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With the TD Garden feeling the most electric it had felt in decades before the game, the Bruins let loose a lackluster performance to fall to the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in their playoff opener Thursday night.
Montreal Canadien Brian Gionta had a game of a lifetime by scoring the game’s only two goals, including one in the first three minutes of play. The Bruins defense was caught napping on the pass from Scott Gomez that resulted in the eventual game-winning goal only 2:44 into the first period as the Bruins played catchup for the rest of the game.
While the Bruins dominated play for most of the last two periods, the Canadiens defense, especially the play of goaltender Carey Price, was sensational. While the Bruins had their chances for goals, all were snuffed and helped contribute to Price’s third postseason shutout.
All is not lost for our big, bad Bruins though. While it is a punch to the face to the fans and team, it is only the first game of the playoff series. If the Bruins can focus their attacks and convert their shot advantage on Thursday night’s game (31 shots on goal for the Bruins, 20 for the Canadiens) into goals, they can still have a very productive post season.
Claude Julien must also focus his team’s practice onto the power play. It would be an understatement to say the Bruins were flat on the power play Thursday night. The team couldn’t connect on passes during these crucial two minutes of the game that could have swung momentum in Boston’s direction.
Alas, while the Bruins may be down 1-0 in the series, and home ice advantage given to Montreal, the Bruins have clearly played their best hockey on the road this season and may pull off some eyebrow-raising wins. Hockey is a sport of momentum, and it only takes one play to get it in your favor.