puck into the Boston zone. Kostitsyn got an inadvertent stick up high on Seidenberg, as he was trying to avoid contact with him. It was now 4-on-4 for 3 seconds, before Boston would go on the powerplay. Boston started with lots of energy, but they cooled off after a clear by the Canadians. Boston had a good set-up in the attacking zone, and were passing the puck around looking for a hole to open up. Seidenberg passed from the point to Kaberle at the top of the far circle. He slap-passed to Kreci at the top of the near circle. He passed to Lucic in the slot, but a great play by Sopel to tie up Lucic didn’t allow him to get the puck. The penalty ended, and Boston ended the 1st period with a 2-1 lead.

2nd period

The 2nd period started with heavy attacks from the Canadians. Tim Thomas made back-to-back incredible saves seconds into the period. The Bruins brought the puck up ice in a 3-on-2 rush. Lucic passed from the near circle to Kreci in the crease, but the puck went right through without a touch. Montreal started getting tons of pressure on Thomas, but he was stuffing everything. Chara went for the puck in the corner, and took a hit from Eller. Chara appeared to go down a little easily, and was able to coax a cross-checking call at 4:41. Just seconds into the penalty, Montreal cleared the zone. Thomas went to stop the puck behind the net, and Travis Moen poked the puck away from behind him. Thomas scurried back to the net, and was able to stop the puck 5-hole at the near post. Seidenberg brought the puck up ice, and tried to pass back to Mark Recchi. The puck hit his skates, and was picked off by Plecanek. He now had a breakaway, and he beat Thomas shorthanded. Montreal had come from 2 down to tie the game at 2, 5:50 into the 2nd period. The Boston powerplay looked pathetic, and resulted in 1 shot on net. Boston looked like a much better team 5-on-5. Nathan Horton brought the puck into the attacking zone. He skated into the far slot, and passed across to Kreci in the near slot. He got a backhand off, but the shot missed high. It was like the shorthanded goal reminded the Bruins that Montreal is a good team, and they need to finish this game out. Their play started to increase, and they were getting good looks at Price. Boston had upped the tempo, and was attacking furiously. Boston was now caught with men up ice during a line change, and the puck was passed beyond 2 lines to Jeff Halpern. Halpern now had a breakaway, but this time Thomas made the save. Boston came right back with the pressure. Off a neutral zone face-off win by Montreal, Subban skated back towards Price with the puck. Subban then attempted to make a dee pass, but he fanned on the pass. A pressuring Kelly took a stab at the puck, but was unable to make anything happen, and Subban recovered the puck. Montreal brought the puck up ice, and Boychuck hit Halpern in the numbers, and he hit the stanchion. It was a hard hit, but nothing serious. The refs though felt that was enough for a boarding call, and the B’s would now be a man down for the remainder of the 2nd. The Boston pk looked good, able to clear the puck, and block shots before they reached Thomas. The 2nd period would end, and the game was tied 2-2 heading into the 3rd. This was setting up to be a classic.

