Wednesday, 14 May 2014

'14 Playoffs Round 2, Game 7: Canadiens 3, Bruins 1

Canadiens win 3-1 and eliminate the Bruins.  Habs will move on to play the Rangers in the Conference Final.


  • We see a shot of the Bruins dressing room.  The Charanstein has been powered up, it's activated for the game.  Gregory 'Sonny Boy' Campbell twirling a stick in his right hand, obviously limbering up, warming up his slashing muscles.
  • Not much activity in the Canadiens' dressing room, just guys getting ready for the game.  No rah-rah, Tomas Plekanec seems downright pensive.
  • Breaking down the game, Marc Denis of RDS calls the goaltending faceoff essentially even, except that he thinks Carey Price is in the Bruins' scorers' heads.
  • Mario Tremblay reduces the blueline matchup to a confrontation between Zdeno Chara and P.K. Subban, with the former having the edge on the toughness angle, but P.K. providing much more of a spark to his team.  Boston media has singled out Mr. Chara, calling this a 'legacy game' for him.  Mario thinks P.K. has been at his best in this series, and expects "du grand P.K. ce soir."
  • Benoit Brunet breaks down the forwards, focuses on Patrice Bergeron and Max Pacioretty.  The Bruins alternate captain is a leader for his teammates, being vocal and fiery, while Max leads by his play, his skating and offence.  
  • In the name of all that is decent, with the magic of 21st century PVR technology, we skip over camera-whore René Rancourt and his 'Look at me!' histrionics.  He's a worthy representative of the classless Bruins.
  • The numbers favour Tuukka Rask in the playoffs, he has a 7-4 record, with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .933 save-percentage, vs. Carey's 7-3, 2.25 GAA and .922.  I know this includes the first round, but I still think Carey has outplayed Mr. Rask, and that somehow it's not reflected in the stats.  Maybe we can come up with an 'advanced statistic' that measures clutchitude.
First Period:
  • 19:37  Brad Marchand strikes early, high-sticking Michaël Bournival in the mouth, with, of course, no penalty awarded by the refs.  Uh oh. 
  • No changes in the lineup for the Canadiens, Daniel Brière and Nathan Beaulieu get the nod again.  
  • I see Sean Thornton's worthless mug on the Bruins' bench, I guess he gets another kick at the dishonour can tonight.
  • David Desharnais buzzing around in the Bruins' zone, going up against Zdeno Chara with no apparent fear.  I think the constant booing he's subjected to at the New Forum, and the fact that he never had a chance to expiate his crime against Max, plays on this guy's conscience.  He could obliterate David and the refs wouldn't twitch, but he holds back against him, as he has generally in this series.  There's a theory that he doesn't enjoy being the villain, that it weighs on him, maybe that's the observable result, that David gets to live.
  • 17:42  Weezy!  Brandon Prust forechecks Johnny Boychuk, grabs the puck and feeds it to Daniel Brière, who sets up Dale Weise for an easy tap-in.  1-0 for the Good Guys.  
  • The Bruins' defence is ripe for the plucking.  Matt Bartkowski also was ineffective on this play.
  • 16:15  Max accepts contact from Zdeno Chara, forechecks hard, deals out a couple of hits.  Good start by him.
  • The Bruins trying to thump the Canadiens in the offensive zone, but the Canadiens skate out of trouble, are often first on the puck.
  • 13:42  Brad Marchand is handed a penalty for goalie interference, but he was kind of pushed by Andrei Markov.  With all the crap that Mr. Marchand gets away with, you can't really call this an injustice, more of a karmic rebalance.
  • Zdeno Chara, looking as ungainly as ever, stumbles while handling the puck and coughs it up.  Thomas Vanek can't cash it in though.
  • 11:12  Shameless diving sequence by the Bruins, with Brad Marchand plunging to the ice after being brushed by Alexei Emelin, and Reilly Smith who falls over backwards with contact from Josh Gorges.  Did they have a plot or marching orders from the bench, to try to induce the refs to 'even out' things after the dubious call on Brad Marchand?  I wouldn't put it past them.
