Once again the Montreal Canadiens had their backs against the wall. Once again the Canadiens were facing elimination against a stronger and favorite opposition. This script had been written before in last year’s playoffs more than once. A couple of overtime losses including a double overtime loss in game five in Boston put the Bruins in the driver's seat. But instead of rolling over and handing the Bruins the keys to the Conference semi-final, the Habs fought and fought well to force a game seven tonight in Beantown.
After the iconic Jean Beliveau and pocket Rocket Henri Richard failed to bring the Forum ghosts to the Bell Center in game three and four, the Montreal Canadiens turned towards the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet. The MSO had performed on five different occasions at the Bell Center previously, with the home team victorious on all five occasions. Even a refused goal early in the game and some strange officiating by the infamous Chris Lee and his partner in crime Kevin Pollock couldn’t prevent a return to the Boston TD Garden for the final decider to an excellent and well fought series.
Michael Cammalleri once again elevated his game to another level with his team’s season on the line. He scored his third of this series while his team was enjoying a two-man advantage. He one-timed a pass from P.K. Subban from the right face-off circle to score the opening goal of the game. Cammalleri, playing in his second post-season with the Canadiens, has been the lucky 13 for his team. In 25 playoff games with the Habs, he has opened the scoring six times in a game and the Habs have been victorious in all of those six occasions. His six of 13 goals last spring came in games when his team was facing elimination and he continued leading his team scoring another one on this night with elimination looming on their heads.
The game started with Referee Pollock blowing his whistle too early on a play when he was positioned wrong and failed to see the puck loose besides Tim Thomas. Thomas had left a rebound on a long shot by Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta beat the Bruins players to the puck to push it in the net. But the goal was refused and then the referees tried to make up for that missed call when they called the Bruins for too many men on the ice penalty. The Boston player was headed back to the bench when the puck hit his skate as he was hoping over and on any other night, this play would have been ignored by the officials but with the Bell Center crowd roaring and showing their discontent after that blown call, the referees were quick to call the penalty. Four seconds later, Dennis Seidenberg was called for slashing for a long two-man advantage and roughly a minute later Cammalleri put his team on the board.
Seidenberg made up for that play when he tied the game early in the second period on a wrap around goal that Price would have stopped on many nights. The Boston Bruins won the battle behind the net during a 4 on 4 and Jaroslav Spacek along with Roman Hamrlik got caught running around in their zone. In spite of giving that week goal, Price was solid between the pipes making many big saves.
He made a big glove save on Patrice Bergeron on a 3 on 2 offensive rush to keep the game tied at 1. Earlier in the first, he made a good kick save on a hard shot by Andrew Ferrence from the right point. Price looked at his best in third period when, yet again, his team decided to sit on a single goal lead. Boston came out flying to start the third period and he robbed Bergeron after the Boston player jumped on a long rebound. Price moved across quickly to frustrate the Bruins star. Moments later after the ensuing face-off, he made another good glove save on Seidenberg.
Montreal took advantage of some undisciplined hockey by the Boston Bruins in the second period to jump on a 2-1 lead. Milan Lucic, who has failed to show up in this series so far made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. In the fifth minute, Lucic boarded Spacek in the glass near the penalty box. Spacek with his back on the play slammed heavily in the glass before falling down, remaining motionless for few seconds. Lucic was sent to the dressing room for remainder of the game handing a five-minute power-play to the home team. If that wasn’t enough, 28 seconds later, Bergeron cleared the puck over the glass for another long 5-3 man advantage. The Habs struck again when Gionta jumped on a loose puck in the crease after Gomez failed on the rebound. Subban who didn’t get any assist on the play set that one up with a good pass to Cammalleri whose one-timer was stopped by Thomas. Montreal ended with eight shots during the five minute penalty but Boston netminder made good saves, including a big save on Gionta.
Boston came close to tying this up during another 4 on 4 game with less than two minutes remaining in the second. Zdeno Chara made a good move on Price to slide a pass across to Brad Marchand who had a wide open net but Marchand hit the outside of the post. Cammalleri did a great job of tying Marchand up and Price managed to freeze the puck. David Krejci had one of the best chance in the third period with his team killing the penalty, he found himself alone in the slot in front of Price but Price made the best save of his night to keep his team ahead. The home team somehow clung on to a slim lead and lived to see another day. Game 7 will be played in Boston tonight.
HiD Three Stars
- Michael Cammalleri
- Carey Price
- Tim Thomas
HiD Turning Point
Five-minute major match penalty to Milan Lucic that allowed Montreal to take the lead in a tight match.