3rd Period

The 3rd Period started with the Bruins having to kill of the remaning 12 seconds of the Boychuck penalty. They pinned the puck in the corner boards, and we were back to 5-on-5 hockey. Boston was controlling the puck early, getting lots of shots on Price. The 1st line of Lucic, Kreci, Horton looked particularly good. They were controlling the puck, and not allowing quick counter-attacks by the Canadians. Kreci had a great chance of a drop-pass by Horton in the high slot, but Price made a great save. Bergeron brought the puck up the sideboards, and passed back to McQuaid at the point. He got a shot off, and the puck rebounded right to Recchi at the far post. Recchi had 2 chances on the doorstep, but he couldn’t find the back of the net. The first chance bounced on his stick, and the second hit the post. A huge miss for the Bruins, and the game remained tied. Montreal had a couple of chances coming up ice, but some great back checking by the Bruins would negate their chances. As Boston passed the puck out of their own zone, Jeff Haplern skated towards Andrew Ference. Ference didn’t have the puck, nor did he just pass the puck. For some reason, Halpern bumped into him. Ference leaned his shoulder into him a bit, but it didn’t look that harmful. Halpern immediately hit the ice, and stayed down. He was helped off the ice.  It was quite an odd play. The game continued without any penalties to either team. The Bruins were taking the puck up ice, when Kelly’s stick rode a bit high on Hamerlik, and poked him in the chin. He hit the ice, trying to draw a penalty from the refs. There was no call, and the Bruins now had numbers up ice. The B’s set up a great triangle, with Peverley bringing the puck through the high slot. He passed to the point to Ference, who got a shot off that hit Chris Kelly in his skates. Kelly picked the puck up in the crease, and buried it in the back of the net. Jack Edwards said it best when referring to Hamerlik, “He dove one time too many!” He really cost his team by diving, and leaving his team outnumbered. Oh, and Jeff Halpern came back off the ice, just 2 minutes after the hit he “suffered”. No 15 minute quite room for him I guess. Boston was playing with a fire in their belly. The offense was getting some great shots on Price, while the D was hitting everything that came near them. Ryder made a great back-check on Gomez. He chipped the puck off the boards, ahead for Kelly. He was in behind the Montreal defense, and he had a clean breakaway. But Price made a tremendous blocker save. The puck flipped just over the net, hitting the top of the net in fact. Montreal had a sense of urgency now in their play. They had a tremendous burst of offense, coming from a face-off win in the Boston zone. The puck was sent back for a point shot, but Thomas made the save. The puck rebounded to Cammalleri, who tried to get a backhand chance off. The puck appeared to bounce on him, and he couldn’t get a clean shot off. Thomas had dived to make a potential stop, and was now in a bad spot. Cammalleri passed the puck to the slot for a one-timer, but it hit Adam McQuaid in the chest. Boston brought the puck up ice, and there was now less than 5 minutes to go in the game. Recchi had the puck in the far circle, with a couple of bodies in the way. He shot across ice to the glove side, but Price made a ridiculous glove save. Boston had a face-off win in the Montreal zone, but Chara couldn’t handle the puck. Cammalleri took the puck, and had a breakaway chance. But great pressure by Seidenberg limited his space, and forced Cammalleri to pull up on his chance, and he lost control of the puck. Bergeron was attacking the puck, controlled by James Wisniewski. Bergeron tried to lift his stick, but instead hit him in the shoulder. Wisniewski swung his head back like he was hit in the face, and he drew the penalty. Watching the replay, you can see the stick hit Wisniewski’s shoulder. Just another fake, from a team built on faking and embellishing hits. Boston was called for a high stick, and Montreal now had a powerplay for 2 of the 3:23 left in the 3rd. And Montreal would get on the board, off a one-timer by P.K. Subban at 18:03. There was now just 1:57 left in the 3rd period, and it was all tied at 3. Boston would control the puck during the last minute, getting tons of pressure in the Montreal zone. But, it would not matter, as this game was headed for sudden death overtime at 3-3.

OT

The game started out very scary for Boston. A harmless chip shot by Gionta was deflected by a skate, and went right towards Tim Thomas. Thomas just kicked out the left leg, and then lunged at the puck with his stick. He poked it way away from the net, and Boston survived a quick scare. Kostitsyn had a chance coming into the Boston zone. He got a shot off from the high slot that Thomas stopped. The rebound came out, and trickled just past the far post. Thomas was making some tremendous saves early, with Montreal getting all of the pressure on Boston early. But Boston never gave u, fighting hard to get the puck on Price. Montreal won a face-off back behind their own net. Pressure from Lucic forced the puck around the net, and Subban tried to chip the puck out of Montreal’s zone. Adam McQuaid pinched up the sideboards, and kept the puck in the offensive zone. Lucic gloved the puck down, and brought the puck through the far circle. He passed to Nathan Horton in the high slot. He skated back towards the top of the near circle, and got a shot off. And for the second time in this series, Nathan Horton had scored a game winning goal in overtime. The Bruins had won the game, 4-3 in sudden death overtime, and had now advanced to the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.

Post-Game Breakdown

This was a classic, easily. Boston had a quick early lead, let it slip away, and then got it back. With under 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd, Montreal was able to tie it. And in an overtime that the Canadians dominated, Boston came away with the win. Just a great game to watch. Boston had plenty of chances to put this game away though, being up by 2 goals just 5:33 into the game. But, a lack of attention and attentiveness allowed Montreal to come right back into this game. The real problem was the special teams for Boston. Boston scored all 4 of their goals at 5-on-5 hockey. The Canadians meanwhile, scored 2 powerplay goals, and 1 shorthanded goal. The Bruins pk unit looked very good, but the Montreal powerplay is too good, and had been extra effective against the Bruins. I do expect the pk to improve going into the next round. Boston will need to improve their powerplay though, which was 0-21 in the series. The first time in NHL history that a team had won a playoff series, when never scoring on the powerplay. I was very impressed by the first line in this game. They looked better in tonight’s game then they had all series. Nathan Horton was of course, very clutch. He had 3 goals in the series, with 2 of them coming in OT. They need to build on this game, and turn it up against the Flyers.

