After taking a 2-0 series lead in Boston the Habs returned home to watch Jean Belliveau pass the torch to a lucky kid who then lit up the bell centre. The fans erupted for what they hoped would be another victory for the bleu, blanc et rouge. Game 3 marked the return of one Zdeno Chara and the fans once again erupted when Chara made a mistake and caused his team to take a too many men on the ice penalty only 1:08 in. Montreal tried to capitalize early on the power play but the puck would not sit for them as they missed a couple of rebounds in front of Tim Thomas. The Bruins did a nice job of being aggressive on the second half of their kill and this led to them scoring the first goal of the game. With the penalty just coming to an end Roman Hamrlik failed to clear the puck out and turned it over to the Bruins. Patrice Bergeron took the puck along the boards and then proceeded to feed it to a wide open David Krejci who made no mistake putting it into the net.
The goal seemed to put the Habs on their heels a bit and Boston continued to go on the attack. After stopping Richard Peverly, Carey Price had to be brilliant on Gregory Campbell when the latter found himself all alone in front of Price. Price stopped both of Campbell’s shots and watched his teammates head up ice. Tomas Plekanec led the charge as he made a nice pass to Michael Cammalleri but his shot was blocked by the defense. Krejci and Milan Lucic then decided to run amok in the Habs zone forcing Price to make multiple saves. The Bruins were a little too aggressive on this shift however and this led to Krejci taking a hooking penalty. The Habs once again looked disorganized on the power play as they failed to connect on multiple passes. About halfway through the power play Chara got away with one when his stick hit a falling James Wisniewski directly in the face avoiding a 5 on 3. After the kill Montreal tried to answer with Tom Pyatt and Andrei Kostitsyn taking shots that were stopped.
Boston then received a 3 on 1 where Richard Peverley decided to shoot the puck allowing Price to make the save. Scott Gomez received a interference penalty on the same play handing the Bruins their first power play of the game. The Bruins power play lasted less than a minute as the hard work from Montreal’s penalty killers forced Bergeron to take an interference penalty of his own. With the extra ice, Montreal watched Thomas go to work again when he made saves on a Pyatt tip followed by a save on Kostitsyn. The Habs best chance of the period followed on their brief power play when Gomez made a great pass to Brian Gionta in front but Thomas managed to poke the puck away. Just like the first goal Boston got their second moments after killing a power play. This time Chara shot a floater that made its way to the far boards, Nathan Horton pounced on the loose puck and managed to beat price from an off angle to give his team a two goal lead. The play was reviewed to ensure that the puck had crossed the line but the replay clearly showed that it was in.
Boston kept the momentum going by controlling the play in the Habs zone for several minutes. Down by two the Habs started to make big hits hoping to slow down the Bruins. This led to Ryan White setting up a hit for himself when he dumped the puck in and proceeded to chase it. This was a good play by White as it allowed him to make a statement hit on Johnny Boychuk but it unfortunately led to a bad play by Benoit Pouliot. For whatever reason Pouliot decided he would try to get a piece as well and followed with a late hit on Boychuk. This drew the ire of Andrew Ference as he went after Pouliot causing a fight between the two. To his credit Pouliot held his own in the scrap but this was truly a boneheaded play on his part and don’t be surprised if he ends up being a healthy scratch for game 4. The referees gave Pouliot the extra penalty for charging allowing the Bruins to start the second with a power play.
The Habs started the second with a good penalty kill with Pyatt receiving the best scoring chance. Thomas made the short handed save and then watched his team capitalize on a Price giveaway at the other end. At 2:02, Price went behind the net and attempted to play the puck forward, his pass defelected off of Mark Recchi’s skate and landed on Peverley’s stick who popped it into the empty cage. The Habs woes continued shortly after when they took a too many men on the ice penalty, a penalty that we have seen them take many times during the regular season when things aren’t going their way. The Bruins were not able to score with the extra man giving the Habs some much needed momentum. Gomez tried to beat Thomas but was unable to do so leading to P.K. Subban making a bad pinch on the blue line. Lucic took the turnover and skated the other way forcing Price to make another big save. This led to Kostitsyn skating back the other way along the boards. He then made a nice move to create room for himself and shot an innocent looking backhand on Thomas. The shot found its way through Thomas’ five hole and the Habs finally gave their fans something to cheer for.
Boston tried to get it back on the next shift when Michael Ryder crashed the crease looking for a loose puck that was snagged by Price. The pace started to pick up with both goalies making saves. Gionta showed us his wheels when he broke into Boston’s zone and let one rip from the face-off circle. Thomas met him with a save and kicked the rebound away. The back and forth continued with Price stopping Lucic, Horton and Dennis Seidenberg twice while Thomas stopped Gionta, Travis Moen and Darche. Recchi gave the Habs a golden opportunity when he took an offensive zone penalty with just over two minutes to go in the period. Montreal started with some good exchanges of the puck early but failed to connect when it mattered and did not score before the period ended.
The Habs came out looking like a different team in the third as they opened up their game looking for a comeback. This led to end to end play and some very entertaining hockey with the goalies stealing the show. At 4:08, the Habs desperation paid off when Plekanec got the playoff monkey off his back. Plekanec accepted a nice pass from Cammalleri and proceeded to take a spin shot towards Thomas. The shot found its way through Thomas’ five hole and the Habs had the Bruins on their heels. Moments later the Habs were once again a victim of over aggressiveness when Kostitsyn took a slashing penalty in the offensive zone. The Bruins power play struggles continued however as Chara was the only one who managed a shot on the goal. After the kill Darche did his best to set up Giont in front but the latter just missed the pass.
Things slowed down halfway through the period as both teams proceeded with caution leading to a lot of neutral ice play. This continued until Boston received another 3 on 1. They failed to hit the net with their attack and the Habs answered back. First Subban skated end to end and shot a backhand on Thomas. This was followed by Thomas making huge saves on Kostitsyn and Plekanec in front. Boston replied and got away with another non call when Brad Marchand was clearly on top of Price in his crease. This did not deter the Habs as they kept pressing for the tying goal. Hal Gill then took a point shot with traffic in front, his shot was stopped and Gomez found the loose puck but he was met with another huge save by Thomas. \
On the next Face-off Kostitsyn tried to surprise Thomas with a quick shot, this did not work as Thomas made the save and followed it up with two more on Cammalleri and Darche. With just over a minute to go Price skated to the bench for the extra man. The Habs once again struggled with the extra man causing Chris Kelly to gain the puck and score in the empty net putting this game out of reach. With the loss the Habs still control their destiny as they lead 2-1 in the series. They will need to work out some kinks especially with the extra man if they hope to take a commanding lead before heading back to Boston.
HiD Three Stars
- David Krejci
- Tim Thomas
- Carey Price
HiD Turning Point
The Habs' lack of fluency with the extra man really hurt them in this game.