Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Thomas (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gionta (2)
Opposition goalscorers: None
Fitting that the game threw a steal our way so we could highlight the puck battle aspect of the game in the play of the game. Milan Lazic skating down the wing was completely and easily stripped of the puck. It became the play of the game because all the actors knew what was to happen next. Gomez took control flush and found his wingers, a simple drop to Gionta became an open chance down the favoured right wing. Soft puck play was followed by soft goaltending as a puck squeezed by Thomas into the net. This ended the game.
So close to being the player of the game. Aside from missing some glorious chances, he laid down a perfect game. He shadowed Krejci and brought back visions of Koivu on Thornton by not only plugging the offense, but also getting the better chances all night. We asked him to bring something more, he did.
This was all for naught if Montreal forwards do what Boston forwards did. They nearly did and maybe would have, but for the 30 goal-man (a season and 3 minutes in anyway). Gionta scored two goalscorer's goals and gave Boston problems all night when he was in their zone.
Played the team game and made the only two successful scoring chances of the whole game, for either team. Gomez gets his fair share of criticism, so he should get praise when he deserves it. The value of a player like Gomez goes further than his superficial stats. Every time I see the Canadiens turn back in their own zone, I remember how before Gomez and co. this never happened. This wasn't the perfect puck possession game, but choice moments of calm kept it from being worse. Worth saying after a win.
Classic playoff game for Gill. He took the looser rules and made his game fit them. At one point I saw him lightly holding a players back until the ref turned his way. Gill played lots against the Bruins "big" line and did the business on Lucic and Horton. It kept shots sensible and saveable.
Addition of the year on this team. On any team? Certainly glad we didn't hold out for paying more for Kaberle in this case. James was part of a second excellent pairing that shutout a very good second Bruins unit. Did Recchi play? That's a compliment to Wiz.
Carey Price – Game Puck
The perfect game to start a series from our goalie. There were bad angle shots, hard shots, a couple of what looked like screen shots, easy shots - Carey handled them all. He told us he learned a lot from watching the playoffs last spring, and now we know for sure that's true as he showed the pressure soaking Halak goaltending of last spring in perfect rendition. I wouldn't want to be a Bruins fan watching this goalie, because Price now gives that nauseating impression that he can make quality scoring chances into easy looking saves.
A slowish end to the season fogs into the memory as the Canadiens came out flying, took a lead and then played the perfect safe game. We heard how the team was getting outshot, we saw how the possession was lengthy at times in the Canadiens end for the opposition, but the team didn't mind. That's because the Bruins were taking the outside shots without asking questions and the Habs were happy to continue on that path - the one they were laying.
The win itself is critical. It at once gives the Canadiens home ice advantage and puts to rest any notion that the Bruins were out to manhandle the Canadiens. yet it is still just a game. Unlike a hockey game, a series win requires more than a single score, and the Bruins will have learned something from this game. Comfort must come from the knowledge that a stubborn vet like Julien might actually feel his team did the right things by outshooting the Habs and might preach sticking with no change. Martin still needs to see the next move when the Bruins do wake-up, as I'm not sure they will surprise another team with the Hal Gill usher out.
Enjoy the lead Habs fans. Your well-coached team won a well-designed victory.