  • I'll take my previous statement back on Zdeno Chara, he goes in elbow first against Max, and then does a wrestling takedown when he misses.  Somehow that results in a four-on-four situation, with both getting minor penalties.  Good old NHL.
  • 5:47  Zdeno Chara goes off for a deserved holding call.  Surprising that it actually gets made though.  No damage done by the Canadiens, they can't get their powerplay organized in the Bruins zone.
  • Frantic moments at the end of the period with the Bruins trying to even the score.  I wonder what has to happen for a charging penalty to be called as Milan Lucic skates from the blue line, and possibly from his bench, to hit Lars Eller behind the goal line.
Second period:
  • 19:53  Brad Marchand gets penalized for giving Carey Price a snow-shower.  Finally, the refs are on to this little puke.
  • Good powerplay by the Habs, in that they were able to set up in the offensive zone, but no real shots on net, everything was blocked by the penalty killers.
  • 15:11  Bruins are buzzing in the Canadiens zone.  We need to settle things down, start making better breakouts.
  • Brian Gionta misses a great opportunity on a 3-on-2, all alone in front of Tuukka Rask, can't get a precise shot off on net.
  • 11:30  Again Brian Gionta can't cash in a clear shooting opportunity.
  • 9:38  Maaaaax!  Brendan Gallagher wins the draw and the Canadiens keep applying pressure, good work from the Desharnais trio and Josh and P.K.  Just as it seems the Bruins can clear the zone, the puck takes a bounce on Patrice Bergeron, and David is quick on his feet, grabs it with lots of room to operate, feeds a perfect pass to Max clear on the other side of the slot who one-times it in.  Delicious stumble and pratfall by Tuukka Rask as a result.
  • Brendan and David are too small to play in the NHL, except that in this instance, when they're not getting crosschecked and tackled with impunity, their quickness and agility is too much for the Big Bad Lumbering Bruins.
  • David actually ripped the puck away with his quick stick, it wasn't a bad bounce on Mr. Bergeron.  2-0 Canadiens.
  • 6:11  The Canadiens kill a Bruins powerplay, and the fans at the New Garden are starting to boo.  Awesome.
  • 3:55  Referees trying to even the score, Max gets a borderline holding the stick penalty against Dougie Hamilton in the offensive zone.
  • Jarome Iginla used to be a 50-goal scorer, but no longer.  He misses a wide open net.
  • Oops.  After failing to clear the zone when Brian Gionta had full control of the puck, the Bruins buzz around and Mr. Iginla deflects a Torey Krug shot past Carey Price.  2-1 Canadiens.
  • 0:45  David Krejci penalized for holding Lars Eller's stick, the Bruins were scrambling in their zone trying to contain the Canadiens' forecheck.  Good work from Lars Eller, Dale Weise and René Bourque.  
  • No damage done.  Flagrant crosscheck in David Desharnais' back by Zdeno Chara goes unpunished, no ref would have the stones to put Daddy Campbell's team in a 3-on-5 situation.
Third period
  • Canadiens start off with a 75 second powerplay, with a fresh sheet of ice.  Although apparently it's not great ice, the puck is skipping around a lot, which is par for the course on a warm spring day.
  • Bourque doesn't have the same drive, jump or confidence he did against the Lightning.  I'd like him to come up big here, to see him use his speed and size to put this game away.
  • Bruins kill the penalty, start buzzing in the Habs' zone.  Carey plucks a shot out of the air with his glove, calmly stopping play.  The Bruins scowl a lot.
  • 14:57  Jarome Iginla again, with an open net, lays the puck flush on the post.  Are they trying the perfect shot to beat Carey?  
  • 14:07  I'm not liking how the Canadiens seem to be attacking less, defending more.  If we try the rope-a-dope so soon, it will come back to bite us.
  • Dirty, dirty play by the Bruins' designated rat Brad Marchand, who while waiting for a faceoff, punches Tomas Plekanec in the head, after ascertaining that the refs were otherwise occupied.  I won't rant on the need for video replay to be used to suspend transgressors like this, like Milan Lucic with his spears, like Zdeno Chara with his punches.
  • Further, why are linesmen so impotent in these situations?  In flagrant 'personal fouls' so-to-speak, the linesmen should be able to talk to the ref and tell him what he saw.  NHL refereeing is such a joke.