And what an interesting match-up we have now. The Bruins will play against the team that knocked them out last year, after having a 3-0 series lead, and a 3-0 lead in game 7 at home. I feel very confident going into this series though, for several reasons. The Flyers really struggled down the stretch, losing the #1 seed that they held for most of the year. They had a grueling series of against the Sabers, including being shut-out twice by Ryan Miller. The Sabers and Bruins are similar team, so this could be a good thing going into the game. Philly is having some trouble with their goaltending, switching back and forth between Sergie Bobrovsky, and Brian Boucher. If Tim Thomas plays just as good, or better than he did against Montreal, then Boston could come away with a win against Philly. The Bruins did have a 3-0 lead against a very similar team last year, and Boston has made some changes to their lineup. Boston needs to make a few changes to their game though to come out on top. Obviously, they need to change something about the powerplay. Their D needs to continue to make good decisions with the puck, especially when making passes out of their own zone. Tim Thomas needs to keep out those soft goals, and the offense needs to be more consistent. The 1st line showed improvements, and they need to build on tonight’s game. I think that the Bruins will win the series in 6. If it goes to 7 games, then the Bruins will probably lose game 7, since it’s in Philadelphia.

Bruins win in double OT. Now lead series 3-2

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.

1st Period

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.

2nd Period

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.

3rd Period

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.

1st OT

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.

2nd OT

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.

Post-Game Breakdown

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.

Bruins tie series 2 all on Ryder’s OT goal

In a stunning turn of events, the Boston Bruins took game 4 in Montreal, 5-4 in overtime. This was an incredible game to watch. It was very dramatic, and will be an instant classic in the storied rivalry of these two original 6 teams. Of all people, I never expected Michael Ryder to score 2 goals, and be the reason the Bruins won. He has been terrible in the first 3 games of this series. But, he turned it on tonight. Hopefully he looks this good for the rest of the postseason. Now, on to the game that was.

1st Period

This was a fast and furious game from the get-go. Montreal was applying a ton of pressure early. Just 3:00 into the game, they were already diving. Desharnais embellished a stick up high by Chara. Desharnais brought his own stick up to get around Chara, and in effect he lifted Chara’s stick right into his face. Very comical. He did not get the call, much to the displeasure of the booing Canadian’s fans. And of course, Desharnais was fine. Boston tried to bring the puck up ice, but it was taken away along the sideboards. The puck was sent back to Hamerlik who passed up to Moen. The puck came off his stick and into Boston’s possession. Boston brought the puck up ice, and had a huge chance to score first. Bergeron passed from the neutral zone to Recchi, who tried to pass back to Bergeron. Wisniewski couldn’t handle the interception, and Bergeron took it back. He then took a shot at the net, that bounced up high off of Price. Recchi caught it and gloved it down right in-front of Price, but shot a backhand wide. Just after 5 minutes into the game, Montreal started setting up camp in Boston’s zone. Montreal had a great chance off a rush. Gionta found the puck behind Thomas and made a turn-around pass to Moen right on the doorstep of the crease. Thomas held the post, and covered up the puck. Seconds later, Montreal had another great rush up ice. A shot came from the circle by Hamerlik and Thomas thought he caught the puck. It actually squirted out right to a Moen, but Thomas robbed him of a goal. Both teams were unable to get the offenses going midway through this game. But then, Montreal started bringing lots of pressure. Montreal dumped the puck in, and Thomas couldn’t slow it down in the trapezoid. It was picked up by Desharnais, who brought it behind the net. He passed to Cammalleri in the crease, but his shot was blocked. The puck bounced all the way to the point, and was found by Sopel. His shot hit Thomas in the right arm, and just snuck through for the first goal of the night at 8:13. The first team to score is 25-5 in this Stanley Cup Playoffs. So it is not looking good for the B’s. After that goal, Montreal really started to feel it. They brought tons of pressure, and the Boston offense looked very weak. Around the 11:30 mark, Boston started getting some sustained pressure in the attacking zone. They weren’t getting any shots on Price, but they were at least controlling the puck, which was better than letting the Canadians skate all over them. But, it eventually happened. Around the 13:00 mark, Montreal got some shots on Thomas. Gomez found Gionta who had a chance in the middle of the slot, but Thomas stuffed him. The rebound came right back to him on the blocker side of Thomas, but he made a great move to close the space and deny Gionta a goal. Montreal was hounding the puck, and getting shots all over Thomas. But the Canadians hurt themselves by getting an interference penalty by Lars Ellers at the 14:24 mark. Again, a pathetic Boston powerplay, and the game remained 1-0. The only thing it did do, was slow down Montreal’s momentum for a couple of minutes. Boston had some sustained pressure in the final 2 minutes of the period, but remained goalless. It was a crazy first period for Tim Thomas, but he was up to the challenge. He allowed just 1 goal on 15 shots. Meanwhile Care Price was barely challenged, stopping all 8 shots he faced. It was 1-0 heading into the 2nd period.

