If people felt that the Boston Bruins were under huge pressure to win the first game, imagine the pressure to win the second game on home ice after you are down 1-0 in the series. Both teams got some bad news coming into game two at the TD Garden. Andrei Kostitsyn was out with a foot injury, surely the result of that Zdeno Chara shot he absorbed in the first game. Yannick Weber replaced Kostitsyn in the lineup. Boston had a big hole in their lineup after their captain; the Monster Chara was forced to sit out for this important matchup. Chara was hospitalized with dehydration on Friday night and took part in the pregame warmup but was replaced by Shane Hnidy. Hal Gill was participating in his 100th career playoff game and he had reason to be excited playing this game against his former team.
The news of Chara being out of the lineup surely pumped up the Montreal Canadiens as they came out flying and just 43 seconds into the game, Michael Cammalleri scored his first of the series when he jumped on a rebound of a James Wisniewski’s shot. The play started after Johnny Boychuk’s long pass was intercepted by Wisniewski and he carried the puck into Boston’s zone, taking a hard shot from the right face-off circle towards Tim Thomas. The rebound came out on the other side and Cammalleri beat Boychuk to the puck burying the puck in an open net for quick lead.
Montreal didn’t take long to double that lead. Just 1:37 after the first goal, with Dennis Seidenberg sitting out for interference, Mathieu Darche scored his first career playoff goal on a beautiful feed from Cammalleri. Right after the face-off the puck got pushed to Cammalleri who found Darche on other side of the net with a cross ice pass and the latter buried the puck in the open net to make it 2-0 for the visitors. It took Darche 13 playoff games to score his maiden goal in the post season.
Boston came back hard after falling behind by two goals forcing a turnover in Montreal’s zone. Carey Price came up with a huge save moving across lightning quick to frustrate Milan Lucic who had been a non factor in the series so far. Lucic was in the right spot when he received a beautiful feed from Nathan Horton, also missing in action so far. Price made another big save on Patrice Bergeron when he made a kick save and ended the first period with 15 saves.
Tomas Plekanec had the best chance of the game to put this one away when he broke away alone towards Thomas following a failed power play. Plekanec tried to go five-hole but Thomas made his biggest save of the series so far. After Thomas stopped the initial save, Plekanec fanned on the rebound. As Price has done it so many times this season, he handled the puck behind the net to initiate the play. He made a quick pass to Wisniewski who found a streaking Plekanec behind Boston’s defense.
Boston got some life and energy after that save, and a minute later Patrice Bergeron tapped in a pass from Brad Marchand on a rare defensive failure in front of Price. With all the talk about Thomas and his extraordinary season stats before the series started, it took Boston 50 shots to put the first goal past Price. After stopping 31 shots in the first game, Boston beat Price on the 19th shot of the game.
In the following moments, both the goalies illustrated themselves with huge saves to keep this a close matter. David Krejci almost tied the game when he found himself alone in front of the net and Price had to make a huge stop from close range. Krejci failed to control the rebound on a bouncing puck as Price was out of position. At the other end, Travis Moen failed to beat Thomas after Cammalleri won another puck battle in front passing the puck to his line mate.
In spite of a sudden surge by the Boston Bruins, Montreal controlled most of the play in the second period outshooting the home team 15-9. Another neutral zone turnover by Boston resulted in a play very similar to the first goal and Montreal grabbed a 3-1 lead. Roman Hamrlik intercepted another long pass in neutral zone and passed the puck to Lars Eller, who played a strong game. Eller skated to the right face-off circle and took a hard wrist shot towards Thomas. Weber, who was playing in his first playoff game since April 22, 2008, beat Boychuk to the puck to lodge the backhand in an open net.
The goal seemed to take the air out of Boston’s balloon who minutes earlier had failed to capitalize on another power play. With Boston’s failure to get anything going, tempers seemed to flare after Wisniewski charged Rich Peverley into the boards and Hnidy, who was a last minute addition, went after Wisniewski. Wiz the kid clearly came out as the winner in that scrap but handed Boston with a man advantage. Just as the penalty came to an end, Tomas Kaberle’s shot, changed direction and hit the outside of the left post. Later in the period, Price had more help from his posts as Seidenberg blasted one off the right post again.
That was the closest Boston would come to beating Price for rest of the game. Just like the first game, Montreal closed the play down in the third period keeping the home team to the outside. Desperate for win, Coach Claude Julien pulled Thomas for an extra attacker with two minutes remaining in the game but Montreal was just too good and grabbed a strong 2-0 series lead.
With the series shifting to Montreal for game three and four, the city will be buzzing with hockey fever. If Boston is to win this series, they will have to rewrite many pages in the history book as the Bostonians have never come back in 26 attempts after being down 2-0 in the series. This is the 18th time in the 33 meetings that Montreal has taken a 2-0 lead in the series and have won all 18 times.
Note: Montreal’s players sacrificed themselves blocking 27 shots compared to 8 by Boston. P.K. Subban continued being a force on the blue line and ended the game with 27:06 of ice time after being on the ice for 27:07 in the first game.
HiD Three Stars
- Carey Price
- Michael Cammalleri
- Lars Eller
HiD Turning Point
Montreal jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first 2:20 of the opening period.