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Well, now we know how other teams felt all season long when they played the Bruins. From start to finish, Boston has dominated teams in every facet of the game during the whole regular season. We had better goaltending, could score goals, played physical, and played smart. However, last night was a different story. The Canadiens instead trumped the Bruins 4-0 and forced a Game 7 back in Boston on Wednesday night.
The first period was barely underway when a bad Kevan Miller turnover in the defensive zone left Lars Eller alone in front of Rask, who tucked it in backhand to put the Canadiens up 1-0 just 2:11 into the game. The play electrified the crowd and sucked the life out of the Bruins.
The Bruins got the first powerplay of the game but were unable to piece together some quality scoring chances amidst some brilliant penalty killing by the Habs. The Carl Soderberg line continued to create chances when the big Swede overpowered the Canadiens’ defenseman and got an off man rush, but Loui Eriksson rang the crossbar. There were a few more scoring opportunities for the Bruins early in the first, but they were unable to capitalize against Carey Price.
The Canadiens extended the lead in the second with a Max Pacioretty goal that never should have happened. The puck was sent ahead to no man’s land between the Bruins’ blue line and the net while Pacioretty chased it. Chara, thinking Rask would play it, eased off Pacioretty so as not to draw a penalty. Rask, thinking Chara would tie him up, got caught flat footed and out of position. The result was an easy goal for #67 and a terrible miscomunnication on the Bruins’ part. Tomas Vanek added a powerplay goal and the Bruins were down by 3 after two periods.
The Bruins were outmatched in literally every facet of the game. The Canadiens were playing with speed, blocking shots, making smart passes and bringing the physicality. The Bruins, on the other hand, were turning pucks over, skating into traffic, and routinely shot the puck into Price’s chest.
David Krejci had said in an interview earlier this morning that he felt he had owed it to his teammates to step up his game and be there offensively, but we didn’t see that at all from him tonight. The Krejci-Lucic-Iginla line continued to struggle, failing to bury their scoring chances yet again. This line MUST be contributing for the B’s to have a chance at a long playoff run and it’s a major issue that they’ve been unable to click so far this series.
It was more of the same in the third period, with Boston just being out matched in all three zones and continuing to have trouble burying the puck. There were a few shifts where they were able to establish a strong forecheck and cycle the puck, but to no avail. The Bruins “Merlot” line was completely ineffective tonight and Shawn Thornton especially looked a step behind the play. Vanek tacked on an empty net goal to confirm what everyone already knew: there is going to be a Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.
Things got really chippy late in the third, with guys like Lucic, Iginla, Chara, and even Krug starting scrums after the whistle and letting the Canadiens know they didn’t like being pushed around. Some folks on Twitter thought this performance showed a lack of class, but I have no qualms with it. They were just setting the tone for Game 7. When the Canadiens come out to play on Wednesday night, the Big Bad Bruins are going to be angry, annoyed, and ready to send the Habs packing in front of a packed TD Garden.