2nd Period

The second started like the first period, with tons of pressure from Montreal. Boston ran a great counter-attack, and a minute and a half into the period Chara shot a missile from the point. It hit Price in the left shoulder, tumbled over him into the crease. It looked like a sure goal, but Hall Gil found the puck and swatted it away from the goal line. Boston then had a chance off a Montreal change, and Michael Ryder was found up ice behind the Montreal defense by Kaberle. Ryder had a breakaway, and beat Carey Price high glove side at 2:13. It was now 1-1 in Montreal. Montreal ran a great counter-attack of their own. Tim Thomas made one incredible save after another. Boston came right back, but Price stonewalled ’em. It was a furious flurry of shots from either team. Cammalleri just missed on a chance all alone in the slot. The puck trickled wide, but was found by Gionta behind Thomas. He passed to Gomez who shot on Thomas in the slot. The puck hit Thomas in the gut, and bounced right to Gionta. He passed through the crease to Cammalleri who had a wide open net and scored at 6:52. Montreal went back on top 2-1. Just 55 seconds later on a 2-on-1 rush Kostitsan slips a puck in 5-hole against a spread eagle Thomas. It was now 3-1, and looking bad for Boston. Claude Julien decided to call a time-out to regroup his team. It seemed to have worked, as Boston upped the pressure. Peverley tried singlehandedly to get the B’s back into the game. Around 9:20 he skated up ice, deking out the Canadians defense and getting a shot on goal, but Price made a stop with the glove. Boston kept fighting though. Ference took a big hit to move the puck up to Bergeron. He skated into the Montreal zone, and passed to Marchand. Marchand had the puck knocked away, but a sprinting Ference shot a bomb on the loose puck and beat Price high glove side at 9:59. Great retribution for getting hit hard. Boston was now back in it at 3-2. Boston had a great surge, and started controlling the puck. As the 5 minute mark approached Montreal started getting control of the puck back. The game became a back-and-forth battle once more. Around the 16:50 mark Boston won a face-off in Montreal’s zone. They were able to control the puck by some great play by their defencemen. A shot by Seidenberg bounced off of Price. Marchand found it behind him, and passed through the crease to Bergeron, and Patrice buried it in the net at 17:04. It was now a 3-3 game. Boston controlled the puck in Montreal’s zone as the seconds ticked down. It was 3-3 heading into the 3rd.

3rd Period

As the third period started, Boston took the puck into the Montreal offensive zone. Just 37 seconds into the period Bergeron took a hooking penalty. Montreal had just their first powerplay of the evening. Montreal won the opening face-off, and took it to the point. Gionta had an opening in the slot, but his stick broke on his slap-shot attempt. Subban had the puck down low, and brought it to the circle. He surprised Thomas with a shot just above the blocker that hit the crossbar and went in. It was the first goal for Montreal on the powerplay, and it gave them a 4-3 lead just 1:39 into the 3rd. Boston finally was able to get a counter-attack started around the 7 minute mark. Brad Marchand tried a wraparound chance. The puck went by Price, and Bergeron found it. Price made the move and stuffed him. Suddenly, there was a pileup of red jerseys around Price. Marchand took a shot at the puck into the pile, but it stayed out. Then the puck was lost amongst all the bodies crashing around the net. Johnny Boychuck found the puck, and skated back just a little to improve his angle on Price. He took his time, and shot at the net. Carey Price somehow made the save with his glove hovering above the ice. Around the 8:30 mark, Boston had a great rush coming up ice. Horton came through the middle and passed to Lucic on his left. He passed from the circle across ice to Kreci. Kreci beat his man and deked Price to his forehand. He had a wide-open net for a backhand shot, but could not find the puck. Price found it and covered up. On the ensuing face-off, Lucic had the puck come back to him. It was in around his skates, and he tried to make a pass across ice. The pass was picked off by Cammalleri who now had a breakaway. But Thomas came out to take away his angle, and caught the puck in his gut. Montreal started playing very conservative hockey. The pace of the game slowed down very much. Boston started getting good looks at Price. Ryder brought the puck up ice, and sent it into the corner. Peverley picked it up, and passed back to Ryder. He went behind the net, and passed back to Peverley in the slot. He took a shot that rebounded in the crease. Kelly found the puck and jammed it through the 5-hole, and it was now a tie game at 13:42, 4-4. Ryder had another great shift, bringing the puck up ice. Going towards the back of the net, he passed back to Kelly who had another chance to score. Kelly hit Price in the chest, and the puck bounced away. Montreal brought the puck up ice, trying to get back into the game. The puck was brought down towards Tim Thomas, and passed through the crease. But no one was there to put it home. Boston held the puck in Montreal’s zone, and Seidenberg took a shot from the point. The puck hit Plekanec and he tried to make a self-pass up the boards. Seidenberg tried to make a check, and found himself in no-mans land. He locked up with and would get called for interference at . P.K. Subban took the puck off the face-off win. He went down to the corner-boards, and blew a tire. Boston picked it up, and Peverley brought it up ice. He passed to Bergeron, who got a high shot off on Price. He lunged with his right shoulder, and appeared to have hurt himself. Montreal was attacking relentlessly at the Boston net, but Thomas and the rest of the PK unit looked great. Montreal was kept out of the net, and the third period came to a close. Time for some OT in Montreal.

