2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 2: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins @ TD Garden
3-1 Final; Montreal leads the series 2-0
Will the Boston Bruins have to play differently now that they are without their captain and large defenceman, Zdeno Chara? Will Yannick Weber be able to fill in Andrei Kostitsyn's skates?
The sleeping bears were given a rude wake-up call in game one, but did they hit the snooze button or did they get up and smelt the freshly ground coffee?
Similar to how game one of this series went, the Montreal Canadiens were the first to score. Just forty-three seconds into the game, James Wisniewski started the game's flow towards the Boston net. The defenceman known warmly as The Wiz worked his magic as his shot bounced off of Tim Thomas's pads, right onto the blade of Michael Cammalleri who cashes in on the rebound.
Looking less like game one, game two had more jolt in the steps, more energy in the strides, and more physicality from the Bruins - that I expected and welcomed. Well, all this energy had to result in something! After a face-off win, Cammalleri wins an assist to go with his goal as he sets up a tap-in-pass to Mathieu Darche to let their team go up 2-0 in the score. Although he didn't get a point on the play, Tomas Plekanec played a big role in getting the goal as he streaked across the the front of the crease, in front of Thomas to allow Darche to get his first-career playoff goal.
As the frustration continued to build for the team in black and yellow (insert Wiz Khalifa's song here), PK Subban displayed what got him drafted by the French-Canadian team. I know a lot of people aren't fans of this kid or his boisterous attitude and play, but I like this kid! You cannot deny this kid has talent. Subban has great puck-handling skills he put on short display during the first period and he captures the attention of everyone. The pairing of him and Hal Gill is quite a smart decision by the coaching staff. Gill holds a calm and a get-'er-done style of play while Subban does the fancy-dancy work. A lethal combination of skill and impeccable, impenetrable solid defence is what results when you add Gill and Subban together.
Boston finally break the 67 minute (and 38 second) shutout with a tip-in goal from Patrice Bergeron. Brad Marchand played the puck in front of the skates of a Habs' skater, and the pass went unstopped as Bergeron scored Boston's first goal of this year's playoffs.
As if this game didn't have enough going on in it, Wisniewski and Shane Hnidy dropped the mitts and went for a tilt in this rivalry playoff game. Just what Montreal needed to sum up an answer to Boston's lone goal. Yannick Weber quickly knocks in the rebound after a hard shot from Lars Eller off of the pads of Thomas. The play was so much like many of the other Canadiens' goals were where they activated the wings and played a strong north-south game. And let me not forget that many of the Canadiens' goals have come from turning the puck over from the Boston possession into our possession.
Instead of going harder and stronger in the final twenty than in the prior forty, the Bruins lightened up on the pressure from every aspect. They may have outshot the Habs again tonight, but Carey Price had an answer for thirty-four of the thirty-five shots made against him. And who doubted the Canadiens? That's why you have to have faith and hope no matter what the standings say. As long as you're in the race, just keep going.
(1) Michael Cammalleri
(2) Carey Price
(3) Patrice Bergeron