Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens @ le Centre Bell
What is the difference between the two last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference? 2 points. 2 very important points. Who occupies those two spots? The Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens - 8th and 7th respectively.
After this game though, the Big Bad Bs don't seem so tough. And our tough guy Max Lapierre is back from his 4-game suspension while the Habs are riding a hot-streak, having won their last 4 games. Scott Gomez ain't so cold himself.
One of the NHL's greatest and biggest rivalries is the one between Boston and Montreal. And boy did this game represent that (but it wasn't as much a representation when compared to previous meetings).
Les Habitants got their game started to a blazing start! The current hottest player in the NHL at play tonight, Scott Gomez, streaked in with the puck and created a very powerful rush. But all we got out of that was a post (like so many other times).
But to make up for that, WE GOT A GOAL! I doubt Tuukka Rask had much of a chance at stopping that one. Andrei Markov wristed the puck down the ice from the blue line and with his team-mate and a couple of Bruins providing a scattered screen, the puck skipped down and hopped above Rask's glove for the opening goal.
That goal was just a portion of the domination the Bruins allowed to be put on them. The Habs were all over the bears with amazing pressure. For two periods, it looked all Habs. Excellent PK-ing from the men in red and it paid off with a goal after a period-changing PK.
In the final minute of the opening period, after a momentum changing PK, Sergei Kostitsyn netted a goal for the home team! We forced the turnover, and Markov made the very smart play. He faked the short-side pass and just tucked the puck in the front of the net. The youngest Kostitsyn brother just had to bury the loose puck, and that he did.
The latest Hot Topic in the NHL this season is shots to the head. And in the second period, there was one that some thought was bad, and some thought was okay. I thought it was borderline. Andrei Kostitsyn gave a hit to Milan Lucic along the boards in the Montreal zone. That hit brough the big Looch down to the ice and gave Montreal the intereference call. It wasn't suspendable, but it was a bit of a sketchy call.
What made this hit OK? It wasn't directed to the head. Sure, it was on Lucic's blind-side, but Andrei Kostitsyn had no intention of hitting the head. But that didn't matter because Lucic went after him to get the roughing penalty.
After much relentless effort, Lucic finally gets his goal. Vladimir Sobotka did a lot of the work for the goal, but Lucic did a lot of effort all game long. Halak didn't have much of a chance on this one. Lucic was in the middle of the ice and there was a battling screen in front of Halak for Lucic to beat.
With two goals from Sergei Kostitsyn, and a Bruins goal from Blake Wheeler, the Habs win it, but not without much kinks.
In the third period, Montreal loosened up a little too much. In a game as close as it was on the scoreboard, there was no time to sit on your heels and play a defensive minded game. It allowed Boston to apply pressure and get within one goal of us. In these tight standings, every point, is an important one.
But a mediocre final period for the Montreal, a mediocre start for Boston. It looked as if the Bears had just come back from playing the night before. They were making sloppy changes (nearly getting called for too many men thrice) and lacked that spark of energy until Lucic's goal.
In the end, the team with the better game won and picked up a very essential 2 points to go 4 above the Bruins.
(1) Sergei Kostitsyn
(2) Andrei Markov
(3) Dominic Moore