  • What the refs were busy doing was trying to figure out who should be on the ice for the Bruins after an icing call.  The Bruins milked two minutes while pretending they didn't know that they had substituted a player.  Why don't the refs hand out a delay of game penalty in cases like these?  
  • The Bruins are cheating up a storm, Don Cherry must be turgid.
  • 10:47  The Krejci line pressing in the Canadiens zone.  Me no likey.
  • 8:34  More life by the Canadiens, Michaël Bournival is a whirling dervish.  Zdeno Chara can't skate, can't move.  We have to take advantage.
  • 7:15  Good hit by Alexei Emelin on Milan Lucic.
  • 4:35  Dirty, dirty Bruin Johnny Boychuk commits interference by crosschecking Michaël Bournival in the jaw.  Powerplay Canadiens.
  • 3:32  Andrei Markov with a great look at the Boston net, on a David feed, but can't find the net.
  • 2:53  Daniel Brière!  I never doubted Marc Bergevin's decision to sign him to that two-year deal, always knew he'd come through for us in the playoffs.  Honest.  3-1 Canadiens.
  • Succulent detail?  Seeing Zdeno Chara stand all forlornly forlorn after getting scored on, and being all frantic giraffe before the goal, and catatonic horrorionette bathed in red light after.  That one is kind of on you there, big jerk, you potted that one past your own goalie.  You stupid jerk.
  • Did René Bourque blow a hammy?  He's almost crawling to the bench, but nobody touched him.
  • On replay, we see that the Lars Eller shot went off his foot.
  • 2:01  Interference penalty on Andrei Markov.  Now they call that?  I thought that rule was repealed, judging from all the Bruin transgressions.  
  • Bruins pulling Tuukka Rask, we have an empty net to shoot at.
  • 0:20  Faceoff in the Bruins zone.  Deathly quiet at the New Garden, except for scattered booing.  P.K.'s prophecy that he'd take all the energy and excitement out of that place is coming true.
  • While I prize the work that RDS does covering the Canadiens, I have to chide the director for showing us a long crowd shot from the New Forum immediately after the game, instead of the players' celebration.  Or the uncomprehending countenance of Zdeno Chara.  That's what I want to see, the handshake line, whether Tomas will shake bRat Marchand's hand or give him a forearm shiver in the teeth.
  • Or Claude Julien lardness melting away in squealing rage.
  • Cool shot of Marc Bergevin greeting his players and coaches in the tunnel as they came off the ice.  Big hug from P.K. Subban.  Don't worry folks, the contract is a formality.
  • Carey Price clearly outplayed the Bruins 'tender, stopping 29 of 30 shots, while his counterpart only managed 15 stops on 18 shots.  Further, Carey calmed things down repeatedly, while Tuukka bobbled and fumbled again, a few times.
  • The P.K. vs. Zdeno Chara confrontation was a technical knockout for our boy.  The Bruins morloch seemed dead on his feet in the third.  P.K. didn't score, the Bruins were on him like a bad smell, but it opened up others for opportunities.
  • Nathan Beaulieu picked up another assist, kept his head while the Bruins were clearly targeting him for big hits.  He didn't play much at the end of the game, but he pitched in and was rewarded.
  • The Canadiens are really tough when they get their seemingly-trademarked early goal.
  • The Bruins do have Montréal issues.  Thugs like Milan Lucic were more interested in administering a beating and being faux-tough than winning this series.  
  • The Bruins have this arrogance, they were so wrapped up in being the Big Bad Bruins, that they probably felt the whole time that they'd come back.  After all, they'd done it against the Leafs right?  But it was telling how few minutes they actually led in this series.  They had a big comeback in Game 2, and a lucky-bounce win in Game 4, but couldn't shake the feeling that they should be winning, they had all these chances they said, they hit all these posts.  You could see them pouting: "We should be ahead!"
  • Tonight almost makes up for 2011.  If not for that pinball Nathan Horton overtime goal, we could have kept those degenerates from befouling the Stanley Cup. 
  • We get the Rangers at home, I won't be so naturally pessimistic about the next series

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