OT

Overtime started, and Montreal had a chance early. Less than a minute in, Chara had the puck right next to Tim Thomas. He fanned on the pass attempt, and two Canadians jammed for the puck. The puck was found by Cammalleri who passed to Plekanec who shot a bomb at the net from the high slot. Thomas jumped out of the crease and made the save. Boston took the puck up ice, and had numbers due to another bad change by the Canadians. It was a 3-on-1 for Boston, but we all know how they disappointed last game going 0-3 on 3-on-1 chances. Peverley took the puck up ice, and shot just wide of the net. The puck was picked up by Kelly in the corner who passed through the crease to Ryder in the slot. Ryder calmed the puck down, and roofed it for the game winning goal. Boston, after never leading in the game all night, had just stolen its second game in Montreal 5-4 in OT.

Post-Game Breakdown

Wow, what a great game that was. It was fast paced, very thrilling, filled with tons of drama, and of course Boston coming out on top was just perfect. This was easily a classic game in this storied rivalry. It was a very even matched game the whole night. Montreal out shot Boston 38-35, and out chanced them 17-16. Coming into this series, I wasn’t too sure about Boston’s ability to finish. But after that game, I feel a little better. Michael Ryder was dynamite tonight, coming up with 2 goals. Most people around Boston wanted Ryder out for his ineffectiveness in the first three games, and instead wanted Seguin. I would put myself in that boat. But, Ryder knew the pressure was there and stepped his game up. The only problem is, will he do it next time out?

Boston played a very good game all around. Thomas was getting peppered all night. But he never lost his composure, and kept fighting through what was a very tough night in net for him. The defense made good passes for the second straight game. The first two games at home were littered with bad passing out of the defensive zone. They have cleaned that up, and are finding ways to get into the attacking zone. The offense has definitely improved. Although, it’s hard not to improve off of 1 goal in two games. In game 3, I said that this offense was lucky to have scored 2 of their 3 goals. But they really stepped it up tonight, and I was pleased by what I saw. Boston still has plenty of problems to worry about though. The top line of Lucic, Kreci and Horton is doing nothing. Kreci had a goal in Monday’s game, but he has also missed on two easy opportunities. Horton has not been able to get going. Subban has shut him down every time he’s on the ice. Luci has been invisible. It’s hard to say anything else about a guy when he doesn’t show up anywhere in a game. If that top line can get going, Boston could win Saturday night at the Garden. The powerplay has been pathetic all year. So why would that change in the postseason. Boston is 0-14 on the man advantage. Claude has to change something up, and take a different approach somewhere. I said that if Boston lost the first 2 at home, then they would lose the series. Well, they may have changed my mind. Boston isn’t in a must win situation on Saturday. Partially because they were able to win both games in Montreal. However, if they come out flat, and can’t muster anything in the game Saturday and lose, then I would not expect them to win when they go back to Montreal. If Boston wins the game Saturday night, then I would fully expect them to win the series. They then wouldn’t have to win the game in Montreal, but it wouldn’t hurt. Considering how bad this team is at home, and how nice it would be to rub it in those hypocritical disgraceful Canadian fans faces.