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What Home ice?

Brent Sopel and Ryan White celebrate the first goal of the game by the Habs

Home pressure.   Before the series started, no one gave the Canadiens any chance to win a game in Boston.  The Canadiens played two solid road games and stunned the hockey pundits by winning not one but both the games in Beantown.  Once the series shifted to the Habs world, the Bruins found themselves in their opposition’s shoes.  After having failed to win a single game in Montreal this year, where they looked mediocre at times, they stormed back to tie the series by winning game four in overtime.

When they came to Montreal, the odds were heavily stacked against them but they jumped on Montreal’s mistakes in game three to get back in the series.  The teams had talked about the importance of scoring the first goal as the team scoring first had gone on to win the first three games of this series.  Not only did Montreal take the first lead of the game when Brent Sopel ripped one past Tim Thomas after great work by David Desharnais behind the net, they also managed to take a two-goal lead in the second period scoring two goals in 55 seconds.

After ex-Hab Michael Ryder had tied the game early in the second period on a partial breakaway, Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn scored in quick succession to bring the roaring Bell Center crowd to their feet.  Cammalleri scored on a great pass from Brian Gionta after failing to score moments earlier.  He found himself alone on the side of the net as Gionta slid a pass through the crease behind Thomas to restore the lead.  A little less than a minute later, Boston got caught on a sloppy line change resulting in a 2 on 1 rush.  Tomas Plekanec fed a beautiful pass to Kostitsyn who just had to tip in the puck between a sliding Thomas' legs for a 3-1 lead.

The quick goals forced the head coach Claude Julien to take a time out to calm his troop down.  The move worked as not only his troop calmed down but it also calmed down the opposition.  After scoring those two goals against a shaky Thomas, Montreal decided to sit back and failed to take a single shot for almost six minutes.

Andrew Ferrence, who got nailed by Gionta in Boston’s territory gathered himself up after the hit as he skated down in Montreal’s zone and blasted a shot past Carey Price on the glove side to bring his team within a goal.  James Wisniewski felt he was interfered with on the play by Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s blue line.  Ferrence, who hadn't scored for almost 10 years in the playoffs, carried out an obscene gesture in celebration of his goal and flipped a finger to the crowd.  He did later apologize for his indecent behavior and got fined for $2500.00 by the League’s disciplinary committee.

The recipe Montreal used to neutralize Boston in the first two games back fired at home.  After Kostitsyn’s goal, which came in the eighth minute of the second period, Montreal only mustered one shot towards Tim Thomas who had faced 14 shots in the first eight minutes.  With about three minutes remaining in the second, Price failed to control the rebound of a long shot by Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand passed the puck to Bergeron who put it in an open net.  Scott Gomez, who had a difficult game, failed to cover Bergeron in front as the latter tied the game at 3-3.

P.K. Subban once again restored the lead taking advantage of a power play while Bergeron was sitting in the box for hooking in the offensive zone.  Subban beat Thomas with a perfect wrist shot, who saw nothing as Plekanec passed in front of the Bruins goalie.  Price made a game saving stop in the seventh minute with the players scrambling in front of him for puck possession.  Through a maze of players he made good saves on Marchand and Boychuk before robbing the latter from a point blank range, sprawling in his crease.

Chris Kelly, playing with a cage after getting injured in previous game, tied the game at four with little more than six minutes remaining in the game.  Both Sopel and Price failed to find the puck in front as Kelly completed the good work by his line mates.  Earlier in the period, Cammalleri had a great chance to increase the lead when he intercepted the puck and had a partial breakaway towards Boston’s net only to be stopped by Thomas.  Thomas finished the night with 34 saves.

With the match headed towards the overtime, Montreal got a golden opportunity when they were handed a man advantage with almost two minutes remaining in the third.  Seidenberg had no choice but to stop a rushing Plekanaec and was called for interference on the play.  Boston did a great job limiting the Canadiens to only two shots but Thomas had to be sharp in making both of the saves.

Once in the sudden death overtime, it didn’t take Boston long to take their first and final lead of the game jumping on a bad line change by the Canadiens.  They failed to score on their initial 3 on 1 rush but Kelly, with another solid game, threw the puck in front where Ryder, forgotten by everybody, took his sweet time before putting one past Price stunning the Bell Center crowd.

The series will shift to TD Garden in Boston for game five on Saturday night and this time the home team will be hoping to finally take advantage of that so called home-ice.

HiD Three Stars

  1. Michael Ryder
  2. Chris Kelly
  3. Michael Cammalleri

HiD Turning Point

After scoring twice in 55 seconds, Montreal sat back and failed to take a shot for almost six minutes.

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